A year of Keane, and little else

TIME flies, when you’re enjoying yourself.

Unfortunately, there has been precious little to “enjoy” over the last year, since Roy Keane took over the managerial reins at Ipswich Town, so time has tended to drag.

Yet there has been one saving grace - Keane himself!

Tomorrow is officially the first anniversary of Keane’s appointment to the Portman Road hot seat, on April 23, 2009.

During those last 365 days, Town have managed to win just 15 of Keane’s 50 matches in charge - he aptly celebrated his 50th game with a 1-1 home draw against Doncaster Rovers last weekend.

There has been very little in the way of rich entertainment, reflected by the fact that Town have not yet recorded three wins on the bounce during Keane’s era, and have yet to score more than three goals in a match.

In fact, this season can quite simply be dismissed as a season of struggle. There was the initial rather “macabre” interest in Town’s plight at the foot of the Championship table, but as soon as the club began to inch its way out of trouble and avoid the threat of relegation, the last few weeks have dragged their heels.

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Town may have been the last of all the 92 Football League clubs to have tasted a league victory, and can be fairly labelled as bore-draw specialists, but there have not been many dull moments with Keane at the helm.

And that’s all down to the man himself. Ipswich have had a rotten season, but their manager has never been out of the limelight.

Journalists from Dublin and other corners of Ireland have regularly made the journey across the Irish Channel to attend Town games, and even Keane’s weekly press conferences, and the 38-year-old has rarely disappointed with his words of wisdom.

Keane is high-profile, and that means Town’s standing, if not their league standing, has also been raised in the footballing community.

In recent weeks, the Irishman has made a conscious effort to shy away from answering too many questions on national and international issues. He has preferred to stick with Town topics instead, but this has not killed the interest.

Supporters rightly care more about their team’s fortunes on the pitch, rather than the popularity of their manager, but most have stuck by Keane in his long hour of struggle.

The team may continue to flatter to deceive, and serve up sub-standard performances, but most fans remain behind Keane. That was confirmed by the level of outrage that followed, when certain national newspapers began insisting that the Town boss would be sacked within days - that was weeks ago now!

This has not been an “enjoyable” first year of Keane’s regime, but strangely, due to his strong personality and the status that he holds in the footballing world, time has actually flown.

Roll on next season and a happier second anniversary for Keane.

Hopefully, he is still in his job this time next year, because that would suggest Town would be in the promotion shake-up.

It’s about time that the good days returned to Portman Road.

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