Hot on the heels of his pathetic exit from the 2002 world cup, Roy Keane is again demonstrating to the general public how right Mick McCarthy was to send him home.
I refer to his bitter rantings in advance of the release of his book 'Keane: The Autobiography', extracts of which have appeared in several papers. Even the title is complete B******* (a phrase Keane seems quite fond of). An autobiography is supposed to be written by the subject , so why is Eamonn Dunphy having such a large input?.
The first ructions began when Keane admitted that the 'tackle' which put Alf Inge Haaland out of football a couple of seasons ago was a premeditated assault, revenge for an earlier incident where Keane had injured himself while trying to foul Haaland. Dunphy tried to take the heat off Keane by claiming he had used 'poetic license' in writing the account.
However I don't see that saving the Manchester United captain from facing some kind of punishment, either from the FA or from Haaland, who has played very little football since. One wonders about Dunphy's motivations in allowing Keane, who doesn't come across as the most intelligent of individuals to place himself in a position where at the very least his standing as a professional has been damaged. At the worst, he could be heavily out of pocket or even face jail - the Duncan Ferguson case set the precedent for that sanction if the Police decide to get involved.
Dunphy's input seems even more apparent when Keane turned his sights on Jack Charlton, who he describes as a 'Joke and a bully'. Nearly every word echoes the criticism Dunphy levelled at Charlton when he was a lone voice complaining about the basic but effective methods which had turned Ireland from perennial non-qualifiers into a respected force in world football.
Keane uses the same arguments, such the rigidity of tactics, the stifling of quality players and Charlton's cultivation of his deserved cult status in Ireland. It's true that Charlton's Irish team were not a attractive side to watch, but if one listens to Dunphy & Keane, one would think Charlton was leaving out brilliantly gifted players in order to pursue his own tactical dogma.
In actual fact, the Irish team was a hard running & workmanlike outfit because they lacked the genuinely creative individuals who would have allowed them to compete in a quality passing game with the Dutch and the Germans. In World Cup 1994, the Irish were forced to rely on the veteran strike force of Aldridge, Cascarino & Coyne as Niall Quinn was injured.
Wales in the same period were afflicted with a poor defence, which was the main reason world class forwards like Hughes and Rush were never able to qualify for major tournaments.It was a situation which was out of both Terry Yorath's and Jack Charlton's control. Unlike club football, International managers are unable to plug holes in their squads by spending money. Keane (or Dunphy) added that David O'Leary was also dismissive of Charlton's managerial ability. I'm sure after his sacking from Leeds United, O'Leary will not appreciate such quotes being attributed to him!.
Keane himself hardly covered himself in glory in 1994, and during the tournament there were rumours of a bust up between him and Charlton, which were 'resolved' at a memorable press conference featuring Charlton, Keane & assistant coach Maurice Setters which was broadcast on radio & went vaguely like this:
Taking into account Keane's behaviour in 2002, perhaps there was a bust up between the two, which Charlton maybe resolved by some method which Keane still resents. Whether this book will mention this incident is unclear, but the main fact is whatever means Charlton used, Keane didn't end up going home.
The ultimate condemnation of Keane must be reserved for his comments about the F.A Cup. He claims it is unimportant and only the League and the European cup matter. Keane obviously has forgotten that the majority of players never win anything & such statements display his ignorance and contempt for non-Manchester United fans and also the majority of his fellow professionals who rightly regard winning the FA cup as a major achievement.
Admittedly, he is right about Wembley stadium being an antiquated dump with poor facilities, but to say he doesn't feel any pride in holding aloft a trophy which has been carried by the likes of Matthews, Moore, Bremner & Brady is pure treason. I'd loved to have seen him come out with such rubbish in front of a group of City fans after the win against Leeds!. Surely Keane would have lowered himself to participate in a Cup final at the Millennium, especially as Manchester United failed to win anything else last season!.
Keane projects himself as a proud honest character who is against the 'prawn sandwich brigade' who are taking over football. However his elitist comments about the F.A Cup place him squarely in the camp of the people who think any football played below the level of the top flight of the premiership is peripheral and unimportant. He talks more like a Manchester United shareholder who is more interested in European T.V money and shirt sales than upholding the tradition of the game.
Keane, from what he has 'written'
isn't too bright, so the ultimate responsibility for his comments
must lay with Eamonn Dunphy. An ex player, he spent the bulk of
his career at Millwall in the old Division 2, though he began
his career with Manchester United (he never once got into the
first team even when they were in decline during the early 1970's).
After writing a successful book about his experiences as a player, he embarked on a well respected career in journalism.
He is surely aware of the implications of the words he may have placed in Roy Keane's mouth. and if any action results, Dunphy too should be dipping in his pockets.