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Friday, November 18, 2005

Big questions arise as Keane leaves Man Utd

In the past hour Roy Keane has officially left Man Utd after 12 years service at the club. Age and recurring injuries had diminished his effectiveness on the pitch. A MUTV interview a couple of months ago stating he may leave in January inferred that everything was not stable in the relationship between himself and Man Utd. And it now seems that a later MUTV interview made a couple of weeks ago- that was censored by MUFC officials because it is alleged he attacked younger teammates- is the straw that broke the camel's back.

I'd personally like to know if the Glazer's put their foot down over Keane's behaviour and were instrumental in Keane's departure today? And I'd also like to know why Keane gave an interview that amounted to damaging the mutual trust and confidence between himself and the rest of Man Utd? Was he merely looking for a reaction from his teammates, or was he trying to force his own departure? It certainly seems that he was not at all happy with things going on behind the scenes.

And how does Ferguson feel about the way Keane has left the club? With his right-hand man going, will Ferguson now begin to contemplate leaving sooner rather than later... perhaps at the end of the season?

The answers to these questions may not be known for some time. In my opinion, Man Utd do owe a responsibilty to its fans to be transparent about why Keane has left with immediate effect. But I'm quite sure the party line will be 'it's just business as usual'...


Blogger RedsMan said...

Keane has seen Man Utd stumble under the pressure of Arsenal and now the emergence of Chelsea as the superpower. Non-achievement of trophies last season has been a sore point for Keane as captain, after the years of excellence the side he has represented have shown. It is possible that Utd haven't been the same since Beckham's departure. They still have the bite to their football, tested in the past games with key players missing. But with the likes of Scholes and Giggs possibly nearing an exit in a few years time, the current crop of new additions are not generally up to Keane's standards.

I don't believe he is comfortable with Smith in midfield, I don't think he is confident a successor to Beckham has been found, and I believe he feels the youngsters of today are not of the class usually reserved for Utd in the days of Neville, Giggs, Beckham and Scholes. Otherwise, if all of the above were better in his opinion, and Utd were neck-n-neck with the top team (if not top team themselves), he would battle for an extension to his stay there. It is why he had the fall-out with Sir Alex in pre-season and delivered his criticism in his interviews.

For me, Utd haven't replaced Beckham and haven't found another for Keane. Some may say they cannot get an exact replica, but they can get very close to it. Michael Ballack isn't a Keane figure.

Keane and his adviser held talks at OT, and I think it's a case of Keane's ambitions not on par with Sir Alex and David Gill. I deliberately excluded the Glazers. Keane feels the club are not in line to savage their glory days and felt it was time to make a break and seek somewhere else to end his career.

As for Utd, they will simply carry on with 'business as usual', as this happens on the eve of facing Charlton. They'll miss Keane's leadership, they will need another, an amalgamation of Neville's leadership experience with Scholes' tackling and position.


11/18/2005 4:53 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post, redsman. But I have to ask if you were being sarcastic: "with Scholes' tackling..." Ballack is interesting, as he's rather a replacement for Scholes than Keane. Even if they get Ballack, they still have no natural defensive midfielder. Smith, Fletcher, O'Shea? Not very convincing. In my opinion, they need to find two central midfielders, not one.

11/19/2005 12:29 am

Blogger T said...

Anon, I agree with you opinion 100%. Redsman is extremely rarely sarcastic... I reckon he appreciates the commitment shown by Scholes when he goes in for his mistimed tackles.

Redsman, you know that I totally disagreed with Ferguson's decision to sell Beckham from the point of view of Man Utd's football interests on the pitch. The team and the dressing room has not been the same since- his departure will prove bigger than Keane's because Keane is at the end of this career whilst Beckham was in his prime, a prolific assists dangerman, and the shining symbol of the 'never give-up' Man Utd.

11/19/2005 11:59 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (12.29AM) - Thank you. No, no sarcasm, T was correct. I believe the leadership is needed particularly with Keane's absence off the pitch, and now with it an eternal element at OT. That has to come from Neville and no other. He is gritty enough to put in good tackling and send others from his position far better than any other. I say the amalgamation because Keane was in an ideal position for me - central mid, the pinnacle of the team. Yesteryear, defenders would lead but now I feel the central mid is a better position for a skipper. The likes of John Terry are an exception. So I say Gary Neville but from Scholes' position, or Neville from central midfield. Utd fans can correct me if I'm wrong in saying Sir Alex has stated in the past he wants his captain leading from central midfield.

Scholes' tackles may well be perceived as ill-timed on occasion but one could say the same for Keane. The main thing is they went in tough, as Sir Alex wants them to. The Scotsman is more concerned with, as T said, commitment than bookings, to a degree because that's not to say he agrees with players constantly being booked and therefore eventually suspended. But he wants commitment and soft tackles don't count in that requirement.

The thing is Keane felt he cannot push the current squad members to the level he is use to. Before, those who came in had a young belief in themselves which was cultivated into one for the club. Fletcher, Miller, Beardsley (correct spelling?), Richardson, seem to have a pedigree not of standard right now to match the likes of Chelsea. Sir Alex has sent Miller on loan, as he did with Beckham initially, but whereas it was just Beckham, last season it was Richardson and now it's Miller. Richardson could well have found himself at West Brom again if Bryan Robson preferred it to a permanent move and Sir Alex felt he had good enough cover on the left at the moment. With Heinze out, Silvestre and Richardson seem appropriate right now, so Richardson isnt going anywhere at the moment.

One question is why, if Ronaldo is a valuable asset to the squad, he has signed just a 2yr deal than something like a 5yr one? I would suspect his agent considers Man Utd on shaky ground and Ronaldo could play another season and then perhaps, if things haven't become rosier by then, he can look elsewhere. I'd like your views on that, Anon, and certainly from other Utd fans.


11/19/2005 12:23 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Wishing to add a little more: T, you did state your opinion on Beckham's sale that the club would regret selling him. Also, VNR was captain and I don't feel he is concerned with leadership. It should have been Scholes but I feel he too isn't concerned to have the armband either. But it had to be either of the two, no one else. I sense Neville's return will hold a stronger balance tot he side's performance, regularly. I know yesterday was their 2nd consecutive win, but now they are into post-Keane, they are aiming to keep it going, and they need that leader.


11/20/2005 3:56 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks for the acknowedgement Redsman!

VNR was a contradiction yesterday: he scored two goals of immense quality that were far from his trademark tap-in efforts. I looked at this and thought he have been lifted by Keane's departure.

Then I saw his interview and he looked and sounded genuinely saddened by the news that Keane was no more a Man Utd player and captain.

I agree that Neville should hold the captaincy role: he is Man Utd through and through. But VNR showed yesterday that he is also ready to rise to the challenge. I must say I was impressed by VNR (words I seldom say!!)

11/20/2005 8:17 pm


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