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Terry Pierce - Unconvincing Keane on the brink at Ipswich

Published: 14 Dec 2010 - 09:30:04

Love him or hate him, Roy Keane was a fantastic footballer. A fearsome leader and a midfield dynamo, he led Alex Ferguson's Manchester United sides of the nineties to unrivalled success.But, no matter how much he may like to think he is, he is not a fantastic manager.

His clear and concise lead-by-example attitude that brought him so much success in his playing days just has not transferred into his managerial career, and now Ipswich Town are paying the considerable price.

Keane has had some previous success in a top job, leading Sunderland from the Championship relegation zone to the title in his first season as a gaffer.But the Mackems' early season position that year was false and the former Ireland international had a considerable budget to work with.

Keane went on to keep them in the top flight in his first full season in charge, and he looked set to follow in the footsteps of former team-mate Steve Bruce in establishing himself as a solid top-flight boss.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of the following season, despite spending a considerable amount of cash on proven Premier League players such as Djibril Cisse and Anton Ferdinand, Sunderland struggled. And after a run of five defeats in six during the Autumn Keane resigned after, rather bizarrely, calling into question his own future during a post-match interview.

Take nothing away from him, winning promotion to the top flight and staying there was a considerable achievement, but not one significant enough for him to have the kind of reputation he seems to have.

Fast-forward six months and Keane arrives in Suffolk, with the sole target being promotion as soon as possible. However, after failing to pull up trees in his first season in charge at Ipswich, The Tractor Boys are now on a run of six straight league defeats and sit just three points above the drop zone.

Everyone at Portman Road was hopeful of making the top six this time around after a solid if unspectacular mid-table finish last term, and things looked as if they were going to plan as Keane's side suffered only one defeat in their opening eight Championship games.

But their current run, culminating in the side's embarrassingly one-sided derby-day defeat at Norwich and then Saturday's dismal loss at struggling Preston, has left Keane under intense pressure and in the firing line of his club's boo boys.

Keane's unapproachable manner, his apparent stubbornness and his almost unemotional nature is not getting the best out of a talented bunch of Championship footballers, and now the Irishman looks like he's running out of answers.

He's already been given the dreaded vote of confidence and begun to question his own future in post-match interviews again. But will the parallels with his departure from Sunderland end there?

Will he stay and fight, and do everything he can to turn around Ipswich's fortunes. Or will jump before he's pushed again?

FOLLOW TERRY ON TWITTER @telpierce
DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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