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On this week in Town’s history: Fans vent their fury towards Roy Keane

PUBLISHED: 11:59 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:08 09 November 2020

Dark days: fans began to turn against Roy Keane in their numbers, during this week from 10 years ago. Picture: PAGEPIX

Dark days: fans began to turn against Roy Keane in their numbers, during this week from 10 years ago. Picture: PAGEPIX

WARREN PAGE 07976 935738

Football writer Carl Marston looks back on ‘This week in Town’s history’ from 10 years ago, and finds that the knives are finally out for Roy Keane

Under-achieving Tamas Priskin, who was actually playing well when Keane took him off against Barnsley, much to the anger of many Town fans. Picture: ANDY ABBOTTUnder-achieving Tamas Priskin, who was actually playing well when Keane took him off against Barnsley, much to the anger of many Town fans. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

For all Roy Keane’s failings, Ipswich Town supporters did not actually begin to turn against their high-profile manager until 18 months into his reign, during this same week from 10 years ago.

Town had actually propelled themselves into the Championship play-off zone the previous weekend, with an impressive 2-1 win at Bramall Lane, to accompany their progression into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup – such a position is the stuff of dreams for Town fans these days!

Yet a week is a long time in football, and this week back in 2010 was a case in point.

In fact, that’s just how I started my match report for Town’s 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Barnsley, on November 13, 2010, with the familiar phrase – ‘a week can be a very long time in football.’

Bansley celebrate their third goal, scored by Garry O'Connor, during their 3-1 win at Portman Road from 10 years ago this week.  Picture: ANDY ABBOTTBansley celebrate their third goal, scored by Garry O'Connor, during their 3-1 win at Portman Road from 10 years ago this week. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Troubled Barnsley, flirting with relegation at the other end of the table, were good value for the victory, the pressure lifting off manager Mark Robins’ shoulders and being dumped onto the shoulders of Keane instead.

The Tykes were 3-0 up inside 50 minutes, through goals by Goran Lovre and Garry O’Connor, sandwiching an own goal by keeper Maron Fulop, meaning that Tommy Smith’s 81st minute headed goal from Carlos Edwards’ corner was a mere consolation.

On the back of Monday’s edition of this newspaper, I asked the question: was this a ‘landmark day, or just another low point in a rollercoaster season?’

Well, with Keane eventually to leave Portman Road less than two months later, I would suggest that it was a ‘landmark day,’ especially as a large section of home fans had vented their anger towards the boss during the defeat to Barnsley.

Keeper Marton Fulop, who scored an own goal during Town's 3-1 defeat at home to Barnsley in November, 2010. Picture: PAKeeper Marton Fulop, who scored an own goal during Town's 3-1 defeat at home to Barnsley in November, 2010. Picture: PA

Also: A Week in Town’s history - Lisbie felt like a piece of meat and Keane’s men hit rock bottom

I always thought that the majority of Town fans showed remarkable restraint in criticising Keane, especially after his torrid first season (2009-10) which yielded no wins from their first 14 league fixtures.

Roy Keane's days are numbered, on this week 10 years ago. Picture: ALEX FAIRFULLRoy Keane's days are numbered, on this week 10 years ago. Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

It must be remembered that is was all happening to the backdrop of achieving one goal – promotion to the Premier League – hence the big cash made available to Keane by owner Marcus Evans.

The seeds of doubt, already sowed, began to really sprout during that home defeat to Barnsley. The players were booed off at half-time, and again at full-time.

I also recall the angry reaction when striker Tamas Priskin (who let’s be frank had a largely unsuccessful time at Portman Road!) was hauled off by Keane after an hour despite a rare man-of-the-match display.

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Priskin’s substitution was greeted by howls of derision from home supporters, a remarkable turn of events seeing as though the Hungarian had proved a big under-achiever since his £1.7million arrival from Watford the previous summer.

There was the familiar footballing chant of – ‘ ‘you don’t know what you’re doing!’ – which echoed around Portman Road following Priskin’s withdrawal.

Furthermore, there was also the bizarre scenario of some home fans, no doubt thoroughly fed up with their team’s woeful display, starting to cheer Barnsley players every time they completed a pass.

You know something is very wrong, when that starts to happen! Water off a duck’s back to Keane, of course, but still not a good sign.

In short, this week, 10 years ago, was when the anti-Keane voices began to be heard.

Naturally, the Irishman still had a lot of supporters on his side, and the pro-Keane camp still had some persuasive arguments:

For example:

1 Town were still just two points adrift of the Championship play-offs

2 The likes of Gareth McAuley, David Norris and Grant Leadbitter were all missing for the Barnsley match, all key players during Keane’s tenure

3 Town had a League Cup quarter-final against West Brom to look forward to, and so were just two steps away from a possible Wembley visit

And yet, the anti-Keane camp could reply with:

1 Performances had been uninspiring

2 Progress had been too slow over the last 18 months

3 Money had been spent, and wasted, on ineffective players

As we all now know, Keane’s days were indeed numbered.

His two-year contract was set to expire at the end of the season, but he never survived that long.


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