'Who goes home at 12 o'clock?' – Roy Keane on the legendary Irish nights out under Jack Charlton
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has said that the current management team tries their best to alleviate boredom in camp, but it is a far cry from the wild nights of Jack Charlton's reign.
Keane admits that international week can difficult for the players – "I used to get quite bored" – and while Martin O'Neill's management team give players their own freedom, it is a far cry from Jack Charlton's days in charge of the boys in green.
Guide Dog Owner Kevin Kelly spoke to the Cork native to mark Irish Guide Dog Day on May 1st and he spoke candidly on a range of topics, including how the players would easily get around Charlton's instructions to be home early during international week.
"With Jack it was very much a drinking culture," the former Manchester United captain recalled. "Players would want to go out on a Sunday, with a game on a Wednesday.
"Jack would say alright 'I want ye back at the hotel for 12 o'clock'. I wouldn't be saying nothing, I'd be in the background thinking, '12 o'clock is no good'.
"Some of the senior players would say to Jack, and this was true, and remember we were professional footballers, '12 is an awkward time'.
"And it is, who comes home at 12 o'clock?
"So he says, 'Okay then, one o'clock'. They would go 'Jack, one o'clock isn't a great time either' because if you were out at one you were obviously in a club somewhere.
"So he says, 'Alright then, be back for two', but then we used to say if you are in a club you are not going to leave before two.
"Jack would eventually say , 'Lads, just be back in the morning before training'"
On his return to punditry with ITV, Keane admitted it was because he has more spare time on his hands.
"I'm trying to get my head around it," he said. "I don't even like the word pundit."
It is the opportunity to work within a team environment again that is the biggest draw.
"It's like a team. When I'm with ITV for example, if we are doing the game on a Tuesday night, we go over Monday night and go for a bite to eat. Scholesy, Lee Dixon, there's obviously people in the background, cameramen, producers and we have good craic.
"I do like that part of sport or any working environment I am in. I do like that team environment. That's the hard part when you stop playing football."
His relationship with Alex Ferguson also came under question, but Keane was philosophical on the fall-out.
“I fell out with Ferguson towards the end but I had 12 and a half great years working with him and I wouldn’t swap that for anything, it was brilliant. People will talk about disagreements and fallouts but you’re trying to win football matches and there’s a lot of pressure.
"I like people to have disagreements, that’s the nature of the game we’re in. So the fact that I have disagreements with Ferguson or ex-team mates, to me that’s the most natural thing in the world. I get worried if I don’t fall out with people every few months!” he joked.
A long-term Guide Dog ambassador, Keane joked that it is because he can't get out of the role.
“I got involved many years ago, thinking it might last one or two years, but I think the Guide Dogs are like the mafia, once you join it you can’t leave!
"Strangely enough people think I never played football that I’ve always just been involved with the Guide dogs. A lot of people talk to me about just that - I did play for a while you know."
Currently Irish Guide Dogs supports approximately 860 people all over Ireland and it offers all of its dog and rehabilitation services to people free of charge. Guide Dog Day is its biggest national campaign with collection points all over Ireland.
To support Guide Dog Day, text WOOF to 50300 to donate €4. (100% of text goes to Irish Guide Dogs across most network operators. Some operators apply VAT which means that a minimum of €3.25 will go to Irish Guide Dogs. Service provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 0766805278.)