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Andy Reid Paints A Very Surprising Picture Of Roy Keane's Management Style

Andy Reid Paints A Very Surprising Picture Of Roy Keane's Management Style
By Conor Neville Updated

Roy Keane has said he is eager to one day get back into club management in England at some stage. Unfortunately, it would appear he is labouring under the very damaging perception that he is a poor man-manager who can't resist of mocking and intimidating players who might require cossetting.

Chief among the charges against Keane is that he lacks empathy. A couple of stories.

When Sunderland's Clive Clarke entered cardiac arrest during a game in the City Ground, Keane expressed surprise that cardiologists found evidence of a heart in his body. "You'd never have guessed from the way he played', Keane said. This cruel but undeniably funny remark was deemed symptomatic of Keane's man-management style.

In his autobiography, Danny Higginbotham recounted Keane's team-talk before an away match against Aston Villa, which came after Sunderland had lost six of the previous nine games and were being sucked into a relegation battle.

'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.'

Even more strangely, Sunderland beat the in-form Villa that day 1-0.

In the public mind, he seems to have been bracketed with Graeme Souness, a player possessing a similar skill-set and personality and one who allegedly harbours the same deficiencies as a manager.


Speaking to the 888Sport blog, Keane's old player and teammate Andy Reid offers a very different portrait of Keane's managerial style. More often than not, Keane was "a really calming influence" as a manager.

Reid said he had far more arguments with Keane on the pitch when he was a teammate.

There were times like any manager when he would lose it – and to be a good manager you have to - but most of the time he was a really calming influence. It was exaggerated how volatile Roy was.

I probably had more arguments with him – well, not arguments because you daren’t argue with him – for Ireland. I had more dressing downs off him when playing with him than when he was a manager. I got on well with him and he was a good manager. I’m sure he’d admit himself that he made mistakes as it was his first job but overall he did a good job at Sunderland.

Backing up Reid's assertion is the testimony of Shane Supple, a player of Keane's at Ipswich who fell out of love with professional football and has since returned to Dublin to play club Gaelic football.

He told Balls.ie about his dealings with Keane.


I remember going in and telling him I was leaving and he was brilliant. He knew where he was coming from... I wasn't sure which way he was going to take it but he said 'I understand where you're coming from'. He offered me time off if I wanted to clear my head or anything like that. And I said no it was done. He said 'No, I respect your decision'. From that side of things, he was brilliant. I couldn't thank him enough for that.

Reid is right to remind the world that Keane didn't do a bad job with Sunderland. He got the team promoted in 2007 and they haven't left the top flight since.

Still, Keane's first season as a manager has been forgotten with remarkable speed.


He took over a team who had lost their first few league games and had just been bumped out of the League Cup by Bury. Sunderland haven't been back in the Championship since that season.

Keane appears miffed by his current standing in the managerial game. As he wrote in last year's autobiography, 'They say the Championship is the toughest league in the world to win and I won it as a manager. I have to say that. No one else does'.

Read more: The Sports Stadiums Which Dublin Could Have Today - But Which Were Never Built

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