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Saturday 19 January 2019

Eamon Carr: Roy knew better than anyone that he'd pay the price for his failure

And so on the 12th day of Christmas it came to pass. A decree went out and the sometimes controversial football manager from Cork became Roy of the Redundant.

Anyone who bet with Celtic Bookmakers that Roy Keane would still be with Ipswich Town at the end of the season will be ruing their luck today.

Had they listened, they'd have heard Roy himself warn about such a scenario. Perhaps the Corkman was whistling past the graveyard when he began telling the fans and his players that if results didn't improve he'd be for the high jump.

He's been in football long enough to understand the game's cruel dynamic.



thrills

Most football enthusiasts know the drill. As a new season starts they look forward to excitement, thrills and knife-edge drama. And that's just with the managers.

Before a ball is kicked at the start of the season, there are those who wager on which manager will be first to get sacked. The odds on Roy Keane's survival had been shortening with each successive poor performance and unproductive result. Seven losses in nine games for a team, in 19th place in the Championship, that wasn't showing much signs of improving, finally prompted Ipswich Town's owner to make the difficult call.

Roy didn't need to be clairvoyant to see what was coming. Just last weekend, when he team lost yet again, he complained, "I'm doing my best and if my best isn't good enough then I'll take the consequences."

Roy's sacking will be less than a nine-day wonder in football. Currently there are at least three more high-profile Premier League candidates for the chop.

You can rest assured that while Roy is walking his dogs and coming to terms with this hiatus in his professional career, the media will be tracking some other unfortunate manager who's probably less sanguine than he is.

"Don't let my position keep you awake at night," Keane told reporters last week. "What will be, will be."

Getting sacked shouldn't prove too distressing for the former Ireland international who was at the eye of football's biggest controversy when he walked away from, or was sacked by (it's still hotly debated), Mick McCarthy's team in the 2002 World Cup finals.

When he was Alex Ferguson's midfield general with Manchester United, many felt Keane was ideal managerial material. But Ferguson, canny to the last, wasn't bullish on Roy as a future boss. "I wouldn't forecast anything," he once said when asked.

But his career in charge of Sunderland got off to a flying start when he helped the Championship side secure promotion. Keane was named Championship Manager Of The Year.

However, he found the pace difficult in the Premier League. He resigned in December 2008 with Sunderland placed 18th in the league, one place higher than Ipswich Town currently are in the lower division.

These days a football manager's career is as unpredictable as his player's questionable hairstyles. A run of bad results, a row with the owners, a change of management... these are just some of the factors that result in managers having to look for a new job.



happiest

Temperamental stars, demanding supporters and unrealistic owners are among the difficulties facing managers who feel happiest talking tactics and supervising training sessions.

When he brought Sunderland into the Premier League, Keane showed he has what it takes to be a successful manager. Failure to deliver on that promise at Ipswich Town is a setback he'll recover from. If that's what he wants.

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