Wednesday 26 November 2014

If Roy's life is a game of two halves, the first half was far more interesting

John Spain Books Editor

Published 18/01/2014 | 02:30

Roddy Doyle and Roy Keane

Booker-winning author Roddy Doyle and football hard man Roy Keane -- it could be a publishing marriage made in heaven or hell, depending on how things turn out.

First of all, as well as being one of the best-selling Irish authors of all time, Roddy is a big football fan. That's a positive, because he knows the game inside out and he won't be asking Roy any stupid questions.

But there's a problem. Roddy Doyle was never a Manchester United admirer, even in the glory days when Keane was the leader.

In fact, Roddy is a life-long supporter of Chelsea. He travels regularly to see them playing and must be really enjoying this season.

Despite this, it is possible they may get along, because they are similar characters. Both men are noted for being very determined and forthright and they don't suffer fools.

They will certainly need to gel quickly because with publication of 'The Second Half' due in September, there's no time to waste.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the book will be whether Roy will use it to get a few crunching tackles in on his old manager and mentor, Alex Ferguson.

Beyond that, it's hard to see where 'The Second Half' is going to generate much heat.

If Keane's life is a game of two halves, the first half was by far the more interesting and all of that, including Saipan, was covered in the autobiography he did with Eamon Dunphy.

That was an outstanding book and Roddy Doyle will be hard pushed to better it.

Since then, there has been Roy's up-and-down managerial career and now there is his new Ireland role.

But it's missing the drama -- and it's far too early for Roy to be writing a book called 'The Second Half'.

The publishers, as always, are being tight-lipped about the money in this deal. Usually a ghost writer for a sports icon with a profile as big as Roy's would get a flat fee, probably a large five-figure sum.

It is possible that Roddy and his manager John Sutton (who did not return calls yesterday) are not aware of how much Roy is getting from the publisher.

Doing a book like this is a calculated risk for someone of Roddy Doyle's stature. He is, after all, a Booker winner, and Booker winners do not usually act as ghost writers.

But despite his stature, Roddy's recent novels have not been big sellers, so the sizeable fee involved with this book may be welcome.

Overall, in spite of potential yellow cards, 'The Second Half' is likely to be a bestseller, not just in Ireland but in the much more lucrative British market.

It should make premier league amounts of money for everyone involved.

There is one little difficulty up ahead, however. This autumn also will see the publication of the autobiography of another sports God (or BOD), one Brian O'Driscoll.

So it will be the roundy ball versus the oval ball. Who will come out on top in the Christmas books market will be as fascinating to watch as any game played by either of them.

Irish Independent

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