Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Everybody loves Royston

JJ here

My god, sometimes you forget that in amongst all the Tevez drama, Torres signing, Henry wandering off to kiss a new badge and all the other stories that have covered this summer, there is one thing above all else that will make this season worth watching.

Royston Keane. Or Roy for short.

Last year’s podcast was peppered with Keane quotes. There were the players late for the team bus who “were in so early they picked up the milk” the next day. He told us he’s “basically a cool guy”. He even took his players mountain biking and told a press conference afterwards:

“There were one or two I thought would be uncomfortable on bikes, including Dwight Yorke, but he seemed to enjoy it which surprised me. He obviously enjoys riding."

This man is a stone cold legend. Even before his managerial career began he would occasionally surface with a deluge of fantastic lines.

Exhibit A: “Before the game there was all this stuff about anti-racism and anti-bullying. It would be a good idea to start wearing wristbands for anti-diving.”

Exhibit B: “Maybe Gary (Neville) deserves to be chased up a tunnel every now and then - there would be a queue for him, probably. But you have to draw a line eventually.”

Exhibit C (while slagging off his own team on his own team’s TV station): “There is talk about putting this right in January and bringing players in. We should be doing the opposite - we should be getting rid of people in January.”

Keane’s lack of signings during the summer has been questioned in some quarters and you would find it difficult to imagine Sunderland could make an impression on the Premiership with the side they had last year. That’s a side that have lost one of their vital squad members already as the highly impressive Johnny Evans went back to Macnhester United after his six month loan deal expired.

However, in two successive seasons we’ve had Wigan and then Reading make an impact in their first year in the Premiership. What differentiates these sides from Keane’s is that even in their second, and in Wigan’s case third, years in the league they are still finding it difficult to sign quality players. Should Keane get Sunderland to a top ten finish then next season players with ambition will have it confirmed that Sunderland is a club worth signing for. European players in particular will see a solid league position and Keane’s reputation as plenty of reasons why they should sign up.

We’ll profile Sunderland in detail in the run up to the league campaign but I thought today I’d have to refer to yet more of Keane’s ruminations. Asked about those concerns over a lack of signings (before the £ 5million capture of Michael Chopra) he replied: “The fans, everyone, needs to just chill out and relax and let me do the job. That's what I'm paid very well to do.”

He added, “"Everyone is panicking a bit at this moment in time but I'm quite relaxed. It is vital that I get the right ones in and that I don't sign a player to grab a headline - that's no good for the club, the players, the supporters... or my health."

This is tame stuff by his standards and no doubt he will get better and funnier as the season goes on. With the carpet coverage of the league we can only hope Keane doesn’t ‘do a Ferguson’ and get in a row with any TV stations and stop talking to them. His cool persona since becoming manager at the Wearsiders might rule that out though.

Keano, the Premiership welcomes you back with open arms. I can’t wait.


There’s plenty of Keane’s quotes elsewhere on the Okeydokefootball site at: (

Insert accusations of lazy journalism below….


Mark V said...

not sure about the Chopra signing at all, though I'd be inclined to trust Roy. I thought it would be a bit easier for him to attract big names but he's had to settle so far..

He does have a decent squad, and I think if he can get the attitude of the players right, play attacking football, they'll have a good chance of staying up

mp3hugger said...

I will be shocked if Sunderland go down, this is the start of a glorious managerial career for Keane. How refreshing to have intelligence/patience/determination at the head of a club.

Mal said...

I think £5m for Chopra is a big gamble. Cardiff only paid the Toon £0.5m for him a year ago.

Mark V said...

Chopra only scored 1 league goal for newcastle aswell, hardly 5m worth...

I suppose Keane is buying potential, he got 22 goals last year, he used to be a bright young thing but his career has stalled (now that never happens to Newcastle players, does it?)

At 23, maybe he can come good...

JJ said...

Chopra got 22 goals which is a better record that nugent (averaging a goal every three games in a very attacking side). The latter has a whiff of James Beattie about him I think.