Supple sides with Walters in kerfuffle with Keane

Supple sides with Walters in kerfuffle with Keane
Wes Brown, Shane Supple, Emile Heskey, and Jack Byrne at the Sport Ireland Campus yesterday to help launch a new season of action on the eir Sport pack. Picture: Morgan Treacy

Jonathan Walters is one of the few people Shane Supple is still in contact with from his time as a professional footballer in England.

The former Ipswich Town goalkeeper spent five years at Portman Road before asking to be released from his contract because he felt disillusioned by the unscrupulous nature of the environment.

Walters was a teammate and former housemate, while Roy Keane was the manager in charge who helped ensure he could return to Dublin.

There is an element of loyalty to both but, following Keane’s acerbic performance on last week’s Off The Ball roadshow — during which he derided Walters for crying about family issues on television — Supple was quick to show his support for his old team-mate.

“I’d be close enough, as you can be in soccer, with him. He’s the only guy I’d always have said was a decent guy, he’d do anything for you, run through a brick wall for you. There’s no bullshit with Johnny. A really good decent guy, and there are not many over there,” Supple, speaking at the launch of the new eir Sport pack, said.

“I spoke to him this week about what went on [with Keane]. I couldn’t believe what was said. A low blow? Yeah, too low, really. It’s not right. Why would you go there? But he did. The environment he was in, he felt that’s what people wanted. I don’t know why he’d do that.

Am I surprised? No, not really, going on what we’ve seen down through the years. When he’s been in the media, it gets very personal. I don’t think it’s right. I don’t know why he does it, why he goes there, why he questions career decisions, their family...

“Johnny has done a lot of good for a lot of people because of what he’s come out and spoken about (mental health). And I know it doesn’t bother Johnny. He laughed about it. It’s sad really that someone of Roy’s stature feels he has to say something like that. Johnny has done great for himself since he retired, he seems happy.

“I don’t know if he’s going into coaching or not. He seems comfortable in the media. I think he’s signed up to do a degree — with managing football clubs. He’s a clever fella, I can’t see him going coaching. He’ll do well whatever he does.”

Supple sides with Walters in kerfuffle with Keane

Walters’ openness about his struggles with grief and his mental health is just one example of the way in which the culture around football is slowly beginning to change. While Keane stated on that same stage for Off The Ball that he was hoping for a return to management sooner rather than later, Supple feels his day has passed unless he can alter his own way of dealing with players and their personal situations.

“Johnny has done a lot of good for a lot of people. The world is changing, society is changing, managing is changing, it’s about understanding players and how to get the best out of managing them,” said Supple.

“Some are not interested in that sort of stuff (players with mental health issues) or are just ignorant to it. They won’t last long in the game these days.

“Look at Klopp, Guardiola, Southgate — they’re really getting to understand players how they’ve been brought up. What they’re dealing with is a lot different to what their managers would have dealt with when they were playing.

“The social media stuff. I listened to Declan Rice last night and the social abuse he’s getting from switching over to England and that, understanding that and managing that, the expectations and the money, at the high level.

“If you’re not adapting to that, then certain managers aren’t going to last too long.

“Ruling with an iron fist doesn’t work anymore. The game has changed so much tactically, you need to be able to see things on the pitch, adapt things on the pitch.

“I don’t know if they’re the right people to go forward... not because they haven’t had success at clubs they were at. They may have had it 15-20 years ago, but as time goes on, a different approach needed nowadays. Not just in soccer.”


More in this Section

Talking points ahead of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in SwitzerlandTalking points ahead of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Switzerland

Mick McCarthy claims the pressure is all on SwitzerlandMick McCarthy claims the pressure is all on Switzerland

All Blacks were all smiles, selfies, jokes and big laughs. Until nowAll Blacks were all smiles, selfies, jokes and big laughs. Until now

Roberto Moreno urges Spain to win final three Euro 2020 qualifiersRoberto Moreno urges Spain to win final three Euro 2020 qualifiers


Lifestyle

Fiann Ó Nualláin follows in the footsteps of the Fianna as he explores a province’s hills and vales.Munster marvels: Plants that are unique to a province

Cupid must be something of a motoring enthusiast, as he had most definitely steered his way in the neighbourhood when Amie Gould and Shane O’Neill met at the Rally of the Lakes 12 years ago.Wedding of the Week: Cupid steers couple to right track

When it comes to podcasting, all it takes is one idea — and who knows where it can take you.Podcast Corner: Crimes and creatures rule at Cork’s first podcast fest

Claymation meets science fiction in this enchanting film, writes Esther McCarthy.Latest Shaun adventure is out of this world

More From The Irish Examiner