Sunderland, Millwall or Reading: Where will Roy Keane end his managerial hiatus?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 11 October 2019, 10:02

Roy Keane recently dropped more than just a small hint that he was eager to end his eight-year managerial hiatus, when he was asked if the door was still open to a return to the dugout:

“I hope so,” he told Sky Sports. “I think it will be a long way back for me but I want to give it another crack. Hopefully I deserve another opportunity.”

While he may not have managed outright since 2011 - he's since worked as an assistant at Ireland, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest - Keane is absolute box-office, and with a number of vacancies currently up for grabs a return could well be imminent…

Sunderland

"It still saddens me. I still think I should be manager of Sunderland. I really liked the club, and I really liked the people."

- Extract from Roy Keane’s autobiography: The Second Half

Logically thinking, you’d think Roy Keane to Sunderland makes the most sense. After all, he previously enjoyed success at the Stadium of Light, remains a popular figure with many fans, and would undoubtedly shake things up at his former stomping ground.

Keane, still the last manager to win promotion with Sunderland, emerged as one of the early favourites to replace Jack Ross. However, he’s since drifted all the way out to 40/1 as the likes of Gareth Ainsworth, Paul Cook and Daniel Stendel take centre stage. Even Steve McClaren has shot into the frame, from 50/1 to 14/1.

But Keane remains an intriguing option, especially given that he knows the club, would have no problem ruffling a few feathers, and his presence in the dugout would surely draw in the crowds.

Millwall

“Roy Keane at Millwall. Wow. That would be interesting,” Ian Holloway told The Sack Race earlier this week.

“Most of the Millwall supporters are brilliant but they do have the odd one or two who can be pretty volatile. I can imagine Roy Keane would stand up to that, and for me that could cause fireworks, which would be great to watch.”

READ: Roy Keane at Millwall - For and Against

Fireworks indeed. You get the feeling that if Keane entered the Lions Den he’d be somewhat of a marmite appointment.

Yet, if he channelled his fire, galvanised the troops and got the backing of the Millwall faithful he could go down a storm. It’s a big IF though.

At the moment Keane can be backed at 11/1 in the next Millwall manager market, behind frontrunner Gary Rowett, who recently said: “I wouldn’t wanna fight Roy Keane or Kevin Muscat for the job!”

Reading

Reading became the fourth Football League club in the space of seven days to make a managerial change after Jose Gomes was sent packing on Wednesday.

Mark Hughes was initially installed as the red-hot favourite, only for his former right-hand man Mark Bowen - now Reading’s Sporting Director - to take over in the betting.

From the reaction on social media, Reading fans are not particularly keen on Hughes, or Bowen either for that matter - the latter of whom has no managerial experience to his name.

Meanwhile, Keane’s sudden presence in the market - in at 6/1, from 20/1 - certainly makes for interesting reading.

Keane’s former Man Utd colleague, Jaap Stam, enjoyed initial success at the club - they reached the Championship play-off final in his first season - and while we’re not suggesting Keane could repeat that feat, he did previously propel a Sunderland side from the relegation zone to the second-tier title.

There may be more suitable candidates out there, including the likes of Neil Harris and Gareth Ainsworth, but many Reading fans are likely to prefer Keane to Hughes.

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