SERENE Suffolk is no more — the Roy is back in town.
The gentile surroundings of Ipswich Town’s Portman Road hadn’t felt a frisson of excitement like yesterday’s announcement of Roy Keane as manager since the heady days of the ’80s; cup-winning memories the new manager wants to bring back.
The Tractor Boys’ coup in luring Keane back to football is the trip-switch for another roller-coaster ride of excitement that should last at least two years, if the Corkman sees through his new managerial contract.
“I truly believe I am joining a club that has the potential, ambition and infrastructure to once again be a Premier League side,” said Keane as Ipswich chief Simon Clegg sat beaming and only slightly overwhelmed alongside.
“Roy was head and shoulders above any of the other candidates against the criteria that the owner and I had agreed upon,” said Mr Clegg. “I’m really excited and am really looking forward to working with him.”
As undoubtedly are the local Suffolk media who enjoyed their first jaw-dropping taste of Candid Keane at Portman Road yesterday. Tony Cascarino plus ex-Man Utd colleagues Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce all felt the full force of Keane haymakers. Working on the punchbag while you were away, Roy?
“I’ve enjoyed myself,” he smiled. “I thought about the mistakes I made at Sunderland — buying too many players last summer and not getting the right characters in. But most of all I’ve relaxed. I think I watched about five games in the flesh throughout my whole time off.”
That all changes tomorrow when, with box office timing, Keane takes his new club to Cardiff City for the final ever league game at the old Ninian Park. The ambition of his new boss, reclusive millionaire Marcus Evans, impressed Keane, as, perhaps, did his ruthlessness — Evans sacked Jim McGilton while he was at home visiting his sick mother.
Keane’s “comfortable” with a two-year contract but is targeting promotion back to the Premier League next season. And Keane’s trusted labrador might get a break. ‘When the opportunity came in late last night, I had to go for it. If I wasn’t up for the challenge, I’d be out walking my dogs. But I think my dogs needed a break.”
Triggs knows best.
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