Not So Keane To See Roy Back At Celtic



Martin O’Neill told the world’s media on Thursday that his assistant Roy Keane had held informal talks with Celtic’s majority shareholder Dermot Desmond about the managerial vacancy at Parkhead.

For the life of me, I cannot see why Keane could be seen as the best candidate for this job? Am I alone on this?

Lets look at his previous coaching jobs.

Sunderland: In his first season he did a fantastic job in turning the clubs fortunes around. He managed to see the ‘Mackems’ win the Championship and saw them promoted to the English Premier League. In his second season at Sunderland, the side would play inconsistently but managed to stave off relegation. After a poor start to his third term in charge Keane decided to walk away.

His spell in charge of Sunderland was a mixed bag. He did well in the Championship and had the players believing in his methods. But things went sour very quickly with a high turnover in players with former stars coming out and criticising the manager for his lack of communication skills and poor training methods. Story has it that the Sunderland players threw a party when it was announced that Keane had left the Stadium of Light.

Roy Keane’s Sunderland tenure was also known for his reckless spending. That would go against Celtic’s current business model. His signings were very one dimensional, too often he’d look to former club Manchester United for uninspiring signings.

Ipswich: Keane took over the reigns at Ipswich Town in April 2009. In the 2009/10 season the ‘Tractor Boys’ went fourteen games without picking up a victory. Results would improve but not enough to get Ipswich out of the bottom half of the table, they eventually finished in fifteenth in the Championship. Keane would be fired on January the seventh after the side dropped to twenty-first in the league, following poor performances.

Keane was again criticised for his poor buys and lack of imagination, too often he went back to Sunderland for many of his signings.

Ireland: In November 2013, Roy Keane finally took a step back and became O’Neill’s assistant with the Republic of Ireland. For me that was a good move as Keane could learn from a more experienced hand. One of O’Neill’s best qualities is his man management skills and that is definitely something that Roy needs to brush up on. Has he been educated enough during this stint as a coach with Ireland? I don’t think so. Would it be better if he took in a full qualification campaign? Yes!

Another factor that will come in to play will be Keane TV commitments. His contract with ITV is a lucrative one and it allows him to do both the TV stuff and the coaching job with Ireland. Should he take up the job at Celtic he’d probably have to give up the other roles he currently has.

His television persona will have Celtic fans questioning his ability to handle pressure. Keane has proven more than once that he can be easily rattled. His bitterness and resentment towards his former side Man United and manager Sir Alex Ferguson is always close to the surface. Maybe he can make that work for him at Celtic Park, go with the attitude of proving a lot of people wrong. But has he got the attributes and ability to change?

So why would Celtic want Roy Keane?

Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell has talked about Keane with STV Sport, during that interview he said this…

“Roy has played here. He is a Celtic supporter. He is a first class guy, like the others are. It’s between five and ten. We’ve a lot of great candidates and we’ll wait and see.”

So he has played for Celtic, as has Jackie McNamara, David Moyes and Malky Mackay. Actually John Collins and Paolo Di Canio have done just as much as Keane has, as a football manager, but you don’t hear about them getting an interview (or a wee chat). Plus lets not forget Keane only lasted five months at Celtic Park, he was by no means a legend with the fans. Owen Coyle is a Celtic fan, so are a few of my mates but again it shouldn’t be a huge requirement when getting a job, even this job. ‘He’s a first class guy’ well that is just down to individual opinion. There are plenty out there that would argue that point Alf Inge Haaland, Sir Alex Ferguson and quiet a few of his former players at Sunderland spring to mind.

Interestingly enough Lawwell doesn’t seem to mention a strong managerial record or Roy’s coaching credentials. Its like ‘he’s a pal of a pal’ attitude, which seems very bizarre for a club the size of Celtic.

Roy Keane brings in a huge name. He was a winner as a player. His reputation as a player was massive and that can help bring in players. The trick is, that he then needs to keep those players happy. His appointment would be seen in the footballing world as a high profile one, that would boost the clubs profile, a neat trick for Celtic considering the lack of investment in such an appointment.

Then you have to look at the potential relationship between Keane and Lawwell. Is Keane an appointment Lawwell would make without the shadow of Dermot Desmond hovering over him? I am not so sure. Roy fell out with Sunderland owner Ellis Short and club chairman Niall Quinn. In Neil Lennon, Celtic had a smart manager who respected Lawwell and who seemed to work well with him. Keane is more opinionated and that may worry Peter Lawwell.

But it’s not Lawwell that signs the cheques at Parkhead, that responsibility lies with Dermot Desmond. The fact Roy Keane, like Desmond, is Irish is a big appeal. Celtic play on the Irish card as they know they have a lot of Irish fans. Does that mean that Keane should be considered for the role just because of his past as a player and the fact he is Irish? No not for me. The next manager of Celtic should be the best person that is currently willing to take the role and for me that isn’t Roy Keane.

For every plus that Keane brings to the role it is closely followed by a negative. As a manager he brings in an arrogance that he hasn’t earned the right to have. He’s been inconsistent in every role he has had so far, his style manages to annoy a lot of people whether it be fans, players or directors.

Would he be a complete failure?

No of course not. Celtic’s power over every other team in Scotland is such that they currently don’t have a viable competitor and that doesn’t look like it will change in the short term. Keane will win leagues and cups at Parkhead. But without blowing my own trumpet, I could almost guarantee that I could win the league if I were the Celtic boss in this current era. Getting Celtic to the Champions League is no longer the tough situation it used to be, they get decent draws as they get seeded in qualifying rounds. But in the group stages that could prove to be a problem for the former Irish captain.

Roy Keane will also have to learn to adapt to his new surroundings if appointed the clubs new boss. At Parkhead he will not be handed an open cheque-book and the hierarchy won’t standby and let him have a revolving door of players like he has done at previous clubs.

Like Roy Keane’s signings at Sunderland and Ipswich, his arrival at Celtic would lack imagination from the Parkhead board. But that said he hasn’t been offered the job yet, other candidates are still in the running, and the fact remains that Roy Keane may come to Celtic Park and prove me wrong and become a legendary boss in Glasgow.

But I won’t hold my breath.

2 Responses to “Not So Keane To See Roy Back At Celtic”

  1. wind your neck in he’s the VERY best man for our club

  2. Really nice article! I would love to return Gravesen to Celtic 🙂

Leave a Reply