Friday 20 September 2019

David Connolly retires – and Roy Keane is probably happy

Former Sunderland player and manager had memorable run-in

Roy Keane described David Connolly as
Roy Keane described David Connolly as "strange, but a goal scorer in his book"

Declan Whooley

On the day that former Ireland international David Connolly announced his retirement, we relive a funny moment involving the striker during one of Roy Keane's most embarrassing moments in management.

The 37-year-old made over 400 senior club appearances during his career, with Watford, Wimbledon, Feyenoord, Leicester and Southampton among a host of clubs he played for, while he won 41 international caps.

"I pulled Neal (Ardley) aside for a heart-to-heart chat and I felt that now was the time to call it a day," Connolly told the Dons' official website.

"As time has gone on I felt that starting games was difficult and so too was travelling up and down the country to come off the bench for 10 minutes or so. Neal needed a striker that could play off (Adebayo) Akinfenwa and start games and that wasn't me.

Connolly featured in Roy Keane's autobiography The Second Half  last year when the current Republic of Ireland assistant manager and former team-mate of Connolly, relived an embarrassing moment during his first game in charge of Sunderland in 2006.

The Mackems were due to play Derby County in his first match and the Cork native gave an insight into his first team talk with the struggling squad.

"We'd done a bit of homework in the previous three days," he wrote. "It had been a bit mad – trying to move to Sunderland, trying to get players in before the deadline. I'd decided the night before that I'd focus on the Derby County goalkeeper.

"He was poor on crosses. But I went a bit long. Dave Connolly, who I had played with for Ireland – a funny ol' lad, a strange lad but he was a goalscorer so he could be as tricky as he liked – he had his hand up at the back.

"I kept going.

'Lads, the first few balls - nail him. He's weak on crosses. He's good with his feet – '

"I was keeping an eye on Dave. He still had his hand up.

'What is it Dave?'

"I was wondering did he want to go for a piss or something."

"He said 'Gaffer, you know the keeper-?'

"I went, 'Yeah.'"

"He was sold a week ago."

"Not injured – fu**in' sold, a week before. And I was supposed to be the big hero coming in to save the club, fans and flags everywhere, lifted onto their shoulders.

"That was my first team talk.

"So I went, 'Hey lads, it just goes to show you, you can't get the fu**in' scout reports.'"

Keane admitted that he was "embarrassed" but that it also helped to lighten the mood in the changing room after his high-profile arrival.

Online Editors

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