Anorak News | War Of The Words

War Of The Words

by | 19th, August 2002

‘SIR ALEX Ferguson, who ”sees nothing wrong” with Roy Keane’s autobiography, reckons that old Keno will ”make a top manager” when his leg-crushing days as a player are over.

Roy calmly dictates his biography to Dunphy

Presumably he shares Trevor Francis’s view of management. Francis is currently trying to rise above a farcical incident in which he hit his reserve goalkeeper, leaving him with a black eye and a sore nose (and when you’ve seen the size of Aleksandr Kolinko’s nose, you’ll know that’s nothing to be sneezed at).

Francis has already dismissed the incident as ”a clip round the ear” and ”a bit of fun”. Chairman Simon Jordan – who usually specialises in coining his own idiosyncratic phrases in situations like this – described it rather boringly as ”a storm in a teacup”.

He may well be right. Trouble is, others don’t see it that way. The police got involved straight away, alerting the fourth official (who sent Francis off) and then, in a bizarre twist, offering to act as ”mediators”. All of which goes to show how much energy is going into purging football of all its danger and smoothing down its rough edges.

This is what football types mean when they speak darkly of the ”current climate”. All of which makes the Roy Keane business increasingly bizarre.

How a man like Keane, who had already blown enough fuses to keep a team of electricians in business throughout the summer, was allowed to publish this book without Manchester United’s lawyers paying any attention to its contents is beyond belief.

But it slipped through the net and now we are being royally entertained, first by the revelations, and now by the frantic back-pedalling.

It seems that Eamonn Dunphy is preparing to take the can. This is amusing for many reasons. He made his name with his own groundbreaking warts-and-all account of his life as a footballer, which was admirable in its honesty and his readiness to take responsibility for his own opinions. Also, he wrote the thing himself.

Nowadays most players never even read their own ”autobiographies” which are usually ghost-written by sycophantic journalists who are expert in the use of euphemism and bland football-speak.

Given Keane’s character and Dunphy’s track record as a professional irritant, it is hardly surprising that this book has proved an explosive mix. But what are we to make of Dunphy’s attempts to take the rap for the Alf Inge Haaland section, in which Keane admits to setting out to injure his opponent?

Dunphy claims he used ”artistic license” and ”paraphrased” Keane’s own words. If he did indeed alter Keane’s meaning, then presumably Keane must have approved the manuscript. If he did so without bothering to read it first, then it’s his own fault. He had plenty of time to do so during the World Cup.

Keane has not claimed that the words were distorted. Dunphy claims that this is because he’s ”a man”: ”Fair play to him. No whingeing. No screaming. No ‘I didn’t say that; he made it up’.” Given that Keane is the biggest whinger on the planet when things don’t suit him, we can only conclude that Dunphy is simply trying to get Keane off the hook.

Keane, as he has shown many times before, doesn’t care if he’s on the hook or not. This ”**** the lot of you” attitude is his strength, but it could also prove to be his downfall. In this current climate he may find himself cutting his managerial teeth at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in the services of Lags Eleven.

Posted: 19th, August 2002 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink