The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Roy Keane is out at Sunderland after a disappointing start to the season that saw the club drift into the relegation zone. He seems to have left on his own; club chairman Niall Quinn has said that he “reluctantly accept[s]” Keane’s decision. Sunderland are currently 18th, with 15 points from 15 matches.
I haven’t written about the Roy Keane saga so far because I assumed his press-conference soliloquies about whether he was the right man for the job were just dramatics related to his contract talks. Now the uncharitable part of my brain wants to say that it’s just like Roy Keane to walk away once his man is on the ground surrounded by medics.
But the truth is that Keane’s record at Sunderland is more complicated than that, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t have another try at management if he can overcome his increasing self-agnosticism. It’s probably only because of Keane that Sunderland won promotion and were able to spend the £80 million he used on new signings. It’s just that he spent it badly and, once the spell of his presence had worn off, didn’t seem to have any other way to coax wins out of overmatched players.
Possible replacements being discussed in the press at this point include Alan Curbishley, Sam Allardyce, and Terry Venables, words which when combined in a sentence should cause you to replace every other word in that sentence with “blah.”
Which names should Sunderland be looking at? And if the Black Cats weren’t right for him, what sort of situation should Roy Keane be hoping for? Does he have a future in management at all? Is there any reason to type the words “Manchester United” in this post?
by Brian Phillips · December 4, 2008