Friday, May 12, 2006

The Keane Factor – A legacy of lasting impact!

Almost 70,000 fans packed Old Trafford to say goodbye to United legend Roy Keane. The Reds beat Celtic 1-0 in their former skipper's testimonial on an emotional night in Manchester. It was the perfect way to bid farewell to a man described by Sir Alex Ferguson as his 'best ever player'.

After the game, Keano admitted: "I'm grateful to both clubs, the players and of course the supporters. It surprised me how much I enjoyed it! Coming back finished things off nicely and it was a great occasion."

And with that it was over, Roy left to a standing ovation as every man, women and child stood up and applauded arguably Manchester United’s greatest player and Irish sports greatest export.

Strangely Keano’s reputation is greater in his adopted home then in his native land. There is certainly a generation of Irish soccer fans who were never and will never be able to forgive him for walking out in Saipan.

Personally, I have always stood behind him, I supported him in Saipan and I supported him in October when he tackled his Manchester teamates mediocre efforts. Whether in the grand scheme of things Roy was right or wrong when he walked out of the World Cup it was his actions during those crazy hours that have defined not only Roy as a man but is has defined his legacy to sport.

I could wax lyrical about the many many fantastic performances Keano put in for Ireland and Manchester Utd over the last decade but that would be doing him an injustice. Roy Keane is a winner, a competitor for whom winning is the only result that matters. None of us will ever know why exactly he did what he did in Saipan but I firmly believe that for Roy Keane to walk away from the World Cup he must have reached a breaking point that many of us don’t even possess.

As Alex Ferguson’s commander in chief during the last decade, the demands placed on Roy Keane to achieve were monumental, he in turn demanded perfection, and drove standards at the club to an all time high. For Ireland, this was always going to be a conflict, the shambolic operation that is the FAI were never going to be in a position to even come near matching Keane’s standards and as such it was always a matter of time how long the natural competitor would stand such mediocrity

By saying NO and walking away, Roy Keane screamed at Irish people to wake up and stop playing the content paddy. Why shouldn’t he demand the best from the players and from the Association in charge. Whether people like it or not this created a ‘Keane Factor’ which is evident today in teams across the whole spectrum of sport and across all ages. Players who are individual enough to know their own minds and brave enough to speak them have latched onto the gesture made in Saipan and as a result players and teams are pushing themselves further and higher to achieve success.

This is Roy Keane’s legacy.


The Special One said...

Bravo, an smuigin finally an attempt to really describe the aura that is keane. For all those who rally against mediocrity he is our inspiration!.

Rambo must die said...

Absolute rubbish, Keane may have been a great player but the fact of the matter is, he walked out on his coach, his team mates and his country when it matter most. You are right on one thing thou, it did define his career. Keane will always be remebered as the man who walked out on Ireland!!

Hotspur said...

Here Here! Keano the coward! Abandoning his country men. Granted Micko was wrong too but two wrongs dont make it right!

The Chairman said...

Hotspur you can you say that about Keane..when he virtually dragged us kicking and screaming into the World Cup in 2002. Yes..walking out did affect our chances..but thats only because he wasnt content to adopt McCarthy's attitude of been happy to make up the numbers. History will remeber Keane as the greatest Irish warrior ever to grace a soccer pitch!

Mr. X said...

Keane was undoubtadely one of Irelands and United greatest He did bring us to that world cup but he walked out too. No matter how wrong McCarthy was, Keane as our leader should have swallowed it and played

An Smuigin said...

You lot are all missing the point..Keane's sacrifice in 2002 (His chance to show the World once and for all that he is the greatest midfielder of his generation)was what has propelled not only Irish sporting standards but the Irish nations desire to raise the bar for personal accomplishment. Not since impact of Italia 90 and its direct link to the birth of the Celtic Tiger has sport impacted to such on extent on the Irish nation!!

Hotspur said...

Haha! oh how easily keane fans are taunted and goaded. Just like the man himself!

Anonymous said...

Keane is a traitor I'm afraid. Let's examine behaviour of a second - and behaviour alone, none of your dewy-eyed, misplaced patriotism.

Roy Keane was captain of Ireland at the World Cup. Roy Keane walked out on the team.

Captain, team. Captain, team. Captain team. Listen to the words.

This should never happen. Bobby Moore walks out on team, David Beckham walks out on team, Brian Dooher walks out on Team. You would never read these headlines.

Especially at the pinnacle of the team's journey.

Real captains just don't do it.

The essence of a team is each individual's ability to put the team's objectives above their own. The role of a captain is to harness this commitment to the team towards the goal of winning.

Keane could at no stage have thought he was helping Ireland win with his action.

Yes his teammates shafted him, yes his manager was a muppet. But if he was a legend he would have risen above all of that, got us to a quarter final and then after the world cup slated the FAI and Mick McCarthy.

As ever Keane's demons tore him apart at the point when he bordered on legendary status. His temperament has always been the driving force of Keane's sublimity. It's also been his greatest flaw.

In Saipan he lost his temper with the incompetent FAI. (They should have taken most of the blame but again they managed to slither away.) He then was too proud to sort it out.

I'm not talking about the media carnival that went on afterwards. Nothing could get sorted when the 'seagulls were following the trawler'.

But there would have been a couple of hours after his initial outburst (unforgivealbe, in any team) towards McCarticus when he was faced with a decision. Make it better or pout.

He weighed up the personal embarrassment of making an act of conciliation to McCarthy (a grunt, a nod, an apologise, to act like nothing happened).

He weighed against that the hopes of a nation, his team mates, the mortgages of thousands of fans, ultimately he sacrificed his own legacy for pride and thus this became his legacy.

His own pride, not his professionalism or commitment to perfection, sent him home to Man Utd, where he embarked on a similiar course of action.

So thanks Roy Keane, because of you we have a 'reformed' FAI. The next team that travels to an international competition will have a nice pitch and bibs.

But we won't have no memories of a World Cup quarter final.