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A Moment With Roy in Sainsbury's
Written by TimS on Sunday, 19th Oct 2014 20:26

It had been a relentless week at work with endless emails, continuous meetings and a phone that never stopped ringing. Come 5.15pm on Friday, I needed to do some shopping and I did not quite have the energy to drag myself around the aisles.

High Wycombe’s Sainsbury's is not quite like anything that exists in Ipswich. You drive to the car park on top of the store. It seems to be one of those concept architecture buildings; a store which could have been previously billed as a new concept in shopping. I did not have the energy to enjoy the architecture. I just needed to get my food.

It is not easy to shop for one person in a supermarket. BOGOF deals mean that you may be lumbered with a mass of goods that define your diet for the week. I still remember the week when I had brought 2kg of carrots meaning that the meals were carrot soup, carrot roulade, fried carrot, boiled carrot, carrot pie, carrot cake etc. You have to eat. You end up buying bits of food and smaller tins with half-eaten food littering your fridge.

It is an assault course for one person to tackle a supermarket. You need some strength otherwise you will end up with nothing or a load of food that you never wanted in the first place.

I delayed as much as I can to start the shopping. I messed around in the car. I read the magazines in the ‘news and mag’ session reading the latest scandal and gossip in the football magazines. I mooched my way through the toys, the china, pots and pans, the electrical gear, and the Christmas tinsel and baubles.

There was a small book section with a mother deciding that the sparkly Guinness World Records for 2015 would be an ideal Christmas present. Rather suspiciously, Roy Keane’s autobiography was on the top shelf. The frustrated glare from the ex-Town manager tells you it will be difficult read.

Throughout the last couple of weeks, I have wondered whether to get my hands on a copy of Roy Keane’s tone. We can debate whether the Irishmen did anything positive at Portman Road, but it can’t be denied that his time in Suffolk was a dramatic one. We are probably still feeling the effects of it now, and probably for many years to come. I wanted to read the Ipswich chapter and nothing else. I was not interested in who punched who in the Old Trafford dressing room, or who shouted at who at Sunderland.

There had been so much interview, comment and analysis in the media. Vying with the coverage of Kevin Pieterson’s book, it was not that hard to stumble over the interviews with ex-players who were savaged by Keane whether verbally or physically.

As the weeks rolled by, there became ‘state of the game’ thought discussions about the Irishman and his role in the game. One of those discussions kept me company during a night time drive on the A14. It hasn't stopped there. Keane and his author are due to be attending literary festivals in the coming months. Maybe, the book will win awards and become a set text in schools.

What else can be said about this book? How many Town fans buy this book? Will the third book come out in ten years time called The Final Whistle?.

I read through the chapter trying not to be a roadblock in the middle of the shopping aisle. To be fair to Keane, it is not a book where there are endless pages of score settling. The summaries on websites, such as this one, pretty much cover all of the main points for Town fans.

If I was Simon Clegg, I would not want to buy this book any time soon. Jon Walters should not bother reading this book, and there are many paragraphs where Keane admits that a night out with the Paras in Colchester was not a widespread success.

Why was Giovani Dos Santos playing for Town in the early months of 2009? Roy Keane did not understand. He also did not understand why no fan turned up to his first training session. Was it a damaged ego for a United ‘legend’ to be in sleepy Suffolk?

There seemed to be some disdain from Keane for this club right from the start of the chapter. The marriage between manager and club seemed to start on a bad note within seconds.

To be honest, there was nothing that I did not already know or suspect when reading the chapter. Nothing in this book told me that I was ever wrong to have that sinking feeling when Keane was first announced at the Town manager. Pages after pages feel like a confessional versus an emotional punter ranting away at a pub bar.

I started to think about the games that I watched during those years; the days when I would be going to watch ‘Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town Football Club,’ rather than ‘Ipswich Town Football Club’.

I looked at the empty trolley in front of me. I had spent 20 minutes treating this supermarket like a library. I needed to buy some food, or I would be locked in at closing down. I had satisfied my need to read the chapter of this book, and moved off down the aisles with a whirlwind of negative memories of a particular time in Town history.

If you want to wallow in a desperately frustrating and miserable period for this club, this book is for you. If you want to psychoanalyse one of the most complex men in world football, you have got the perfect book to buy for Christmas. If you are a Norwich fan and want to laugh at your near neighbours, you will enjoy this book. Personally speaking, I had my fill of this book in the supermarket aisle.

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Facefacts added 11:30 - Oct 20
Thanks for the blog, and I see what you mean, although I do have a different 'take' on this book.

I decided to buy the book as I noticed a few excerpts in the Daily Mail a week or two ago, and they looked entertaining, especially the bust up over his MUTV review of a 4-1 defeat to Middlesbrough which was 'pulled' from the club's TV channel because Keane was too honest in his assessment of the performance of the United players. That episode does not disappoint, especially when he knocks "Sir Alex" in front of the other players. "Gaffer, we need more from you." In that moment he talks himself out of his playing contract. The bits about other managers and some journalists being Sir Alex's disciples ring true as well. Sir Alex and Roy Keane completely avoided each other towards the end. They were a flare up waiting to happen.

ITFC knew Roy Keane was a big time football man, 'box office' as some said at the time. Season tickets sales, a crucial factor in timing the change, and timing the naming of the new manager, went up - but you know all that.

I do recommend this well written ('ghosted' by Roddy Doyle) book to ITFC supporters, as there is quite a bit in the Ipswich chapter that I didn't guess at the time. The Pablo - Roy thing is there: I can see Roy's side of the argument and we have Pablo's side from TWTD. OK, Keane's Ipswich episode is his own one-sided assessment, but the cluelessness of Simon Clegg in the transfer market is astounding, maybe unprecedented, and both Paul Jewell (criticised for bringing in Jimmy Bullard at between £20k and £30k a week) and Mick McCarthy remained in the legacy of Clegg wasting £1.75m on Tamas Priskin from Watford and just under £4m on Carlos Edwards and Grant Leadbitter from Sunderland in transfer fees when Roy says he valued them at a fraction of those prices ("I think I mentioned a figure of £400k to the owner" [for Priskin], and "I thought about two million" [for Edwards and Leadbitter]). He is honest about Jordan Rhodes ("it was about what he couldn't do, rather than what he could do"), Damian Delaney ("I was too hard on him"), and Lee Martin. "My recruitment wasn't good enough. I've no excuses." Maybe the communication between Keane and Clegg was so poor that Keane's valuations simply weren't in Clegg's mind and he got taken for a ride. "I never spoke to other managers about a fee for a player; I never got involved".

I know that the Roy Keane era is the main reason why the Marcus Evans' money (when available for sizeable transfer fees) did not gain promotion to the Premier League, but I for one am glad that Roy Keane is still in football management, because he is 'old school' and his honesty is refreshing. I think he can work his way back to a manager's role in the Premier league rather than an assistant. His words are out before he has time to think about it and take them back, because he gets angry. As he gets older, this will happen less and less. Some football books don't give the whole story, I think this one does, to the best of his ability. I hope there is a third book. 'Extra time', Roy?

trncbluearmy added 03:36 - Oct 21
why would any Town fan buy this book?

chrisswailes added 07:44 - Oct 21
Great blog, thanks!

MVBlue added 15:49 - Oct 21
I did exactly the same in Tesco's Huntingdon. Read most of the chapter stood in the supermarket, wan't going to buy it. He admits he spoke to some of the staff like they were muck on his show (such as when they didn't fully consider a player during scouting), that he removed staff bonuses which made him unpopular. I remember the day he walked into the club and photos on TWTD showed him dressed in Ipswich Town gear; he didn't look right in our club gear. What a mismatch. As a negative person, he just couldn't turn it round after a few negative experiences.
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