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Roy sees only pain for Reds


Bayern Munich celebrate winning the title. Photo: AP/Markus Schreiber

Bayern Munich celebrate winning the title. Photo: AP/Markus Schreiber

Bayern Munich celebrate winning the title. Photo: AP/Markus Schreiber

ROY KEANE didn't bring his gown to UCC and he hasn't yet exercised his rights to graze cattle on the quad, but he seemed more than at home in the leafy acre which hosted Cork City's Patronage scheme announcement.

He brought the house down when he revealed that he shared a flight over with the grandmother of another controversial son of Cork, Stephen Ireland, but his main business of the day was to to show his support for a funding effort which will involve a drive to attract patrons among the business community and the general public.

Keane, returning to the Aula Maxima, the grand hall where he was conferred with a Doctorate of Laws four years ago, was pleased to assure everyone that a prodigal return for Ireland is not out of the question.

"He's only got a run of games going for Stoke but I certainly wouldn't be ruling anyone out," he said.

Keane funds a scholarship scheme for footballers in UCC and is clearly fiercely committed to helping develop the community closest to his heart.

"Going over to England suited my personality, but my heart does go out to some young players who go to England at 16 and maybe they got injured. It's a shock to the system. It's a big ask," Keane said.

As ever, Keane was happy to speak on a range of subjects but Manchester United was the subject closest to everyone's mind given events at Old Trafford.

"I watched the game the other night, it was tough going and it's tough going for United at the moment, they are getting a lot of criticism at the moment. It's not through lack of effort, they are certainly trying but they have lost a bit of confidence.

"They are human beings and they've been up against some very good teams in the last few months. It's not going to get it any easier and a bit more pain is to come against Bayern Munich."

Keane believes that the next few months will test supporters to the limit but he called on the corporate brigade to put down their prawn sandwiches and make some noise for the club.

"I've been saying for years that Manchester United have great support and we'll see that over the next few months. It's very easy to support a winning team.

"It's easy when you're in the stand or the fancy seats with your prawn sandwiches, but you have to support when it's tough going too.

"I'd say David Moyes can't believe how bad his luck is. In sport you need a few breaks and they are not getting any," added Keane.

"With the players, just because you've won a few trophies or cost a lot of money doesn't mean anything. Confidence is a big big part.

"We won't be able to fix United's problems with a conversation here.

"They need players defensively, there are players leaving and they are lacking a few leaders.

"There is no point in expecting certain players to lead when they're not that kind of character. There's a new manager, new staff and they went for players during the summer and didn't get them, which created a lot of negativity around the club."

Keane spoke briefly about his ongoing work for Martin O'Neill and he could hardly avoid a question or two about Stephen Ireland.

Keane also reiterated his desire to see the Ireland job through to its conclusion in two years time, despite a suggestion by Stan Collymore that the Corkman and O'Neill should be recruited immediately to take over at Nottingham Forest.

"There will always be speculation and I think I got linked with a job a few months ago and I've had opportunities to go abroad. But me and Martin have only been in the door two minutes with the senior team and we're enjoying it.

"It's a big, big challenge ahead and there is so much we have to do. Even the Serbia match, it was a learning curve for us in terms of preparation and boundaries with people, even the media and the FAI. It's a difficult draw, no doubt. Sometimes with this speculation you'd take it as a compliment."