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Vincent Hogan: Shiny Big Bertha can end Roy's torture -- and ours

Suppose there was a way of nudging the country towards recovery, the Christian thing would be to do it, right? That's what I figured.

So, today, I'm buying Roy Keane a Big Bertha. I know, I know; golf's not his thing. But maybe that's the problem. He needs a little Pringle in his life. He needs bubble shafts, broomhandles, a few windcheaters and -- above all -- a decent ball retriever. He needs an hour reading Bob Rotella.

Trust me, Triggs will approve.

It'll be good for Roy to get the therapeutic feel of fixing divots. We're talking quality of life here. I mean how many times can a man reasonably pick through the video of another Ipswich Town scoreless draw without it turning him a little strange?

Ordinarily, the sound of someone getting stuff off their chest in East Anglia has all the global impact of an embarrassed cough in a church pew. But Roy, of course, is an exception. He dips into a press conference like it's Liberty City and he's cruising the streets in Grand Theft Auto. If you read the full transcript of what was said last Friday, mind, you'll know that there's a slightly dim individual somewhere in England today rather lucky to be breathing.

This chap's mobile rang while Roy was speaking. Now journalists tend to respond to this in a perfunctory manner. They toss the offending phone to the ground and kill it with a single, conclusive stamp of the heel. And they ask a colleague to look out for the wife and kids.

This one, though, didn't just want to open the cage door. He quite liked the idea of having his head in the mouth of the lion. Roy reckoned the same phone had rung twice now and suggested helpfully that he might turn it off.

"Well, I'll turn it off in a minute," was the response.

"Are you just going to let it ring?"

"Well, I thought I'd let it ring out."

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Now it strikes me that there's the spine of a Quentin Tarantino movie in this simple exchange. True, the bloodshed and gore won't be everyone's cup of tea. But, at least, there'll be nothing gratuitous about the violence.

In this instance, the victim will have gotten off lightly having his remains poured into the foundations of a silo.

But you have to wonder how much longer Roy can do this. You see, not much ever happens in Ipswich. Maybe the odd mayoral function if the team manages to score a goal but, otherwise, it's pretty much millpond dull. True, there's the Transport Museum and the annual Suffolk Show.

I don't doubt there's also basket-weaving and a few retail outlets for the Stannah stairlift. It's just you're Roy Keane, not the Vicar of Dibley.

And that's our problem, not merely his. Roy keeps getting asked about home because the local media understands the relationship between water and electricity. They have a choice, you see. Get him to discuss the angles Jonathan Stead runs or the perpetual heartbreak that is Irish football. What would you do?

So it's tough on the FAI. I mean, bad enough that they're a few million euro lighter because of that light-fingered Fagan in blue. Bad enough that the whole world seems unified in a belief that Stade de France should have been taped off last Wednesday night and preserved indefinitely as a crime scene.

But just when it seems like public opinion might actually be conciliatory towards them, trust Roy to pull an Uzi. So Friday's Liveline was instantly transported from a debate about Thierry Henry having his hand in the national pocket to one more angry sermon from Suffolk.

Suddenly, Paris was just small print. Ireland's eviction had -- ultimately -- been all about bad karma. "What goes around, comes around," as Roy put it.

This needle has been stuck a while but, remarkably, it still serenades an audience.

The dog in Roy sees the lamppost in the FAI. There follows a loud commotion. It's a grand old racket, a light entertainment phenomenon to match the primetime glow of Jedward. So we forget Duffer and Robbie, Shay Given and Richard Dunne. We start raking old coals. We return to that lost soldier in the jungle.

Well, here's First Thing Monday's plan. There's a Big Bertha in the post to Ipswich this morning with a copy of 'Your 15th Club -- The Inner Secret to Great Golf'. There's some nice photography of quilted greens and rippling pines. There's a DVD on positive thinking too. It's seven years old, but still making perfect sense.

Look Roy, we're miserable enough here without you always adding your tuppence to the debt. So get yourself a tee-time and start swinging. If you like, imagine John Delaney as the ball.

That way, you're sure to win a longest drive contest.


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