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Thursday 27 October 2016

My Week: Roy Keane*

Elis O'Hanlon

Published 09/10/2016 | 02:30

Roy Keane had an exciting week. Photo: PA
Roy Keane had an exciting week. Photo: PA

Monday: Hard Brexit... soft Brexit… the Brits don't know what kind of Brexit to go for. I'll tell you what to do. Not those muppets in Leinster House. Not those chancers at the Tory party conference in England. Me, Keano. Go for hard Brexit, that's what you do. The harder the better.

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Why would you do something half-heartedly when you could do it like your life depended on it?

Get in there, take their legs out. The Brits'll be risking a red card alright, but they have to win the ball.

That's what I'm trying to tell the lads in training. Don't talk to me about the Georgians. When I was growing up, Georgia wasn't even a country. It was just some kip in the arsehole of nowhere that the Russians didn't know what to do with. They've got nothing on us.

It's not fractions and equations out there on the pitch for 90 minutes. Get stuck in. Do it to them before they do it to you. It's a simple game. When you get too fancy, show too much fear in the face of the opposition, that's when you start getting into trouble.

I said the same to Enda Kenny when he was negotiating the new programme for government. Did he listen? Did he b****cks. Look what good it did him.

Tuesday: Had a chat with Martin O'Neill this morning about how we can get Scott Hogan to declare for Ireland rather than England.

He's a good player, a proper goal scorer, but I can't believe we have to jump through hoops just to give the lad his first jersey. You'd think any young feller worth his salt would jump at the chance of not being English. Why would you want to stand there listening to that miserable dirge God Save the Queen before a match?

Even that w**ker Mick McCarthy wanted to be Irish. He was still English obviously. Proved it at Saipan when he wanted us to do what every English team's done since 1966 - turn up, make tits of ourselves, then go home with a nice tan.

But at least no one had to beg him to be Irish. Mick was happy to do it all by himself. I didn't rate him as a player, I didn't rate him as a manager, I didn't rate him as a person, but I'll give him that.

Apparently Hogan's worried that, with the Brits cracking down on foreigners, he wouldn't get back into the country after leaving because he'd be re-classified as an illegal immigrant.

I never have problems at passport control. One look from me and they wave me straight through. Especially when I had the beard. They thought I was head of Isis.

Reporters are still hanging round the training ground when I get there, wanting to know what I think of all the corruption in modern football. What planet have they been living on? Football's always been run by greedy corporate leeches stuffing themselves with prawn sandwiches in the director's box. Always will be. It's still the greatest game on the planet.

How do I know? Because I played it. Why would Roy Keane play the second greatest game in the world? Keano doesn't do second best. If I wanted to ponce around on the sidelines, not getting my hands dirty, not getting stuck in, I'd have joined People Before Profit.

Wednesday: I try to keep a straight face when asked if Gareth Southgate will make a good England manager.

I sat next to him for years on the ITV football panel. You'll not've seen it - and if you did, you're an idiot, because no one watches football on ITV - but I'll tell you something, he's not as stupid as he looks.

But he did try to break my leg once in a match, and I've always got time for someone who tries to put me into intensive care.

Southgate's not as nasty as me, mind. He wouldn't last five minutes in Cobh on a Friday night. They'd tear him to shreds. And that's just the women.

I spend the rest of the day putting the squad through their paces, though sometimes I ask myself why we bother. It'll finish 1-0. It always does. The only thing to be decided is whether it finishes 1-0 to us or them.

Thursday: Back at the Aviva. I love the Aviva. There's not an atmosphere anywhere like it when it's jointed. With the fans roaring, it's worth a goal in itself. Which is just as well, as one goal's all we ever score.

Seamus Coleman wins Man of the Match for bagging the only goal and also for being one of the few players on the pitch who isn't sh**e. I tell him not to get too pleased with himself. When I was at Man United, I used to win games single-handedly every week.

I'd say to the lads at half-time: "Beckham, you go model some pants with Posh, or whatever the b****cks you do... Giggsy, you go shag someone's missus... I'll win this game by myself."

Thank God it went our way, or Eamon Dunphy would be even more insufferable than he is already.

I'm told that he criticised the team selection. You've got to take criticism when you're a manager, I don't mind criticism, I can take it on the chin, like, but you're not telling me Dunphy knows how to pick a good team. The biggest decision he's ever had to make in his career is whether to have a double vodka or another line of Bolivian marching powder.

If we had to listen to that clown, we'd be playing Gilesy up front and Dunphy would be in the RTE studio telling everyone his mate was still better than Pele.

Friday: Des Cahill asks Sean O'Rourke on radio if he watched the match last night. Awkward pause, then O'Rourke admits he only dipped in and out. Says he was reading a book about politics instead, but he's fooling no one. He was gawking at Pat Kenny's new show on TV3, wasn't he?

There's no shame in checking out the competition. I spend all day watching old videos of Moldova in preparation for Sunday's qualifier. It's going to be 1-0 again. You know it. I know it. We've been through this crap enough times not to kid each other any more.

*As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon

Sunday Independent

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