Roy Keane will be looked on as a failure

IPSWICH TOWN: The Blues have had been well served by a number of wonderful managers. But Roy Keane was not one of them.

His time in charge at Portman Road will be looked back upon as a failure.

Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Bobby Robson, John Lyall and George Burley were managers who put Ipswich as a town on the map and brought glory to the club.

Since Burley left after leading Town into fifth place in the Premiership in 2000/01 it has been downhill virtually all the way although Joe Royle’s efforts with a very tight budget have to be admired.

Jim Magilton was given a chance to learn his trade as a manager when his playing days ended, but this brave gamble never really got off the ground and he was dismissed after three years.

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This heralded the arrival of footballing icon Keane in April 2009 and Ipswich Town immediately found themselves in the media spotlight giving billionaire owner Marcus Evans’ world wide business interests a massive boost.

Yesterday’s news of his departure was no great surprise with the former Manchester United star failing to get to grips with the job he was given by Evans - to lift the Blues back into the Premier League.

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After his success in taking Sunderland from the bottom of the Championship to the title in 2006/07 in his first season and then keeping them there Keane’s appointment was met with great enthusiasm by supporters.

The summer of 2009 was filled with expectancy, but almost from the first kick of the new season the realisation slowly but surely sunk in that Keane did not possess the skills that were expected.

His record in the transfer market was patchy at best and his man management at times left a great deal to be desired. The football his team produced was dull with supporters voting with their feet and attendances steadily falling away.

Keane kept the majority of Town fans on his side until the false hopes of the early part of this season faded. In recent weeks he became more and more under attack.

Losing six league games on the trot and gathering just four points out of the last 27 is pretty deplorable - with a number of managers with better records finding themselves out of a job prior to his dismissal.

Leading Town to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup was a notable achievement, and he will be missing for the upcoming semi-finals against Arsenal.

His poor record in the league - just three points above the relegation places - far outweigh his cup success.

Town go into cup matches against Chelsea and Arsenal having dropped to 19th in the table after Monday’s 1-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest with Keane involved in angry exchanges with fans behind the dug-out and on the way to the tunnel at the end of the game.

The 39-year-old’s first press conference was in front of a packed media centre showed him in his true light and his honesty and desire to do well could never be faulted.

“I’ve signed a two-year contract but I’d like to try and do it in one year,” he said in April 2009.

“If I wasn’t up for challenges I’d be out walking my dogs today. I think my dogs need a break.”

Victories in the remaining two games of 2008/09 added to the feeling of expectancy with season tickets put back on sale with fans flocking to buy them taking the figure up to around 15,000.

Keane was given money to spend by Evans, with Lee Martin, Tamas Priskin, Carlos Edwards and Grant Leadbitter his main buys and with respect their combined arrival have only proved to be of minimum success.

The departure of striker Jordan Rhodes to Huddersfield was as much a surprise as an example of how Keane’s views were often to become at loggerheads with most football followers – and supporters.

It was the last game in October that Ipswich won their first Championship game, which is the Blues’ worst start to any season – 13 league games before the 1-0 success over Derby.

From November onwards to be fair Ipswich’s results were on par with a team in line for a play-off place although only twice did they win two games in succession.

Fans started voting with their feet and season tickets sales for this campaign were below 14,000 with growing criticism of his readiness to recruit mainly Irish players or those from his former club Allowing Bryan Klug, who ran the Blues academy with huge success, to leave did not look a good move at the time and looks to be even more short sighted now.

With youngsters increasingly to the fore, Town failed to keep the run going and the pressure started to grow from fans. Keane didn’t help his standing with supporters by suggesting that some of them didn’t know what they were on about.

“I’ve no problem with people’s opinions, but a lot of people do not have a clue what they’re talking about in terms of football,” he said.

Keane failed to get any consistency out of his team and although there is no denying that he kept the dressing room on his side right to the end the current bad run would have been enough to see any manager shown the door.

Excellent company during his press conferences and always willing to give full answers to every enquiry, Keane even lost much of the waspish bite that he brought with him.

He enjoys living in Suffolk, and will probably continue to do so and he appreciated the laid back rural way of life that mellowed him somewhat.

But he is never one to build too many close relationships and would not dream of putting his arm around a player except in extreme circumstances.

This inability to get up close and personal helped to make Keane into the man that he is.

But it is not a trait that lends itself to management – particularly football management where player egos have to be massaged and it takes an extrovert to be a success.

Despite his public face, Keane is basically a shy man and behind the mask that he gives to the world and his undoubted dislike of suffering fools he is a rather sensitive man.

This sacking will hurt. But he won’t show it. He’ll keep his chin high and move on with deep regret that he failed at Portman Road.

“Don’t lose any sleep if I lose my job,” the man said to be worth �30 million often said.

The only one losing sleep now will be Keane.

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