‘I’ll f****** rock this place’, hating the colour blue and falling out with players - Keane’s best Ipswich Town quotes
- Credit: Archant
Ahead of Roy Keane’s return to Portman Road with Nottingham Forest on Saturday, ANDY WARREN looks at the former Ipswich boss’s best quotes from his time in Suffolk.
Keane was appointed Ipswich Town boss in April 2009 in place of Jim Magilton.
He won his first two games in charge at the end of the 2008/09 season but didn’t win any of his first 14 games in charge the following season, with the Blues ultimately recovering to finish 15th.
Things started much better the following season before a run of one win in nine league games saw him fired in January 2011.
He spent significantly during his time at Portman Road on the likes of Lee Martin, Tamas Priskin and Grant Leadbitter but, writing in his updated autobiography in 2014, it became clear the fit between Keane and Ipswich was never right.
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On being appointed Ipswich boss in April 2009
“I truly believe that I am joining a club that has the potential, ambition and infrastructure to once again be a Premier League side.
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“The club’s owner (Marcus Evans) and chief executive (Simon Clegg) impressed upon me their total focus on achieving this quest at the earliest opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”
On holding talks with Marcus Evans while Jim Magilton was still in charge
“I was being touted for a job that was already occupied. But I didn’t feel too bad about that. I felt he’d let me down with a player when I was managing Sunderland. He was supposed to take Tommy Miller off me. We’d agreed a deal, but Ipswich pulled out.”
Reflections on his first day in charge
“I didn’t feel the excitement (that I had felt) going up to Sunderland. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t. I feel bad even admitting that.”
On winning his first two games in charge against Cardiff and Coventry in 2009
“Cardiff could have beaten us 10-0. I wish they had (Town won 3-0). Then I’d have thought, ‘This is a rebuilding job, this’. Instead I was thinking ‘We don’t have to do much here.”
On his inherited staff
“It had the feel of a family club that didn’t need breaking up. But that was exactly what was needed. My eyes weren’t lying to me; some of the staff at Ipswich weren’t up to it.”
On the Ipswich supporters
“Our first session was open to the fans. But nobody came. My first day – you’d have thought a couple of school kids would have been dragged in by dad or granddad. But there wasn’t one person watching.”
On being booed by fans
“I don’t think we are the type of club that has a 12th man, where they will drag us and carry us to promotion
“We know that for us to bring this club forward, it will come from within the club, it won’t come from outside it, or from the supporters. It will come from the players and the staff, and a little bit of luck along the way.”
On Ipswich’s poor start in 2009
“When I got us up at Sunderland, maybe I got a bit of luck. Maybe I was just very, very lucky and I’m being found out now.”
On being asked if he will resign after Barnsley loss in 2009
“I refuse to answer that question,” he said with a glare.
On his hatred of the colour blue
“Then there was the blue training kit. I don’t f***** like blue. City were blue, Rangers were blue. My biggest rivals were blue. Is that childish?
“But I did once say to the owner, ‘Any chance we might be able to change the colour of the kit?’ “He said, ‘Nah, there’d be uproar’. Which at Ipswich meant four people taking to the streets.”
On tactical errors
“Twenty draws in one season – it’s still mind-boggling. And we had been winning so many of those games. “I should have used substitutions better – ‘Get an extra defender on.’ But I thought, ‘It’s only Doncaster’, and they equalised.”
On selling Jordan Rhodes to Huddersfield in 2009
“I still get criticised for selling Jordan, and I have to accept that. The mistake myself and the staff made was we discussed what he couldn’t do, instead of what he could do.”
On falling out with players
“I acted a bit. It was a sleepy town and I was thinking ‘I’ll f***** rock this place. I’ll bring them to the army (pre-season training camp). It backfired. I made the point about Ellis Short talking to me like I was something on the bottom of his shoe. I think I spoke like that to some people at Ipswich.”
On his relationship with Pablo Counago
The former Ipswich boss described the Spaniard as being “dead lazy” and said the striker “looked like he was going down a coal pit for 10 hours” in his book. On Counago’s performance in a reserve game, Keane wrote: “He was f****** awful. I went down to the dressing room after the game and had a go at him. He went: ‘Well, how are we going to win anything with you as manager?’ I nearly physically attacked him – but I didn’t.”
Keane’s final press conference, after losing to Nottingham Forest in January 2011 and gesturing to fans
“I’m doing my best and if my best isn’t good enough, then I’ll take the consequences,” he said.
“I don’t expect you to be giving me phone calls if I do lose my job. It’s the nature of the game. Even managers who win football matches lose their job, let alone managers who don’t. Don’t let my position keep you awake at night. What will be, will be.”
FORMER IPSWICH TOWN PLAYERS ON WORKING UNDER ROY KEANE
– 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.”
– On 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.”
- Responding to Keane’s claims in his book, issuing a statement to TWTD
“I could say lots of awful things about him but I don’t feel right speaking about him, I feel sorry for him. That’s why whatever he says about me I don’t take offence, even though he’s not telling the truth about me.
“It seems like he needs to criticise players, managers and directors to keep selling books as he is not able to do anything else in football. It is a very sad ending for a person that was so big as a player.
“As I told him once, I think he is a complete mess as a football manager. As he has said in his book, he wanted to hit me, but behind his appearance there’s a coward.
“I just hope he can find happiness in his life as, in my opinion, being that miserable must be very mentally draining.”
- On answering back to Keane, as told to former Celtic and Swindon midfielder Simon Ferry’s Open Goal show
“This one’s a funny one...
“When we’re going to away games he puts Manchester United games against somebody on the television. He’d put it on the tele!
“In training he’d always shout ‘hit the target, hit the target’ because he loves that shout.
“So I was on the bus and in the game that was on that day he scuffed one wide. The bus was quiet man and I stood up and shouted ‘hit the target’! I dunno what I was thinking! I just looked up and sat back down.
“It was difficult to play under him. It was tough and he holds grudges.
“I remember we were playing Scunthorpe away and somebody shot and the keeper parried it out to me, the keeper is running out and I chipped the keeper and it was going in an open goal. But the defender came in and slid it away.
“Then at f****** half-time... ooh he couldn’t wait to get in at half-time. He was like ‘now don’t shout to hit the f****** target now.
“He absolutely ripped me on it and that was two weeks later.”
- Reflecting on telling Keane he wanted to walk away from football, after being called into the Ireland squad last year
“When I did walk in that day to speak to him, he was brilliant,” Supple said.
“I haven’t seen him since and it will be nice to meet up and thank him properly for the way he looked after me and getting me out as quickly as possible. Roy was great.
“I was only there for a couple of months with Roy. There was a lot of fuss at the time. Within a few days, he’d sorted it out.
“I knew it wasn’t just our club. I had been out on loan [at Oldham and Falkirk]. I probably never fell out of love with the game. It was the people involved in it who disheartened.”