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Roy is Keane to succeed at Ipswich – but does he have what it takes?

7 October 2009 by Danny Hall

IS Roy Keane a successful football manager?

According to the man himself, at least, no.

A number of Keane’s ex-teammates flourished on the pitch at Manchester United, but have not experienced similar success as managers. Stars such as Bryan Robson and Paul Ince have failed spectacularly at Premier League level, and only Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce have made any sort of impact.

” Sparky and Brucey have not won a trophy have they?” Keane once told The Daily Mirror.

Keane: A born winner as a player

“They have potential but anyone can have potential. Steve Bruce has had a good season, but he has been a manager how many years? Sparky did a brilliant job at Blackburn [Rovers], but is facing different challenges at Manchester City.

“Until a team-mate of mine from 1994 goes on and really achieves something, I couldn’t agree that they’ve been a successful manager.

“You need a bit more than some of those managers have achieved yet.”

A born winner as a player, Keane has become an occasional one in his current position at Ipswich Town who, at the time of writing, languish bottom of the Coca-Cola Championship without a win all season.

His pedigree at Championship level is undoubted. When he took over at Sunderland in August 2006, the club were second-bottom after four consecutive defeats. They ended up as champions, and Keane was named the Championship’s Manager of the Year .

The strain begins to show at Sunderland

During his Stadium of Light tenure, Keane’s strong disciplinarian attitude appeared to be working. When three of his players, Marton Fulop, Toby Hysen and Anthony Stokes, were late for the team coach he simply left without them, and he transfer listed Miller – one of Sunderland’s most consistent performers – for constantly turning up late to training. But off it, his approach attracted much criticism and derision – especially from pundit and former friend Eamon Dunphy, who suggested Miller was only transfer listed to “enhance his own reputation as a hard manager.”

Such a strict approach to your squad is all well and good when they are winning games, but in the Premier League they found things invariably tougher and the cracks started to appear – culminating in a 7-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park. His spell at Sunderland came to an end in December, citing personal differences with the club’s hierarchy as the reason for the split – amongst suspicsions that Keane had ‘lost the dressing room’.

Facing the press at Portman Road

Keane undoubtedly has the talent to take a club to the Premier League but, like so many of his former Old Trafford colleagues, question marks remain over his ability to keep it there. With a fortune of £27m, Keane is the second-wealthiest manager in the game – just behind Fabio Capello, who is worth £30m.

In monetary terms, the gap is ‘just’ £3m. But in terms of managerial pedigree, on current form at least, the two are literally worlds apart.

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