Battle of the Town bosses became a box-office smash. Now could it be coming to Ipswich?

Sport; Shrewsbury Vs Ipswich; Carling Cup Round 1; Roy Keane urges his players on in extra time at S

Sport; Shrewsbury Vs Ipswich; Carling Cup Round 1; Roy Keane urges his players on in extra time at Shrewsbury; Pic Warren Page 11 08 09 - Credit: Archant

It was the sporting spat that had the whole British Isles – and especially Ireland – talking during the run up to the 2002 World Cup.

Theatre show poster - I,Keano

Theatre show poster - I,Keano - Credit: cont

Then Ireland manager Mick McCarthy had a blazing row with legendary team captain Roy Keane at the team’s training centre at the island of Saipan in the Pacific – with Keane taking an early flight home.

Three years later it was turned into a comedy musical show I Keano, in which the protagonists were portrayed as Roman soldiers.

It played to packed houses in Dublin and was then taken to Manchester – where it was a hit in the wake of Keane’s bust-up with Sir Alex Ferguson.

It is now about to be revived in Dublin – and posters are up all over the city!

At the time of the row Ipswich seemed a very long way away – although Town captain Matt Holland was a mainstay of the Irish team at the World Cup – but now it seems very close to home.

Not only is McCarthy now the Town boss, he also follows in the footsteps of Keane who was in charge at Portman Road for two years between 2009 and 2011.

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I Keano turns them into Keano and General McCartacus. Other characters include Fergie (the hair-dryer god), and Quinness (looking suspiciously like ex-Sunderland star Niall Quinn).

There’s also a “Scribes chorus” of Sanctimonius, Obsequius, Scandalus and Superfluous. Which profession could they have had in mind when those characters were created?

A spokeswoman for the show’s creators, MCD Productions, said it was only playing in Dublin and there were no plans to bring it back to Britain.

However given the interest in both Keane and McCarthy in Ipswich, she would not rule out bringing it back across the Irish Sea.

The New Wolsey Theatre is currently host to another football-based drama, the highly-acclaimed Three Lions about England’s failed World Cup bid.

A spokeswoman for the theatre said programmes were drawn up a long way in advance, but if the producers of I Keano wanted the show to be staged in Ipswich they should submit a script for consideration.

Town fan and local councillor Alasdair Ross hoped the New Wolsey would consider bringing the show to Ipswich: “I’d certainly like to see it, and I’m sure there are many other fans who would. I think it would be a sell-out for the theatre.

“The New Wolsey has a great reputation for football-themed productions. This would be in that tradition.”

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