Keane's Autobiography is a great read. Whether that is down to the journalistic skill of the ghost writer, Eamon Dunphy, or simply that Keane has a great story to tell, is not clear. Either way I felt somewhat mesmerised by his footballing life and I can only hope there is a volume two to come. Keane's story oozes with painful contradictory pulses; between the desire for fame and the desire for privacy, between the cravings to play beautiful football and the need quite often to deliver brute force, between the temptation to play the playboy and the desire for a quiet family life, and of course, between the demands of team discipline and the urges of individual spontaneity.

All of the above interweave themselves throughout Keane's life creating an almost Shakespearean character whose flaws seem inevitably to drag our protagonist down. Keane is aware of his flaws but doesn't always have the resources to rise above them. That is probably what endears him to the footballing public; he is human and fallible and he is not afraid to admit it. You cannot but hope that he makes a success of his , managerial efforts but you wouldn't want to bet too much money on a blemish free career. That just wouldn't be Roy Keane.

One aspect of his autobiography that I found particularly poignant was his denunciations of agents and all they represent. In typical blunt style Keane lays it on the line. An unsettled player, especially one who was coveted by other clubs, was a potential source of income for his agent. One of the things that unsettled footballers was the transfer rumour mill, which-fed by agents-provided copy for the Sunday newspapers. In this speculative game footballers were pawns, bemused by newspapers seeking stories and agents intent on making money. P78 Keane continues, Agents took substantial amounts of footballers new wealth. In other ways, too, agents could unsettle players, whether it was tempting them to make unsuitable but lucrative (for the agents) moves, or hawking rumours of imminent transfers to newspapers to up the ante in negotiations with your own club. The middle-men were always at it, in some form or another.P133

Another aspect of Keane's story that impressed me greatly was his frank admissions about the down side of fame. Keane confesses, I found it very difficult to cope with the kind of fame that accompanied my status as a footballer. Keane then revealed that in his early days at Old Trafford,  I couldn't hack small talk and glad handling, or casual invasion of my space, I actually ached for company at times.P104 Of course, you don't need to be a famous footballer or famous anything to feel the friction between your social world and your need for a private life but obviously this particular dilemma is infinitely more pronounced for those that are permanently in the public eye. As Keane quickly learnt, fame came with a price tag. P42

Footballing autobiographies are invariably bland but this one definitely is not one of those. Like his football his autobiography has attitude and that alone makes it a riveting read. Good luck with the tractor boys Roy.

End 3/06/09 JPK

Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 May 2018 15:14 )