The next Salford City manager? Five reasons why we’d love to see Roy Keane return to management

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 13 October 2020, 12:56

The scathing verbal attacks, the touchline tussles and the explosive post-match interviews - surely we can’t be the only ones craving a return of Roy Keane the manager?

Soon after Salford City made the surprise decision to pull the plug on Graham Alexander’s tenure on Monday, Mr Keane swiftly took centre stage in the next manager market, where he currently features alongside Warren Joyce, Paul Scholes and Danny Cowley.

While an appointment seemed a tad farfetched at first, there are a few signs that it could actually happen.

With that said, we bring you five reasons why we’d love to see the Irishman return to management…

The savage put downs and sprinkling of comedy

Keane’s savage put downs, the quiet rage, and that look of absolute disgust is a brutal concoction which strikes fear into anyone.

You can already envision a poor journalist quivering in their boots as they attempt to question the Irishman after a defeat, or when a decision goes against him. 

Who remembers the phone call going off in one of his Ipswich press conferences? A priceless yet scary reaction. Although to be fair, Keane did have a point. The journalist should have sorted himself out on that occasion.

On a more lighthearted note, his reaction to the news that Robbie Keane had a baby, or when he went off the idea of signing Robbie Savage after hearing the Welshman’s “hi it’s Robbie – whazzup!” voicemail message.


We've not seen 'Roy Keane The Manager' in nearly 10 years

He’s made us wait for far too long

While it makes for absolutely captivating viewing when Keane scowls, seethes and spits venomous lines in his role as a TV pundit, it’s about time he dusted off the managerial cobwebs, whips out the tactics board and gets the winter coat out of the wardrobe.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Keane left Ipswich Town (January, 2011); his second and so far last post. Seven defeats from what proved to be his final nine matches left the club 19th in the Championship. "When results aren't good the manager gets the sack, that's the game,” a typically straight-talking Keane said after his exit.

Yeah, he’s had posts at Ireland and Nottingham Forest as an assistant to Martin O’Neill, and the same role under Paul Lambert at Aston Villa, but it’s not the same really is it? Keane needs to be the main man.

Salford City would match his ambition

A combination of money and ambition is likely to seduce many a manager towards the new vacancy at Salford City.

As you’re probably aware by now the club is backed by billionaire Peter Lim and co-owned by Keane’s old Man Utd pals: David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary and Phil Neville, plus the aforementioned Scholes.

The club only turned professional in 2017 when they were in the National League North, but they’ve since risen into the Football League, and haven’t exactly been shy in boldly stating that their target is to reach the Premier League.

Keane, who took Sunderland into the top-flight, is not exactly short of ambition, determination or success, all of which personified him as a player. 

His managerial career started off brightly at Sunderland and while he didn’t exactly set Ipswich alight, the chance to return to management and invest himself in a new project with familiar faces could potentially grab his attention.

He’ll challenge the players

While Salford have actually enjoyed a decent start to the season - they’re unbeaten in 5th - the manner in which the club chucked away a seemingly guaranteed three points against Tranmere raised eyebrows.

We have no idea how Graham Alexander reacted to this in the dressing room afterwards, but you can imagine how Keane - who watched the game from the stands - would have taken that setback if he was in charge.

“I can remember it like it was yesterday, being in the room in like a half-circle and he [Keane] was basically just going through every player,” former Sunderland player Jordan Henderson recalled on the on The Locker Room, when he played for the club’s reserves.

“I think he might have watched some of the game back on the video and he went through everyone and I was sweating, I was only a young lad. Sweating front and back thinking 'please don't come to me.'”

Meanwhile, when assistant at Ireland Keane had a spat with Harry Arter, who he allegedly called a 'f***ing p****’, and also Jonathan Walters.

Keane even got physical on one occasion during his spell at Sunderland, as he revealed in his book:

“I think I might have grabbed him [Liam Lawrence] – there might have been a bit of grappling, when he started to leave the office.

“This was the first time a lad had defied me – and in front of the other players. So I'd had to think fast.”

Whether modern players would take to Keane’s approach is debatable, but it would make for intriguing viewing. While he’s not been short of acid attacks as a pundit, he’ll no doubt adapt himself if he returned to management, in a bid to fire up his players without destroying their confidence.

What would happen if things went wrong...?

Let’s imagine for a moment that Keane bagged the Salford job, only to then struggle to find results, what would happen then?

Would Scholes, Becks and co take their former teammate into the boardroom and sack him?

Good luck with that one lads.

The amount of money we’d pay to be a fly on the wall in that scenario...

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