Skip to content

Roy Keane 1993-2005 480 Games 51 Goals

November 29, 2009

Roy Keane – 19 July 1993 – 18 November 2005

Written by: RedIrish

Roy was born (10 August 1971) and raised in Mayfield, a working class suburb of Cork City. As a young lad he played GAA and briefly flirted with boxing where he won the only 4 fights he fought, but his true sporting love was always football. Following in his family tradition Roy joined the famous football Cork academy Rockmount FC in the early 1980’s. Even though he was only nine he was voted player of the year playing football for the Under-14s team in his first year. His favourite program was Match of the Day where he followed the progress of his favourite English team, Spurs.

Born into a humble, working class family in the Irish city of Cork, Keane initially struggled to gain recognition as a promising young player. A trial for the Republic of Ireland schoolboys was unsuccessful as Keane was informed that his small stature would prevent him from breaking into professional football. Never one to be discouraged, Roy Keane continued to apply for trials with various football clubs until semi professional side Cobh Ramblers recognised his potential and offered him a contract. Around Cork, the story is that the young Keane wrote to all the English First Division clubs requesting a trial all, that is, except Manchester United because he apparently thought he was not good enough. In February 1990 a Nottingham Forest scout saw him play in Dublin. After just one trial with Forest Roy Keane was offered his first professional contract in English football. It did’nt take Roy long to settle in at Forest. he’s edginess was evident & was soon noticed by the top clubs.

Sir Alex Ferguson had been an admirer of Keane for a while and had been impressed by Roy’s obvious lack of respect for reputations. He particularly noted this on the first occasion United played Forest with Keane in their team. Early in that match Roy went in for a tackle with United’s teak-hard captain Bryan Robson and unceremoniously upended the seasoned English international. Ferguson could see in this cameo that Roy had an intense desire to win and that this could be harnessed for the benefit of United as the club stepped up the pursuit of their Holy Grail – a Champions League final victory. In 1993, and after a brief dalliance with Blackburn Rovers, Roy Keane signed for Manchester United for £3.75m

As the 1993/94 season neared its close, Keane had established himself as a first team regular with Bryan Robson. Keane worked and played hard, sometimes to his cost, and it wasnt unusual for his name to appear in papers for a brawl in a pub or club. With Robson and then Ince leaving, Keane took the role of midfield general, a role he was well suited to. Not afraid to get stuck in, not afraid to have a go at opposition or his own players if needed, he dominated. When Eric Cantona announced his retirment in 1997 there was only ever one choice for the captaincy. Up stepped Roy Keane, master midfielder, the general, the man to lead United. Keane at his peak was a wonder to behold. Never the fastest on the pitch he could read the game like no other. A wanton pass by a teammate, and there was Keane. A through ball to release a United player, there was Keane. Every inch of the pitch was his, and only a brave man would try and take it from him.

Success after success followed for Keane, league titles, doubles, trebles, you name it, he won it. 1999 was his swansong and although he missed the famous night in Barcalona through suspension, and was substituted in the FA cup final very early on, no one would dispute that without him United would not have achieved the holy trinity. His one man show in Turin, helping overcome the mighty Juventus and Zinedine Zidane will live long in every United fans memory. For Keane with success came controversy, something Roy seemed to attract in equal measures as Cantona had before him. During his 12 years with the club, in an unprecedented run of success, Roy Keane and Manchester United, won 7 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 4 Community Shields, 1 Champions League Title, & 1 Intercontinental Cup. Although the team meant everything to him and he detested individuality he did win personal honours too. In 2000 he won both the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award, and the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year award. In 2004 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

In the 2005 season, Keane sadly found that his aging legs could no longer lift him to drive the team single handedly. Never one to accept second best, he felt the team wasn’t trying hard enough, and in usual Keane style he spoke his mind publicly in an MUTV interview. He was not wrong in what he said but by singling out a number of the younger players for individual criticism he had gone one step further over the mark than before and there was no way back this time. He was released from his contract and left under bitter circumstances. A sad ending for a man who the fans will call a legend for many years.

Keane is a strict disciplinarian, a man who lives and dies by principles. He has made mistakes in the past but he is a man who doesn’t shy away from them, he accepts them and learns from them. He is a natural born winner, is passionate and determined, and he has acquired so much knowledge of the game through his glittering and much decorated playing career. He has served under Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson, two of the greatest managers of all time and he has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world.

Away from football Roy Keane is a private family man who shuns the limelight. The Keane who ran a vendetta against Patrick Vieira is the same Roy Keane who turns up unannounced at children’s hospitals. The man who intended “to hurt” a fellow professional is the same man who donates a lot of time and money to his favourite charity, the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. But don’t tell anyone I told you that, Roy Keane has an image to protect !!

”Roy is a legend who will always be revered by fans at Old Trafford for what he did for this club,” – Sir Alex

”I always remember the kick-off, The ball went back to Bryan Robson and Roy absolutely cemented him! I said to myself: “Bloody cheek of him! How dare he come to Old Trafford and tackle like that.” – Sir Alex after seeing him for the 1st time.

”He was our captain, he was our leader and he left a mark: where we are now is down to him, our dedication comes from the standards he set. The rules about time-keeping, about getting in a half-hour early, they were his instructions back in the day and those traditions continue.” – Darron Fletcher speaking 4 years after Keane left.

“It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field. Pounding over every blade of grass, competing if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player.” – Sir Alex after his dislay in the 1999 Champions lge Semi Final against Juventus in Turin.

Thanks Roy !

3 Comments leave one →
  1. adam (carpy) permalink
    December 6, 2009 9:04 pm

    wonderful article about roy keane red irish. a good job done. we certainly miss a keane in the team nowadays and i certaibly miss the old viera and keane moments a few years back. they will forever be cherished as will that night in turin.

  2. December 7, 2009 2:53 pm

    Brilliant post Red.In my time arriving back from Austrlia in 72, there has only been 3 Captains that held my respect for the passion and drive they gave. Robson,Cantona and Keane.Keane took over from King Cantona where he continued on where the King left off.He held respect of all the young players, he was there godfather on the pitch as so were the other two. Alas to say, I know we have a dedicated Garry Neville or Giggsy as captain, but we do miss a captain that has steel and drive, Keano was the last of the dying breed. That night in Turin with the back header and scored and the commentator yelling “KEANE…..GAME ON”.And he was right. The bust up in the Tunnel with Viera at Arsenal where he told Viera “If you want to pick on someone, pick on me”. We beat them 4-2. Brilliant. Good post buddy. I think I will dig my vidios out now and watch the Juventas and Arsenal games just to see keano’s passion….and icy stare.

  3. Dizza permalink
    December 22, 2009 12:51 am

    what a shame i wasn’t interested in football when Keano was playing! a true legend of the club.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: