Monday, December 08, 2008

Cobh Rambler

Roy Keane eh, aren't you sick of him. Thanks be to God he's gone from Sunderland and we are no longer exposed to his querulous post-match ramblings. But what will our lazy sports media do for a story. I notice Gerry O'Sullivan on Newstalk is particularly bitter about his departure and has taken to snapping at those who ring into his show and fail to show the proper respect for his idol.

Roy Keane was a great player, second only to Liam Brady in Ireland's hall of fame. He combined strength with finesse and brought an intensity of effort to every match. But he had a fatal flaw - he despised everyone who didn't share his dedication to the cause, and alienated them accordingly. He left United after criticising his fellow players, he left the World Cup after criticising his manager, and he left Sunderland when his players turned against him and failed to perform.

Yet there were hints of hypocrisy amidst this seeming dedication. As a manager he commuted from leafy Cheshire while most of the players lived amid the dark satanic mills of Sunderland.

Like many great sportsmen he's not very bright or empathetic (sensitivity and imagination are not positive attributes in sport) and his various post-match pronouncements at Sunderland were more stream of consciousness than reasoned analysis. And one of the key attributes for any manager is a talent for real politik, a talent that Keane ("I don't do directors") clearly did not possess.

Let's leave him now to his domestic idyll and his labrador.