Sunderland manager Roy Keane has revealed that he has a zero tolerance policy towards verbal abuse. The Black Cats boss announced his policy following comments from the Sunderland crowd during the Carling Cup tie against Northampton last night.
He said: “One or two supporters were abusing me and that is something I won’t tolerate. Our players were poor but so were the crowd. I heard enough of people complaining and I won’t tolerate them abusing me. Some people were targeting me but that’s something I’ve not come into the job to accept. You must understand that I appreciate criticism, constructive criticism which I’m clearly going to receive. Trust me, my biggest critic is myself and I got my team wrong against Northampton but, although I know abuse is part of football, it’s something I won’t tolerate.”
Is Keano a changed man? Has he seen the error of his ways? I reckon this is probably an excellent footballing example of you can give it out but you can’t take it. Perhaps over time he has come to realise that managers deserve at least a degree of civility. After all, they are only trying to do a job. Just ask Mick McCarthy – he knows all about the respect managers deserve (“That man can rot in hell for all I care,” or “Who do you think you are having meetings about me? You were a crap player and you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country and you’re not even Irish you English c***!”).
But the relationship with fans is equally important. Sunderland fans should not get personal with Keane, because Keane would never get personal with fans – zero tolerance, remember. (“Sometimes you wonder, do they understand the game of football? They have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don’t realise what’s going on out on the pitch.”)
Perhaps it is time for the FA to launch a Respect the Roy campaign. Or a Help The Hypocrite scheme.