Friday 13 December 2019

O'Neill speaks truth on pointlessness of Keane-Ferguson feud

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during squad training
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during squad training

Diarmuid Lyng

Finally some sense on the issue of Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson. It's been discussed at length. Over the breadth of the country. Though, noticeably, the opinions are often lacking in depth.

Comment feeds carry the notion of a jaded readership. Still reading nevertheless.

Ferguson wasn't always the ruler. Doubtless, always in control. But not necessarily the authoritarian that ended Roy Keane's career at Manchester United. There was always a warrior in the earlier Ferguson. With the necessary wisdom of a sage. Something changed over time, like a dictator swept up in paranoia. The carer left.

Keane wasn't without his changes either, and his share of responsibility. Keane was always the warrior. The destructive aspect of his character was cultivated, harnessed into pure drive and determination. A lonely road.

But he became the ruler too. No club is big enough for two rulers. Even Manchester United.

Unfortunately, the characters continued to play their roles long after the curtain had come down. They tried to move on.

But in reality they were both clinging to the glory days. When they were both in their pomp. Before they both descended into the shadow side of their characters.

Sometimes it takes someone to come in and tell them the play is over. I haven't seen it called out as simply as Martin O'Neill did this week.

The Derryman cut to the chase. The self they cling to, to protect so incessantly in their battle of autobiographies, ironically, doesn't even exist without the presence of the other actor.

But the show is over. Ferguson can return to his more natural role as the sage. The seeker in Keane may still be strong, and the warrior seems destined to shape the post-Ferguson version too.

The sage in Keane should take O'Neill's advice. No guarantees there though.

Irish Independent

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