Roy Keane is a quitter and I can honestly say that I didn’t expect that from him — but maybe I should have.
Roy Keane is one of the greatest rivals I have ever seen play against Arsenal. No matter how hard someone like Joey Barton thinks he is, he can’t hold a candle to what Roy Keane did on the pitch in his time. Sure Joey tackles hard, he knows how to put in a cheap shot or two, and Joey’s not afraid to mix it up with teammates or even just random strangers on the street. But there’s a huge difference between attacking a teenager on the street in Liverpool after a night of binge drinking and standing up for your teammates in the tunnel against a man like Patrick Vieira. Keane would have stood on a ladder to go nose-to-nose with Vieira if he had to.
A terrier, a pit-bull, the ultimate midfield enforcer, the guy you love on your team and hate on your opponent’s, whatever positive label you put on Roy they all fit, but equally you could call him petulant, a dinosaur, a big mouth, a bad teammate, and now a coward. If you look back at his career this latest bout of petulance and impulsiveness really isn’t a surprise. This is a man who infamously slagged off his Ireland teammates on the eve of the world cup — and was summarily fired. A man who tried to use an interview on Man U TV to bash Man U — and was summarily fired. In short, Roy Keane is a huge douche of a man, which is exactly what you want in a midfield enforcer, and exactly what you don’t want in a modern manager.
I suppose the last straw for Sunderland and Roy was the latest battles over his summer signings. Niall Quinn had just appointed a new CEO to oversee transfers, which we all know irked Roy, but it was the right thing to do. Every morning I would see some report from Keane about how great Kenwynne Jones is, how he completes the team, how they needed him back when he was injured. It was mind boggling stuff: Kenwynne Jones is a player who is so one dimensional there’s hardly a point. Keane though, kept the faith and all season hailed Jones as the savior. Someone needed to reign in Keane’s lack of eye for talent.
That said no one expected Keane to be a quitter because he never quit once when he played for United. Further, quitting now almost certainly precludes him from ever coaching Man U. Manchester United can’t hire a manager who bails on the club when the chips are down.
But everyone should have seen it coming, because throughout his career when the chips are down, really down, Roy Keane lashes out. On the pitch, there was virtually no rival, no man you’d rather have on your side (except Patrick Vieira). On the sideline, all of his poor traits were magnified and in the end his worst trait took over and he quit: which is exactly what he’s done at every level of football.
Good bye Roy, there will never be another like you.