Keane: I Got Recruitment Wrong at Town
Thursday, 26th Aug 2021 18:55
Former Town boss Roy Keane believes recruitment was where he got things wrong during his time in charge at Portman Road and admitted he lost confidence and had doubts in his 20 months with the Blues.
The former Republic of Ireland international spent an unhappy 20 months at Town between April 2009 and January 2011, spending significant sums on players such as Tamas Priskin and Lee Martin as he unsuccessfully sought to take the Blues into the Premier League.
Speaking at length with his former Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville in his The Overlap YouTube show, Keane talked about his time in management with the Blues and more successfully at Sunderland, who he took into the top flight in 2006/07 when they won the Championship title.
Town was his last management job, although he has worked as an assistant to Martin O’Neill with the Republic of Ireland and at Aston Villa to another ex-Blues manager Paul Lambert, but he says he’s keen to have another go.
“Sunderland were second bottom of the Championship, Sunderland was a great club for me, but there was pluses at Ipswich. I think there is something in there where I could be a good manager. That’s what’s kind of pulling at me to go back in.”
Reflecting on his two previous jobs in management, he said: “Where I got it right at Sunderland was the recruitment. I got it wrong at Ipswich. The best players are not always the best characters and I think that’s the hardest part.
“Do I look back at my coaching and my staff and think we got that really wrong? No, I don’t think I was really doing too much different to Sunderland.
“At Ipswich, what I was doing round the training ground and the pitch, how I dealt with people, I think that was one of my strengths, motivating people.
“When you’ve a good group, you’ve a good group, it’s as simple as that. Even when I was at Sunderland and we won a few matches, people were making out that we were doing something extraordinary, we weren’t. We were just having good training sessions, we got momentum.”
Keane says winning his opening two games with the Blues, a 3-0 victory at Cardiff and then a 2-1 home success over Coventry, ultimately proved to be a poor indicator of the club's position.
“The worst thing that happened to me at Ipswich was I won my first two matches which was at the end of the season, so when we won the first two matches I was thinking ‘Maybe it’s not so bad down there, maybe it’s not a big rebuild’,” he said.
“And then we lost one or two players and we started the season. In my first season at Ipswich I think we didn’t win for the first 14 or 15 matches. We got seven or eight draws, but as we know draws don’t get you anywhere fast.
“And then at the start of my second season, I had the dreaded chat with the owner [Marcus Evans] when he was in my office and we’re on the tactics board, ‘Why is he playing there?’ and you’re looking going ‘This is not right’.
“I knew my days were numbered when I was explaining to the owner why he’s playing right-back, why’s he playing left-back. I think I obviously learned more from my time at Ipswich than I did at Sunderland.”
Asked later where his lowest point in football was, when he lost his confidence and had doubts about himself, he said: “I think when I was a manager at Ipswich probably.”
Photo: Action Images
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