Thursday 14 December 2017

Call from Rovers would sway Keane

Roy Keane would prefer Blackburn job but will go to Turkey to get back into management
Roy Keane would prefer Blackburn job but will go to Turkey to get back into management
Roy Keane and an official from the Kasimpasa club in Istanbul Airport
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

IF ROY Keane does agree to take over as manager of Kasimpasa, then he may have to expect an occasional tip on the shoulder from Turkey's prime minister.

His prospective employers are small fish compared to the traditional superpowers of Turkish football, but they do have friends in high places.

The country's premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, grew up in Kasimpasa, a residential area in Istanbul, and he is a fan of the local football club which has a long, if unsuccessful, history. To recognise his standing, the club's stadium is named in his honour.

Like Erdogan, Kasimpasa have ambitions of rising to the top, and their pursuit of Ireland's most famous football name is part of that mission.

With the backing of generous local businessmen, the newcomers to the Turkish Super League are trying to compete with the likes of Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas.

Now, they wish to secure a marquee name to support their grand vision.

Looking for a Premier League comparison?

Think QPR -- a relatively small club in a capital city that is benefiting from a fresh injection of cash with a view to attracting a higher calibre of individual to a modern location.

Their 15,000-capacity stadium is a modest abode compared to the homes of the aforementioned giants, but an ambitious recruitment policy upon their promotion to the top tier means they are competing on the pitch.

After the weekend's matches, the club that were playing in the fourth tier as recently as 2005 is in second place, one point behind Galatasaray.

But, like QPR, they also have a trigger-happy tendency. Metin Diyadin -- whose departure has opened the door for Keane -- was the eighth manager to pack his bags since 2007.


Keane is in Turkey to find out more about the people behind the club. He vowed not to jump into anything rashly after a souring experience at Ipswich, where his relationship with chief executive Simon Clegg was extremely poor.

A change of ownership ultimately led to his exit from his first post at Sunderland, and considering that a switch to Turkey would have implications for his family, he needs to be sure that he can trust the Kasimpasa officials.

Their vice-president excitedly announced on Sunday that they had reached an agreement with the 41-year-old, but that only extended as far as the Irishman deciding to suss out his potential new surroundings. There was a lot of talking to be done.

If Blackburn were to pick up the phone and ring Keane, then everything would change. For footballing and geographical reasons, the newly vacant post at Ewood Park would appeal, and Blackburn are aware of his interest.

They are at the right end of the Championship with a realistic chance of bouncing back to the top flight at the first attempt, similar to the situation Keane inherited at Sunderland.

He doesn't have a relationship with their owners Venky's, though, and there have been conflicting reports from the north west of England about Blackburn's strategy post-Steve Kean.

Former players Alan Shearer and Tim Sherwood are the bookies' favourites, while director of football Shebby Singh indicated yesterday that they have received multiple enquiries.

Considering that an international break is around the corner, Blackburn are in no rush to make a quick appointment.

Keane's preference would be to land a role in the Premier League or Championship, and that's why he is faced with a dilemma now that a suitable job has popped up in tandem with the Turkish offer.

Kasimpasa are making confident noises in local media about how discussions are going, but the decisive factor will be the vibes from England about Blackburn's next step.

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