Caring Roy Keane praised in Gary Ablett autobiography

A VERY different side to former Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane has been revealed in the autobiography of one-time club coach Gary Ablett.

The pair briefly worked together at Town before Ablett contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, losing his brave 16-month battle against the illness on New Year’s Day.

In the months before his death, Ablett wrote his memoirs, where he pays tribute to Ipswich Town and especially the support shown to him by Keane, whose public and personal image were clearly very different.

Ablett wrote: “I know well enough the image Roy has from the outside. He’s seen as abrasive, confrontational – he’s even considered to be trouble. To me, he is none of those things.

“Roy has been caring, incredibly supportive and a true friend. The only time you could say he has been trouble is when he has smuggled a bag of sugary sweets onto the ward at The Christie when I was in for 12 days having treatment for my diabetes.”

Ablett might have only worked with Keane for a short time, after his condition deteriorated when Town played a pre-season friendly at PSV Eindhoven, but the former Manchester United midfielder did everything he could to help his stricken colleague.

“The professional relationship we had as manager and coach does not explain just how much time he has spent with me over the past couple of years,” Ablett said.

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“The phone will go and it will be Roy. “I’m popping round,” he’ll say. But it’s hardly ‘popping round’. He lives in Cheshire and I’m up living near Preston. “What do you need? Papers? A magazine? Puzzle book?”

In his poignant book, The Game Of My Life, Ablett called on the football world to get Keane back into management as quickly as possible.

He said: “The bottom line is that Roy Keane is a winner and which chairman out there does not want their manager to be a winner.”

- The Game Of My Life was released this week, priced �16.99, and is available from retailers or

- For more on this story and extracts of the book, buy today’s Ipswich Star and EADT