Tue, Feb 24, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Keane says Black Cats exit was down to owner Ellis Short


Roy Keane blamed a deteriorating relationship with Sunderland owner Ellis Short for his decision to quit as manager of the Premier League club in December.

Short took a controlling 30 percent stake in the club in September and Keane said he felt the American businessman had a low opinion of him after reading his autobiography, in which the former Ireland captain admitted to deliberately injuring an opponent and verbally abusing his national team manager.

“I thought, hmm, the dynamics are changing here,” Keane said in an interview with the Irish Times published on Sunday. “He said he had read my book. I felt he was thinking from the start that I wasn’t for him. He sort of knew this wasn’t going to be a long-term relationship.”

Keane said he asked his lawyer Michael Kennedy to negotiate his exit from the club after Short angered him by demanding to know where he had been three days after a 4-1 home loss to Bolton Wanderers left the team in the relegation zone.

Keane, though, admitted to ignoring Short’s attempts to call him before finally speaking to him a day later.

“It started with a demand to know where I had been the previous day, that he wanted me available at all times,” Keane said. “Then there were accusations about how often I came in, about moving my family up. And it was the tone.”

Keane was unrepentant over his departure a day later, on Dec. 4, and was also unyielding toward one of his former players who had a heart attack during a match.

Sunderland’s Clive Clarke was on loan at Leicester City when he collapsed at halftime in August 2007. His heart stopped for four minutes and he has not played since, but Keane was unsympathetic toward a player he rarely picked and who criticized his manager in a newspaper interview.

“The staff came in and said: ‘Clive Clarke has had a heart attack at Leicester.’ I said: ‘Is he OK? I’m shocked they found one — you could never tell by the way he plays,’” Keane said. “But Clive Clarke goes and does a piece in some newspaper telling the world that I have lost the dressing room. He wasn’t there. How does he know? Clown.”

The 37-year-old Keane said he still planned on returning to management despite his experience at having had to sign players he did not want.

“You’ll sign anybody who will play,” Keane said. “I would be giving contracts to players I didn’t rate that highly. I needed the bodies. You learn. Every manager does. There’s an image of me as being intolerant of anything different to what I would have done late in my career, but I rolled with things.”

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