Colourful career of a football legend

LOVE him or hate him you can't deny that Roy Keane is a bona fide footballing legend.

Derek Davis

LOVE him or hate him you can't deny that Roy Keane is a bona fide footballing legend.

Just as he was a player Keane is outspoken, direct and unflinching. He demands the highest standards from himself and all those around him.

Team-mates were not spared embarrassment or his own version of the hairdryer treatment his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson was famed for.

As a manager he showed at Sunderland that it was his way or the highway, and he was not going to stand for any interfering from above in team matters either.

Black Cats chairman Niall Quinn and Keane had famously fallen out over the 'Saipan Incident' when he criticised the World Cup preparations and facilities and manager Mick McCarthy, who he later, ironically, replaced as Sunderland boss.

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The relationship between manager and chairman was never the warmest, and a sticking-point for Sunderland was that Keane would not move from his home in Cheshire to near the training ground, something he will do when he joins Ipswich Town.

Moving to Suffolk will show his commitment to the Blues and in return he will expect full backing from owner Marcus Evans in the transfer market and be given time to take Town up.

Evans will hope Keane can do what he did with Sunderland and take them up first time.

After completing his illustrious playing career at Celtic, Keane was a somewhat surprise choice to take over from Sunderland when McCarthy failed to keep them in the top flight and then started the following season poorly.

When Keane took over they were 23rd in the table, and a month later were beaten 3-1 by Town, but he soon turned it around and the Black Cats stormed up the table to finish champions.

Keane and Jim Magilton famously fell out in an argument about a player move and the rift was never really healed.

Among the players he had there was Tommy Miller, who will soon be out of contract while Jon Stead is another who Keane inherited from McCarthy, before selling the forward on to Sheffield United.

Another Town player Keane knows well is Billy Clarke and he even opened the door to the cheeky youngster in Cork one day.

Clarke had been offered a place at the Blues Academy and had marched round to Keane's house to proudly tell him 'I'm going to be a professional footballer one day, just like you'.

If Clarke, on loan at Brentford right now, has half the career Keane had then he will be happy.

After playing for Cobh Ramblers, Keane was signed by Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest, where he endured homesickness in the early days.

Although grateful for the help and advice he got from Clough they did have their moments and legend has it that Clough laid him out with a single punch in a dressing-room row.

When Forest were relegated in 1993 Keane was signed by Manchester United for �3.75million, a then British record, and so started an illustrious partnership that saw him win nine major honours and make him the club's most successful captain.

Controversy was never far away though and his clashes with Arsenal, in particular Patrick Vieira, made for lively debate.

But it was his tackle on Manchester City's Alf-Inge Haaland that will be best remembered, not just for its ferocity that had him sent off in the derby. Explaining his actions so graphically in his autobiography years later earned him the wrath of the Football Association.

His days at Old Trafford were numbered after he criticised the team on the Red Devils' MUTV and although Ferguson had once said he wanted Keane as his successor one day their relationship became strained.

So it meant a move to Celtic Park were he played out his the remainder of his career before moving into management and now - Portman Road.