Roy Keane admits he ‘managed badly’ at Ipswich Town, revealing ‘I spoke to people like something on the bottom of my shoe’

Former Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane

Former Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Roy Keane has dedicated an entire chapter of his explosive new book to his time as manager of Ipswich Town.

Roy Keane gestures to Ipswich Town fans after the 1-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest in January 20

Roy Keane gestures to Ipswich Town fans after the 1-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest in January 2011. It proved to be his last match in charge. - Credit: Action Images

One of football’s biggest enigmas, Keane – whose first autobiography was released in 2002 – has been typically outspoken in ‘The Second Half’, extracts from which are beginning to emerge ahead of Thursday’s official release.

The former Manchester United midfielder was in charge at Portman Road from April 2009 to January 2011. Having previously led Sunderland to the Championship title, the controversial Irishman had a turbulent time in Suffolk.

He promoted numerous youth team players into the first team squad, but had several fall outs with senior players – including the likes of Jon Walters, Damien Delaney, Pablo Counago, Kevin Lisbie and Ben Thatcher – sold Jordan Rhodes on the cheap and squandered millions on transfer flops such as Tamas Priskin and Lee Martin.

He was eventually sacked by owner Marcus Evans after gesturing angrily towards critical supporters following a 1-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest.

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Having finished 15th in the 2009/10 campaign, Keane left the Blues three points above the Championship drop zone. His 81-game managerial record was a balanced 28 wins, 25 draws and 28 defeats. Several of his former players have claimed in recent years that he ruled through fear.

“I don’t think I’m a bad manager, but at Ipswich I managed badly,” writes Keane. “I spoke to some people like something on the bottom of my shoe.”

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The 43-year-old, now assistant to Martin O’Neill and Paul Lambert with the Republic of Ireland and Aston Villa respectively, adds: “I don’t f****** like blue. City were blue, Rangers were blue. My biggest rivals were blue. Is that childish? I couldn’t feel it.”



– After being sold to Stoke by Keane having previously been forced to send a picture of his vomit to prove an illness:

“It wouldn’t surprise me if some players are terrified of him. In my case, his words went in one ear and out the other. You never know where you stand with him and that was the fear factor he brought in. I respected him as a player, but maybe he can’t get his point across as a manager.

“There’s a way of going about b********* people. At Ipswich, it became personal a few times.

“Bryan (Klug) had been at the club for probably 20 to 25 years and there was Charlie Woods. Good coaches and good people to have around who were all let go for one reason or another under Roy.

“That was disappointing. They were good people to work for and part of what the club is about. Ipswich means so much to everyone in the town. When they got let go . . . that was Roy’s decision.

“Even now I speak to the lads at Ipswich and when they get beat, we know what’s been said before we even speak to anyone. It’s eggshells all the time.”


– After being recalled from a loan spell Colchester United by Keane:

“I see that he (Keane) has said that there are a few clubs interested in me, but the problem is that I’d like him to speak to me first.

“I’d like him to call me. Roy has not spoken to me yet, so I knew nothing about this recalling me. It’s a horrible way to find out.

“I think he should have spoken to me first. To be honest, I feel like a piece of meat.”


– Explaining to a court why he had been speeding:

“The reason I was going too fast was because I was late for work. I had an unreasonable boss at the time who would not accept lateness and would not have listened to me.”


– One being loaned to Leicester City:

“It was really disappointing how it all happened. I’ve always looked up to Roy since I was a kid and for things to happen the way they did was very hard to take.

“It happened in funny circumstances. One minute, I’m being made team captain and the next I’m training with three or four kids. It’s not my fault that I got injured. “I’ve always gotten on okay with Roy, but it was really disappointing how that all panned out. I was a little surprised when he suggested going out on loan would be a good thing for me. A lot of things have been said and written about me, but not once have I received a call from someone to explain the situation. I’m in the dark as to whether they want me back at Ipswich.”


– West Brom defender reflecting on one Town pre-season under Keane:

“We did an army camp when Roy Keane was manager – that was horrendous. He took our phones and wallets away from us after saying ‘you’ve got five minutes to phone home and say you won’t be home tonight’.

“It was a brilliant experience but it was tough as well, which is why I said it was so horrendous. We had to wear the full army kit with the boots – the staff joined in so it wasn’t just us either.”


– When asked about the out-of-work Keane in April 2011:

“I’m not sure (if he will be a success), it depends on the group of players he has got. I think he will be more successful the higher up he is.

“He demands the standards of Manchester United and when people don’t match those standards, he seems to have a problem.

“He needs to be working at a higher level to be successful. If he tries again in the Championship or possibly lower, I’m not sure he will get what he wants from the players.”


– When asked about working under Keane ahead of the East Anglian derby against Norwich in November 2010:

“People have got entirely the wrong idea about the gaffer. They remember him as a player, when he was all about winning, and they automatically think he must be a bit of a madman in the dressing room.

“I wish I could take some of our fans in there because they would be amazed at how he really is. Yes, we get the hairdryer from time to time but only when we really deserve it. He tells it like it is but certainly doesn’t rant and rave just for the sake of it.

“He is actually quite calm most of the time and he is brilliant at taking the pressure off the players.

“Far too much has been made of him falling out with certain players and moving them on. That happens at every club, just as players don’t always get on with other players all the time.”

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