€34m means life is not so 'ruff' for Keano
Midfield legend is wealthier than Alex Ferguson
Published 30/04/2010 | 05:00
IT'S not just pedigree footballers that Roy Keane keeps on a tight leash.
A couple of frisky pups were subjected to his steely gaze yesterday after they refused to co-operate with photographers at the launch of a fundraising drive for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.
But the former Republic of Ireland midfielder quickly brought them under control.
A combination of cajoling, soft words and a firm grip on their leashes meant Verna and Tonie -- puppies who are currently under training -- turned to face the cameras.
The Ipswich Town boss was in Dublin to launch the Shades 2010 campaign, which aims to raise funds for the charity that has trained more than 100 guide dogs.
He was relaxed and in good form -- and no wonder. He has been named as the richest Irish football manager and the second wealthiest in the UK, with a fortune estimated by the Sunday Times at €34m (£30m).
The 38-year-old's wealth is derived largely from his playing days, which have been notably more successful than his time as a manager. So far this year Ipswich, have struggled in the lower reaches of the Championship.
He earned €2.3m (£2m) a year during his two-year stint at Sunderland but his earnings at Manchester United from 1993-2005 were much more.
After Keane, Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni comes fifth with a €20m (£18m) fortune. The third Irish manager to make the list, in 10th place, is Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill, who is worth €11.5m (£10m).
But despite his wealth, the Corkman hasn't forgotten his roots and yesterday said charities would struggle to fundraise because of the recession.
The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind needs €4m a year to run its services, 85pc of which comes from fundraising.
It costs €38,000 to breed, train and support a guide dog, and the public is asked to buy a €2 Shades pin when they go on sale next week.
"I enjoy doing it," said Roy. "It comes around very quick but I think it's going to be harder this year to raise money.
"People are stretched for a few bob but the work they (Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind) do is unbelieveable. People should call into the centres to see."
But charity wasn't the only thing he was keen to talk about yesterday.
Ipswich striker Connor Wickham, who qualifies to play for Ireland, will not make the switch, his manager says.
"The boy's English, I won't be trying (to convince him to play for Ireland), he's enough to be doing without me in his ear.
"We've had people like Jason McAteer and he's a scouser, isn't he, and he played for Ireland. I wouldn't hold it against him... Well, maybe sometimes."
And Roy admitted that he cannot relax.
"Management is 24/7, there's no getting away from it," he said. "Maybe I'm a control freak but when you're a manager the buck stops with you.
"Is it healthy? No, far from it. Ask my wife. At night, I'm thinking about stuff and what I need to do. But I do switch off, I like going to the pictures."
And the last film he saw was?
"'The Blindside' with Sandra Bullock -- very, very good, really enjoyable."
And who will win the premiership, Manchester United, or Chelsea?
"I've very little interest, none whatsoever," he said.
"With clubs I used play for, you always have an interest but I'm not waiting and hoping for them to win trophies.
"Both are capable of winning their games which means Chelsea would win it -- which means nothing to me."