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Time for Keane to let go of the past
Published : 23 Nov 2009 12:27:34
For former Republic of Ireland international Roy Keane to tell his compatriots to "get over it" after their World Cup dreams were ended by Thierry Henry's handball was the height of hypocrisy. For surely never has a sportsman known how to hold a grudge like Keane. In one breath the Ipswich manager was telling the Irish to forget about the goal which sent France to South Africa at Ireland's expense and move on. In the next he said the FAI got what they deserved and that "what goes around comes around" after the way he was treated ahead of the 2002 World Cup. Hardly the words of a man who has moved on. The Republic's players and fans were left stunned when William Gallas' goal was allowed to stand, denying them a penalty shoot-out and a shot at World Cup qualification, and howled for a replay. But Keane seemed to see it as some great karmic revenge for his perceived poor treatment after he left his team-mates in the lurch seven years ago after falling out with then Ireland boss Mick McCarthy and the FAI. And he gratefully accepted the opportunity to stick the boot in, mocking the FAI's call for "the honesty and integrity" of the game to upheld by staging a replay. His face was contorted with venom when he recalled how FAI chief executive John Delaney did not contact him after he left the Ireland squad back in 2002. "What goes around comes around," he spat. "People seem to forget what was going on in that World Cup, and that man is on about honesty. "I was one of the players and he didn't have the courtesy to ring me. "I'd been involved with Ireland since I was 15 years of age and that man didn't have the decency to make a phone call. "He could have phoned me, of course he could have." Meanwhile, Henry's handball has led many to suggest the Barcelona forward cannot now be considered a great player. No player who is truly great, goes the argument, could ever commit such an act of poor sportsmanship. Well, if that is the case, Keane can barely be considered above mediocre. His premeditated assault on Alf-Inge Haaland ("Even in the dressing room afterwards I had no remorse. My attitude was, 'What goes around comes around'. He got his just rewards. My attitude is an eye for an eye.") was just the most obviously despicable among a catalogue of offences which made him a hate figure among the majority of fans outside of Old Trafford. And unless he he can get over his past, he will never be a great manager either. Keane's outburst confirmed him as someone who is motivated by revenge, by anger and petty grudges. Perhaps he thinks, having been managed by two men who harboured grudges of their own in Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson, this is how to be successful. But in both Ferguson and Clough, something burned stronger in them than anger - the will to win - and this is what drove them on to become two of the greatest managers the English game has ever seen. Football is not about personal battles - look what happened when Kevin Keegan turned the 1995/6 title race into a fight between him and Ferguson. It is about teams. Keane needs to clear his head and put his ego to one side, or he will never match his on-field achievements in his new role. He needs to move on. He needs to get over it.