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The Keane Years: ‘I don’t throw tea-cups... I’d rather throw punches’ - Roy’s best quotes

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 April 2020

Roy Keane breezes in for a press conference at Portman Road. Picture: PAS SPORT

Roy Keane breezes in for a press conference at Portman Road. Picture: PAS SPORT

Archant

Football writer Carl Marston had the good fortune, or bad luck, to cover the Roy Keane era at Ipswich Town. In the second part of this series, he takes a look back at those heady days in the Portman Road press lounge

Roy Keane asking questions at Scunthorpe, during a drab 1-1 draw. Keane admitted that not many fans would be wanting a DVD of that game. Picture: PAGEPIXRoy Keane asking questions at Scunthorpe, during a drab 1-1 draw. Keane admitted that not many fans would be wanting a DVD of that game. Picture: PAGEPIX

One of the many joys of covering Ipswich Town, during the Roy Keane era, was the number of soundbites that the Irishman would conjure up for a listening press corps to devour.

Every week, never fail, Keane would come up with the goods.

Of course, he did have plenty of mood swings, which just added to the intrigue.

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Roy Keane, as manager of Sunderland, on a visit to Portman Road in 2006. Keane joked that he went over his budget a little at the Stadium of Light.  Picture: ANDY ABBOTTRoy Keane, as manager of Sunderland, on a visit to Portman Road in 2006. Keane joked that he went over his budget a little at the Stadium of Light. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Mostly, he was in good spirits at the weekly Portman Road press conferences, which took place in a jam-packed press lounge every Thursday morning.

The reporters, from local and national newspapers, various radio outlets and a few television stations, would congregate in their numbers every week, together with a smattering of photographers and cameramen.

It was always a big occasion, each Keane press conference, and they nearly always lasted at least 40 minutes, if not longer.

In fact, Keane’s press conferences were always the longest, and the most entertaining, that I ever attended, from the long list of managers that I have encountered over the years.

Brian Clough, who was Roy Keane's manager at Nottingham Forest, often a painful experience as well as a successful one. Picture: PABrian Clough, who was Roy Keane's manager at Nottingham Forest, often a painful experience as well as a successful one. Picture: PA

He could probably have sold tickets – they were that good.

Whereas I, and my regionally-based colleagues, were concerned with the specific goings-on at Town, and usually how-the-devil Keane was going to propel a struggling team up the Championship table, the national press were only really interested in Keane’s opinion on a national topics.

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The journalists who travelled over from Keane’s native Ireland, or the writers who arrived on the train from London to pen a piece for the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and alike, would gloss over all the Town-related business and concentrate on Keane’s views on Manchester United, the Premier League, Barcelona, Brian Clough’s legacy, winter breaks .... whatever was topical, or whatever would fill some column inches.

Shane O'Connor, right, on his Ipswich Town league debut, takes on Sheffield Wednesday's Frank Simek. Keane said he would but O'Connor a coke and a bag of crisps after his fine display. Picture: ACTION IMAGESShane O'Connor, right, on his Ipswich Town league debut, takes on Sheffield Wednesday's Frank Simek. Keane said he would but O'Connor a coke and a bag of crisps after his fine display. Picture: ACTION IMAGES

I found it all very entertaining, although I had to stick mainly to the fitness and well-being of the likes of Tamas Priskin, Grant Leadbitter, Lee Martin and alike.

In terms of Keane’s cracking little quips, I began to compile a list of the best of them, and sprinkle them on Twitter as my ‘tweets of the week’ during the course of Keane’s tenure on the Portman Road hot seat, between April, 2009 and January 2011.

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For your enjoyment, and mine, here’s a collection of those priceless Keane soundbites and comic one-liners, which saw the light of day in the form of ‘tweets of the week,’ both for yours and my own amusement.

1: “Someone is making money out of us drawing every week. But good luck to him.” – after Town’s 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough in February, 2010. A remarkable 20 of the 46 league matches that season ended in draws.

2: “Every night, about three o’clock in the morning, I think about certain games” – admission of sleepless nights.

3: “He did well. I’ll buy him a coke and some crisps for the journey home” - with reference to teenage debutant Shane O’Connor after a 1-0 win a Sheffield Wednesday

4: On football budgets: “I didn’t really have one at Sunderland. Well I did, but I went over it a bit.”

5: To a reporter at a press conference: “You’re telling me that Blackpool only have fit five defenders available, but they only need four don’t they?”

6: “I don’t throw tea-cups, that’s not my style. I think I’d rather throw punches.”

7: On Sky TV’s editing of his Portman Road press conferences, to a Sky TV reporter: “You never show it when I talk about Ipswich – if you do, then it’s at midnight!”

8: On Brian Clough: “He used to kiss people every now and then, but he used to punch me! I only kiss my dogs.”

9: On the calibre of players likely to arrive during the summer of 2010: “Don’t expect a Ronaldo to be walking through the door.”

10: On his side’s poor finishing: “It’s the same in training. We lose a lot of balls from the training ground. It’s £70 each for a replacement. Honest!”

11: On not being a fan of referee Mr Dave Foster, following his side’s 3-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on April 10, 2010: “I think if Forest get the ref we got today, for the play-offs, then they’ll have a good chance of winning.”

12: “There are a lot of lazy journalists out there, and a lot of lazy headline writers.” – on the relentless speculation by the media.

13: On a potential triallist Kerry Baptiste: “He’ll be coming for a few days from Trinidad. He’d like the weather, if his plane can land.” (it was snowing outside)

14: “I don’t think many will be buying the DVD,” – following a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe United.


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