As if being badly outplayed in the first 2 games of Euro 2012 wasn't bad enough, Ireland has had to contend with the latest verbal grenade from their wayward son, one Roy Keane. The mouthy malcontent, unimpressed with his former squad, launched into a tirade on ITV after Ireland``s defeat to Spain, then chose to double down & flung the following pieces off the chip on his shoulder in a column he wrote Sunday:
About Kevin Doyle: A couple of years ago Kevin Doyle was linked to Arsenal. Now he’s heading back to the Championship.
About Stephen Hunt: Stephen Hunt has been relegated three times in five years.
On the Veteran`s that have formed the core of the team for the last decade: “Picked every game as they have a big reputation. A reputation for what? They hadn’t qualified for anything in 10 years.”
And the Coup de Grace, he doubles down & has another go at the fans: It’s great that they back the team during and before games — but should they really stay on long after the final whistle cheering?
Now let me try to be fair to Keane in a manner he most certainly hasn't been to the Boys in Green & us who support them. The underlying intent of his remarks, are something I do agree with. For years Roy has been going around saying to Ireland supporters that they have a right to expect & demand more from their national side, that simply showing up, putting a shift in & being grateful that you`re at a major tournament finals is not enough. Ireland are capable of aiming for a high standard & tired excuses are not good enough. Secondly, he is right to criticize Trap for not giving the young players more of a chance during his tenure. The fact that James McClean is not even going to start in what is, from an Irish point of view, a meaningless runout, is borderline criminal. Neglecting the promising future Ireland has in its youth in favour of tired, worn out veterans is doing the side a huge disservice. Furthermore, he is also right to condemn Trapattoni for his failed management at these Euros & question if he is just living off of past glories. He picks the squad, trains them & prepares the tactics. On all 3 counts, the manager has failed, quite miserably so I regret to say.
However, it`s hard to take seriously this man`s criticism, no matter how valid or apt it may be when it`s coated in such a thick layer of bitterness & bile. Where the hell does Roy gawdamn Keane get off slagging the fans who've made the journey all the way to Poland to support the boys, & have done so in a manner that has lifted the spirits of the team, the country & all of us fortunate enough to be of Irish blood. The pride & devotion to the team & country has been the envy & admiration of the entire world & has reminded all supporters of all sports teams what it means to be a proper fan.
Keane thinks that this is blind devotion, or as he so colourfully described it a ‘win, lose, we’re on the booze’ mentality. This is not blind devotion Mr. Keane, but clear headed realism that Ireland, both, was drawn in a very difficult group against top class opposition & also, this is a side very fortunate to even make it to the Euros in the first place, something the Republic`s former captain was never able to lead his side to I may add. Keane may think the fans`display on Thursday was daft & foolish, but I would say to him that one can be focused & determined to succeed at the task at hand without sacrificing joy in their hearts & having some fun. Quite surprising he is also so down on strong fan support, didn't he heap scorn & derision on the `Prawn Sandwich Brigade' that makes up such a huge part of the fanbase at Old Trafford, which showed what he deemed to be indifference towards the exploits of Manchester United while he was thereÉÉ What`s changed Roy?
The bottom line, boys & girls, is that it`s high bloody time for Roy Keane to put up or shut up. He has stewed on the sidelines, shooting his yap off about, what he sees, are the inadequacies of the Irish national team ever since he high-tailed it for home from Saipan 10 years ago. It's time for him to man up & do something about it. I certainly am of the opinion that Trapattoni should be shown the door after tomorrow's game for the poor performance of the side at this tournament and, logically, a new manager will be needed. I think good ol' Keano should step forward, grab the bull by the horns & demand that he be made the next manager of the national team. He appears to be brimming with ideas & ways to move the program forward, this would be his big shot. He's not going to be able to do anything about what ails Ireland in his eyes sitting around a TV studio, putting the fear of God into Adrian Chiles, though it is a rather useful pursuit I must say ;) So come on Keano, man up. You've never been afraid of taking on all comers, step up now, Ireland needs up.
Not that I expect him to do so. Seems Roy Keane stopped being the player I so admired when he hung up his boots. Seems he hung up his balls too...