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Roy Keane Gave One Of The Oddest, Most Strangely Effective Team Talks Ever At Sundelrand

Roy Keane Gave One Of The Oddest, Most Strangely Effective Team Talks Ever At Sundelrand
By Conor Neville Updated

Roy Keane was a fervent admirer of Brian Clough's idiosyncratic, sometimes offbeat management style. Before Nottingham Forest's 1993 relegation match at home to Sheffield United, Keane claimed that Clough only met with the players two minutes before the game and gave a one line team-talk which consisted of the sentence, 'I'm not worried, lads'.

Keane has adopted at least some aspects of Clough's managerial style at Sunderland and Ipswich (of course, he has had a rather less successful time in management than Clough enjoyed).

Former Manchester United, Southampton and Sunderland full back Danny Higginbotham has released an autobiography subtitled 'Rise of the Underdog' which details, among other things, his experience playing under Roy at Sunderland.

It was December 2007 and Sunderland were facing Aston Villa at home. They had lost six of the previous nine games. This run was gnawing at Roy and inspired him to give a rather unusual pep talk to his charges.

'Listen lads,' he said. 'Basically, you're shit. Try and enjoy the game. You're probably going to get beat. But just enjoy being shit.'

Then he just walked out of the dressing room. Those words have got to be insulting to any professional. It was perfect motivation. Clever reverse psychology.

I went out and scored after ten minutes, and we were leading at half-time. We ended up drawing.

Higginbotham has previously talked about another of Keane's aggressively dismissive rants (see here).

Sunderland would escape the drop in the 2007-08 season but Keane would bugger off twelve months down the line.

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The book is available on Amazon here.

 

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