Yes, as most of you would have heard yesterday, Roy Keane is back in football management, taking over at Ipswich and given the remit of getting Ipswich promoted to the Premier League in the duration of his 2-year contract (in essence, getting promoted next season).
And if you thought the expectations were high last time around, this time he’s got his own reputation to live up to – a memorable promotion campaign with Sunderland and Premier League survival in his first year in the Premier League.
He’s made mistakes – his candid nature ensures that he’s the first one to accept that promotion does not make you a success, winning major trophies does – but his short managerial career has been more about highs than lows.
Yes, he walked out on Sunderland after their new American investor wanted Keane to move away from Manchester – not because he wouldn’t move but on principle because he couldn’t accept interference in his work. But on par his career has been successful at Championship level and he will be expected to bring Ipswich back to the top tier of English football.
The Ipswich board will have been told in frank terms what Keane would and would not accept, and in return they will have impressed upon Keane their desire to invest in the team and back their manager to get the club promoted. The potential rewards of getting to the Premier League ensure that teams with money will invest big, but the board will have also talked to Keane about his transfer market record and the need to do a better job in that area next time around.
Can Keane take Ipswich to the Premier League? It’s a tall task ahead of him, but in purely managerial terms he has the ability to get a good team promoted, it’s up to him and the club management to ensure that he has a good team in his hands come next season.
One thing you can be assured of – even if Keane wins a second promotion in his second full Championship campaign, he won’t look upon it as success. Nothing less than winning the Premier League will do for a man with Keane’s ambitions, although whether he gets the opportunity to do so at a club with the money and players capable of doing so (and a board willing to back him and not interfere) is another story.