Cast your mind back to April of this year when the Irishman was unveiled as Ipswich manager. He has this to say:
‘I am convinced the players will enjoy working with me. I have simple demands, be on time for training and give 100% then you will be fine. If they don’t, it will be a very brief relationship.’
Fast forward a couple of months to August Keane is certainly true to his word.
‘One or two players who played at the weekend will not play for me
again. I have told them that.’
Having only taken 1 point from 4 games, the Tractor Boys lay one place off bottom of the Championship table. Promotion dreams dashed, and replaced with a harsh dose of reality. With only six days remaining before the close of the transfer window Keane will be expecting a change of fortune in the coming weeks if the Suffolk side are to live up to their expectations of promotion.
Speaking after this weekend’s 2-0 defeat to West Brom Keane confessed: ‘It’s going to be a very, very tough few weeks in front of us’.
‘We aren’t going to be challenging the top two teams in the division that for sure.
‘But our target remains pretty much the same – which means keeping a close watch on the 5th and 6th places in the table with the play-off’s in mind’
The players in question that look set to fall victim of Keane’s early-season cull are Owen Garvan, £400,000 signing, Alan Quinn, along with club captain Gareth McAuley. Garvan, 21, has worked his way through the ranks was replaced at half-time in the weekend defeat to West Brom. He was along with Quinn was left out of last night’s 2-1 defeat to Peterborough in the Carling Cup, with McAuley being left on the bench again.
Republic of Ireland international Alex Bruce looks set to be named as the new Ipswich captain, after he was given the captain’s armband in favour of dropped McAuley. Ipswich have already lost promising goalkeeper Shane Supple, who last week retired citing that he had fallen out of love with the game.
Now I for one am not a big fan of Keane because of his attitude to the game. When the going gets tough he just walks away. And looking back on previous events with Ireland (Saipan), Manchester United and Sunderland my point is proven.
Speaking in Monday’s Irish Sun former Irish international Tony Cascarino has been critical of his former team mate:
‘A team should be a reflection of their manager and right now, Ipswich are not a reflection of Keane.’
‘It will be interesting to see how they do next week against Prestion because this is a new experience for Keane. It is the next stage for him as a manager, as up to now he has been used to success.’
Further proving my point Cascarino hits the nail on head: ‘Keane has never done failure, and if Ipswich are fighting a relegation battle this season I would not be surprised to see him walk away.’
Then again Keane may prove us all wrong, when he took charge of Sunderland in August 2006, they lay second from bottom in the Championship. Keane made an instant impact guiding them straight to the top, and winning the Championship title, so maybe he is just keeping us in suspense.
All should become clear in the next six games which see the Tractor Boys face Preston, Middlesbrough, Notts Forest, Doncaster and Newcastle. If they don’t start racking up some wins, along with points soon they could end up in danger of missing out on promotion.
While it’s too early to be talking about promotion and relegation after 4 games, it looks clear who the front runners are: Newcastle, Middlesbrough, West Brom and Cardiff.
This promises to be a tight season in the Championship, and unfortunately it looks like Keane’s side haven’t got what it takes to cut it, despite what I may have said in my previous post on the Tractor Boys.
Keane will be gone by October if things don’t change, he couldn’t hack it as a player, and he won’t hack it as a manager either, not in the Premier League anyway.
Perhaps his should stick to walking his dog?