Roy Maurice Keane (born 10 August 1971 in Mayfield, Cork City, Ireland) is an Irish former professional footballer and the current manager of English Premier League club Sunderland.
A dominating central-midfielder, Keane has been hailed as one of the greatest players to grace the game in the modern era. In a highly successful 17-year career, he played for Cobh Ramblers in Ireland, Nottingham Forest and, most notably, Manchester United (both in England), before ending his career with a brief spell at Celtic in Scotland.
Keane was noted for his aggressive style and highly-competitive style of play, an attitude which helped him excel as captain of Manchester United from 1997 until his departure in 2005. Keane helped United achieve a period of unprecedented success in more than 12 years at the club, during which he established himself as one of the greatest players in the club's history.
He played at international level for much of his career, representing the Republic of Ireland over a period of fourteen years, most of which he spent as captain. In the 1994 FIFA World Cup he played in every game although he was sent home from the 2002 World Cup after an argument with national coach Mick McCarthy.
During his first season as Sunderland manager, he took the club from twenty-third position in the Coca-Cola Championship to the top of the table. His side were promoted to the Premiership on April 29, 2007 and were confirmed as league champions a week later. Keane's arrival has been largely attributed as the catalyst for Sunderland's remarkable recovery.
Childhood and early career
Keane was born into a working class family in the Mayfield suburb of Cork. His father, Maurice, took work wherever he could find it due to the economic hardships of the time, which led to jobs at a local knitwear company and a Guinness factory, amongst others. His family were keen on sport, football especially, and many of his relatives had played for junior clubs in Cork, including the renowned Rockmount A.F.C. Before choosing football as his preferred sport, Keane took up boxing at the age of nine and trained for a number of years, winning all of his four bouts in the novice league. During this period he was developing as a much more promising footballer at Rockmount, and his potential was highlighted when he was voted Player of the Year in his first season.
Keane supported Celtic and Tottenham Hotspur as a child, citing Liam Brady (a former Arsenal player) as his favourite player, but as time progressed, Manchester United's Bryan Robson became the footballer he most admired due to the all-action, box-to-box style for which 'Captain Marvel' had become famous. These were qualities which Keane also had in abundance, and little did he know that he would eventually become Robson's long-term replacement at Old Trafford.
Despite his growing promise, a future career in football began to look uncertain. He was turned down from the Ireland schoolboys squad after a trial in Dublin; one explanation was that the fourteen-year-old Keane was "just too small" to make it at the required level. Undeterred, he began applying for trials with English clubs, but he was turned down by each one. As his childhood years passed, he took up temporary jobs involving manual work whilst waiting for a breakthrough in his football prospects. In 1989, he eventually signed for the semi-professional Irish club Cobh Ramblers after persuasion from Ramblers' youth team manager Eddie O'Rourke. Keane was one of two Ramblers representatives in the inaugural FAI/FAS scheme in Dublin, and it was through this initiative that he got his first taste of full-time training. His rapid progression into a promising footballer was reflected by the fact that he would regularly turn out for Ramblers' youth side as well as the actual first team, often playing twice in the same weekend as a result.
In the tough, physical world of the Irish First Division, Keane more than held his own against players much more experienced than himself, his dedication to training noticed by many. In an important FAI Youth Cup match against Belvedere Boys of Dublin, Keane's performance attracted the attention of a watching Nottingham Forest scout, who asked him to travel over to England for a trial. Keane impressed Forest manager Brian Clough and his staff, and eventually a deal for Keane worth £47,000 was struck with Cobh Ramblers in the summer of 1990.
Although delighted to have signed for a big club, Keane initially found life in Nottingham difficult due to the long periods away from his family, and he would often ask the club for a few days' home leave in order to return to Cork. Keane expressed his gratefulness at Clough's generosity when considering his requests, as it helped him get through the tough early days at the club. Keane's first games at Forest came in the Under-21s team during a pre-season tournament in Holland. In the final against Haarlem, he scored the winning penalty in a shootout to decide the competition, and soon he was climbing the ranks at the club and playing regularly for the reserve team. His professional league debut came against Liverpool at the start of the 1990-91 season, and the resulting performance encouraged Clough to use him more and more as the season progressed.
He eventually scored his first professional goal against Sheffield United, and by 1991 he was a regular starter in the side, displacing the England international Steve Hodge. Keane scored three goals during a run to the 1991 FA Cup final, which Forest ultimately lost to Tottenham Hotspur. In the third round, however, he made a costly error against Crystal Palace, gifting a goal to the opposition and costing his side a victory. On returning to the dressing room after the game, Clough punched Keane in the face in anger, knocking him to the floor. Despite this incident, Keane bore no hard feelings against his manager, later claiming that he sympathised with Clough due to the pressures of management. A year later, Keane returned to Wembley with Forest for the League Cup final, but again finished on the losing side as his future club Manchester United gained a 1-0 win.
Keane was beginning to attract attention from the top clubs in the Premier League, and in 1992, Blackburn Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish spoke to Keane about the possibility of a move to the Lancashire club at the end of the season. With Forest struggling in the league and looking increasingly more likely to be relegated, Keane negotiated a new contract with a relegation escape clause. The lengthy negotiations had been much talked about in public, not least by Brian Clough, who described Keane as a "greedy child" due to the high wages demanded by the Irishman. "Keane is the hottest prospect in football right now, but he is not going to bankrupt this club," Clough stated. Forest fans, however, forgave Keane by voting him the club's Player of the Season due to his battling performances towards the end of the campaign. Despite his best efforts, Keane could not save Forest from relegation, and the clause in his contract became activated. Blackburn agreed a £4 million fee for Keane, who soon after agreed a contract with the club.
There had also been speculation that Keane would sign for Arsenal, who were looking for a younger midfielder as eventual replacement for Paul Davis.
However, on the day before the paperwork was due to be signed, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson phoned Keane and asked whether he would like to join him instead of Blackburn. He was persuaded to cancel his agreement with Blackburn, and within two weeks he had signed for Manchester United for £3.75 million, a British transfer record at the time.
Despite the huge transfer fee, there was no guarantee that Keane would go straight into the first team. Bryan Robson and Paul Ince had established a formidable partnership in the centre of midfield, helping United to their first league title in twenty-six years the previous season. Robson, however, was now 36 years old and in the final few years of his playing career, and a series of injuries kept him out of action at the start of the 1993-94 season. Keane took full advantage of his run in the team, scoring twice on his home debut against Sheffield United in August and grabbing the winner in the Manchester derby three months later. He had soon established himself as a permanent fixture in Alex Ferguson's side, and by the end of the season he had won his first trophy as a professional as United retained their Premiership title in May. Two weeks later, Keane broke his Wembley losing streak by helping United to a 4-0 victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup final, sealing the club's first ever Double.
The following season was a disappointment, however, as United were beaten to the league title by Blackburn Rovers and beaten 1-0 in the FA Cup final by Everton. He received his first red card as a Manchester United player in an FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace after stamping on Gareth Southgate, and, as punishment, was suspended for three matches and fined £5,000. This incident was the first of eleven red cards Keane would accumulate in his United career, and one of the first signs of his violent temper leading to indiscipline on the field.
The summer of 1995 saw a period of change at United, with Ince leaving for Inter Milan as well as striker Mark Hughes moving to Chelsea and Andrei Kanchelskis being sold to Everton. Younger players such as David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes were brought into the team, which left Keane as the most experienced player in midfield. Despite a slow start to the 1995-96 campaign, United pegged back title challengers Newcastle, who had built a commanding twelve-point championship lead by Christmas, to secure another Premiership title. Keane's second Double in three years was confirmed with a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Liverpool to win the FA Cup for a record ninth time.
The next season saw Keane in and out of the side to a series of knee injuries and frequent suspensions. He picked up a costly yellow card in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Borussia Dortmund, which ruled him out of the return leg at Old Trafford. United lost both legs 1-0, but this was compensated by another league title a few days later.
After Eric Cantona's unexpected retirement, Keane took over as club captain, although he missed most of the 1997-98 season because of a cruciate ligament injury caused by an attempt to tackle Leeds United player Alf-Inge Håland which went horribly wrong for Keane. As Keane lay prone on the ground, Håland stood over Keane, accusing the injured United captain of having tried to hurt him and of feigning injury to escape punishment; an allegation which would lead to an infamous dispute between the two players four years later. Keane had been injured in the ninth game of the season, and did not return to competitive football that campaign. He watched from the sidelines as United squandered an eleven-point lead over Arsenal to miss out on the Premiership title. Many pundits cited Keane's absence as a crucial factor in the team's surrender of the league trophy. He initially expressed doubts as to whether he would play again due to the severity of his injury, but he recovered in time to begin pre-season training for the new campaign.
Any fears that Keane's injury may have reduced his effectiveness as a player were dispelled in the 1998-99 season, when he returned to captain the side to an unprecedented treble of the FA Premier League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League. One of his finest performances in this campaign was an inspirational display against Juventus in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final, when he helped haul his team back from two goals down to win 3–2, a game regarded around Europe as one of the best performances on a football field in the modern era of European football. He scored from a header to start United's comeback and continually drove the team forwards at every opportunity. His performance in Turin has been described as his finest hour as a footballer. Earlier in the match, however, Keane had received a yellow card that ruled him out of the final after a trip on Zinedine Zidane. In the final, United defeated Bayern Munich 2-1 at Nou Camp, but Keane had mixed emotions about the victory due to his suspension. Recalling his thoughts before the game, Keane said: "Although I was putting a brave face on it, this was just about the worst experience I'd had in football." Later that year, Keane scored the only goal in the finals of the Intercontinental Cup, as United defeated Palmeiras.
Contract negotiations dominated the landscape during the summer after the treble, with Keane turning down United's initial £2 million-a-year offer amid rumours of a move to Italy. His higher demands were eventually met midway through the 1999-00 season, committing him to United until 2004. Keane was angered when club officials explained an increase in season ticket prices was a result of his improved contract and asked for an apology from the club. Days after the contract was signed, Keane celebrated by scoring the winning goal against Valencia CF in the Champions League, although United's interest in the competition was ended by Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, partly due to an unfortunate Keane own-goal in the second leg. He was voted PFA Players' Player of the Year and Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year at the end of the season after leading United to their sixth Premiership title in eight years.
Keane caused controversy in December 2000, when he criticised sections of United supporters after the Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev at Old Trafford. He complained about the lack of vocal support given by some fans when Kiev were dominating the game, stating: "Away from home our fans are fantastic, I'd call them the hardcore fans. But at home they have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don't realise what's going on out on the pitch. I don't think some of the people who come to Old Trafford can spell 'football', never mind understand it." Keane's rant started a debate in England about the changing atmosphere in football grounds, and the term 'prawn sandwich brigade' is now part of the English football vocabulary.
He made headlines again in the 2001 Manchester Derby, a game in which Alf-Inge Håland played. Five minutes from the final whistle, he was sent off for a blatant knee-high foul on the Norwegian in what was seen by many as an act of revenge. He initially received a three game suspension and a £5,000 fine from the FA, but further punishment was to follow after the release of Keane's autobiography in August 2002, in which he stated that he intended "to hurt" Håland.
An admission that the tackle was in fact a premeditated assault, it left the FA with no choice but to charge Keane with bringing the game into disrepute. He was banned for a further five matches and fined £150,000 in the ensuing investigation. Despite widespread condemnation, he later maintained in his autobiography that he had no regrets about the incident: "My attitude was, fuck him. What goes around comes around. He got his just rewards. He fucked me over and my attitude is an eye for an eye." Håland briefly considered taking legal action against Keane, but after both legal and medical advice he later decided otherwise. The Norwegian retired from football shortly afterwards, stating on his website that it was a recurring problem in his other leg that was causing him pain, rather than an injury resulting from Keane's tackle.
After another red card against Newcastle in September 2001, Keane considered retiring from the game, but was eventually persuaded otherwise by Ferguson. United finished the 2001-02 season trophyless for the first time in four years. Domestically, they were eliminated from the FA Cup by Middlesbrough in the fourth round and finished third in the Premiership, their lowest final position in the league since 1991. Progress was made in Europe, however, as United reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, their furthest advance since their successful campaign of 1999. They were eventually knocked out on away goals after a 3–3 aggregate draw with Bayer Leverkusen, despite Keane putting United 3–2 up, and after the defeat, Keane blamed United's loss of form on some of his team-mates' fixation with wealth, claiming that they had "forgot about the game, lost the hunger that got you the Rolex, the cars, the mansion." Earlier in the season, Keane had publicly advocated the breakup of the Treble-winning team as he believed the team-mates who had played in United's victorious 1999 Champions League final no longer had the motivation to work as hard.
In August 2002 he was fined £150,000 by Ferguson and suspended for three matches for elbowing Sunderland's Jason McAteer, and this was compounded by an added five-match suspension for the controversial comments about Håland. Keane used the break to undergo an operation on his hip, which had caused him to take painkillers for a year beforehand. Despite early fears that the injury was career-threatening, and suggestions of a future hip-replacement from his surgeon, he was back in the United team by December.
During his period of rest after the operation, Keane reflected on the cause of his frequent injuries and suspensions. He decided that the cause of these problems was his reckless challenges and angry outbursts which had increasingly blighted his career. As a result, he became more restrained on the field, and tended to avoid the disputes and confrontations with other players. Some observers felt that the "new" Roy Keane had become less influential in midfield as a consequence of the change in his style of play, possibly brought about by decreased mobility after his hip operation. However, after his return, Keane displayed the tenacity of old, leading the team to another league title in May 2003.
Throughout the 2000s, Keane maintained a healthy rivalry with Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira. The most notable incident between the two took place at Highbury in 2005 at the height of an extreme period of bad blood between United and Arsenal. Vieira was seen confronting United defender Gary Neville in the tunnel before the game over his fouling of Jose Antonio Reyes in the previous encounter between the two sides , prompting Keane to verbally confront the Arsenal captain.  The incident was broadcast live on Sky Sports, with Keane clearly heard imploring match referee Graham Poll to "Tell him [Vieira] to shut his fucking mouth!" After the game, which United won 4-2, Keane controversially criticised Viera's decision to play internationally for France instead of his birthplace of Senegal. However, Vieira later suggested that having walked out on his National team in the World Cup finals Keane was not in a good position to comment on such matters. Referee Poll later revealed that he should have sent off both players before the match had begun, though was under pressure not to do so 
Overall, Keane would lead United to 9 major honours, making him the most successful captain in the club's history. Keane scored his 50th goal for Manchester United on 5 February 2005 in a league game against Birmingham City. His appearance in the 2005 FA Cup final, which United lost to Arsenal in a penalty shootout, was his seventh such game, an all-time record in English football at the time. He was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004 in recognition of his undoubted impact on the English game, and became the only Irish player to be selected into the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest living footballers picked by Pelé.
Departure from Manchester United
Keane unexpectedly left Manchester United by mutual consent on 18 November 2005, during a protracted absence from the team due to an injury sustained in his last competitive game for the club, due to a robust challenge from Luis Garcia against Liverpool. His departure marked the climax of increasing tensions between Keane and the United management and players since the club's pre-season training camp in Portugal, when he argued with Ferguson over the quality of the set-up at the resort. Ferguson was angered further by Keane's admission during an MUTV phone-in that he would be "prepared to play elsewhere" after the expiration of his current contract with United at the end of the season.
Another of Keane's appearances on MUTV provoked more controversy, when, after a humiliating 4–1 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough in early November, he took the opportunity to criticise the performances of John O'Shea, Alan Smith, Kieran Richardson and Darren Fletcher. The harshest analysis, however, was reserved for the club's record signing Rio Ferdinand: "Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar." The outburst was deemed too damning by the United Management and was subsequently pulled from transmission by the club's TV station. Keane's opinions were described by those present at the interview as "explosive even by his standards".
Two weeks later, after another row with Ferguson, Keane reached an agreement with Manchester United allowing him to leave the club immediately in order to sign a long-term deal with another club. He was offered a testimonial in recognition of his twelve and a half years at Old Trafford, with both Ferguson and United Chief Executive David Gill wishing him well for the future. On 15 December 2005, Keane was announced as a Celtic player, the team he had supported as a child, after agreeing to a contract in the region of £40,000 per week.
It was later revealed by United that Keane's testimonial would take place at Old Trafford on 9 May 2006 between United and Celtic. The home side won the game 1-0, with Keane playing the first half for Celtic and the second half in his former role as Manchester United captain. The capacity crowd of 69,591 remains the largest crowd ever for a testimonial match in England.. All of the revenue generated from the match was given to Keane's favourite charity, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
Keane's Celtic career began in ignominious fashion in January 2006, when the Glasgow giants crashed to a 2-1 defeat to lowly Clyde in the third round of the Scottish Cup. His abrasive style had clearly not dwindled since his arrival, as he was seen giving angry criticism to some of his new team-mates during the match. Keane scored what turned out to be his only Celtic goal a month later in a 2-1 Scottish Premier League victory over Falkirk. He retained his place the following Sunday in his first Old Firm derby, leading Celtic to victory in a typically combative Man of the Match performance. Celtic went on to complete a double of the Scottish Premier League title and Scottish League Cup, his last honour as a player.
On 12 June 2006, Keane announced his retirement from professional football on medical advice, only six months after joining Celtic. His announcement prompted glowing praise from many of his former colleagues and managers, not least from Alex Ferguson, who opined: "Over the years when they start picking the best teams of all time, he will be in there." Although many fans chose to applaud Keane for his superb achievements, some argued that his highly aggressive style of play and frequent encounters with controversy have diminished his status as a great footballer.
When called up for his first game at international level, an Under-21s match against Turkey in 1991, Keane took an immediate dislike to the organisation and preparation surrounding the Irish team, later describing the set-up as "a bit of a joke." He would continue to hold this view throughout the remainder of his time spent with the national team, which led to numerous confrontations with the Irish management. Keane declared his unavailability to travel with the Irish squad to Algeria, but was surprised when manager Jack Charlton told him that he would never play for Ireland again if he refused to join up with his compatriots. Despite this threat, Keane chose to stay at home on the insistence of Forest manager Brian Clough, and was pleased when a year later he was called up to the Irish squad for a friendly at Lansdowne Road. After more appearances, he grew to disapprove of Charlton's style of football, which relied less on the players' skill and more on continuous pressing and direct play. Tensions between the two men peaked during a pre-season tournament in the United States, when Charlton berated Keane for returning home late after a drinking session with Steve Staunton.
Keane was included in Ireland's squad for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA and played in every game, including a famous 1-0 victory over tournament favourites and eventual finalists, Italy. Despite a second-round exit at the hands of Holland, the tournament was considered a success for the Irish team, and Keane was named the best player of Ireland's campaign. Keane, however, was reluctant to join the post-tournament celebrations, later claiming that, as far as he was concerned, Ireland's World Cup was a disappointment: "There was nothing to celebrate. We achieved little."
Keane missed crucial matches during the France 1998 qualification matches due to a severe knee injury, but came back to captain the team to within a whisker of qualifying for Euro 2000, losing to Turkey in a play-off. Ireland secured qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup under new manager Mick McCarthy, greatly assisted by a number of match-winning performances from Keane. In the process of qualification, Ireland went undefeated, both home and away, against international football heavyweights Portugal and the Netherlands, famously beating the latter 1-0 at Lansdowne Road.
The Saipan incident
The Football Association of Ireland selected the Pacific island of Saipan as the training base for Ireland's World Cup campaign. During the course of the first training session, Keane expressed serious misgivings about the adequacy of the training facilities and the standard of preparation for the Irish team. He was angered by the late arrival of the squad's training equipment, which had disrupted the first training session on a pitch that he described as "like a car park". This was made all the more frustrating by the fact that Mick McCarthy had promised Keane that he would eradicate the lacklustre and unprofessional approach to training that had personified the Jack Charlton era. After a row with goalkeeping coach Packie Bonner and Alan Kelly on the second day of training, Keane announced that he wished to return home to Manchester due to his dissatisfaction with Ireland's preparation. McCarthy approached Keane and asked him to return to the training camp, and Keane was eventually persuaded to stay until the end of the tournament.
Despite a temporary cooling of tensions in the Irish camp after Keane's change of heart, things soon took a turn for the worse. Keane gave an interview to leading sports journalist Tom Humphries, of the Irish Times newspaper, where he expressed his unhappiness with the facilities in Saipan and listed the events and concerns which had led him to leave the team temporarily. McCarthy took offence at Keane's interview and decided to confront Keane over the article in front of the entire squad and coaching staff. Keane refused to relent, saying that he had told the newspaper what he considered to be the truth and that the Irish fans deserved to know what was going on inside the camp. He then unleashed a stinging verbal tirade against McCarthy: “Mick, you're a liar... you're a fucking wanker. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a fucking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your bollocks.” . Niall Quinn observed in his autobiography that “Roy Keane's 10-minute oration [against Mick McCarthy, above] ... was clinical, fierce, earth-shattering to the person on the end of it and it ultimately caused a huge controversy in Irish society.”  None of Keane's team-mates voiced support for him during the meeting, although some supported him in private afterwards. Veterans Niall Quinn and Steve Staunton backed McCarthy in a press conference after the event. It was here that McCarthy announced that he had dismissed Keane from the squad and sent him home.
Recall to the squad under Brian Kerr
Mick McCarthy resigned as Ireland manager in November 2002 after defeats to Russia and Switzerland in qualification for Euro 2004. The possibility of Keane returning to the squad for future qualifiers was raised, as Keane had not yet fully retired from international football, insisting that McCarthy's presence was the main incentive for staying away from the Irish squad. McCarthy's replacement, Brian Kerr, discussed with Keane the possibility of a recall, and in April 2004 he was brought back into the Irish team to face Romania. Keane was not reinstated as captain, however, as Kerr decided to keep the armband with Kenny Cunningham. After the team's failure to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he announced his retirement from international football in order to help prolong his club career.
During his time at Celtic, Keane was suggested as a potential managerial successor to Gordon Strachan by former Celtic player Charlie Nicholas. However, it was Championship club Sunderland where Keane chose to launch his managerial career, re-uniting him with the club's chairman and outgoing manager, Niall Quinn. The two men, publicly at least, were on opposing sides during the fall-out from the Saipan incident, but they were on good terms at the time of the managerial appointment, with Quinn urging Sunderland fans to "support and enjoy one of football’s true greats".
Keane signed a three year deal immediately after Sunderland's victory over West Bromwich Albion on 28 August, the Mackem's first win of the 2006-07 season after a dreadful run of four consecutive defeats under Quinn's temporary management. With his new club sitting in the relegation zone already, Keane chose to enforce changes quickly. His first actions as manager were deciding to keep the existing assistant manager, Bobby Saxton, and to appoint his former Nottingham Forest colleague Tony Loughlan as head coach. He wasted no time in bringing in new additions to the squad, with a total of six players signing on the final day of the August transfer window. The most notable signings were Keane's former Manchester United team-mates Dwight Yorke and Liam Miller, supported by former Celtic colleagues Ross Wallace and Stanislav Varga, as well as Wigan Athletic pair Graham Kavanagh and David Connolly.
Keane's first two games as manager could not have gone much better; first coming from behind to beat Derby County 2-1, followed by an easy 3-0 victory over Leeds United. Sunderland began to steadily creep up the league standings under Keane's management, and by the turn of the year they had escaped the bottom half of the league. Five further players were signed during the January 2007 transfer window, three (Anthony Stokes, Carlos Edwards and Stern John) on permanent contracts and two (Jonny Evans and Danny Simpson) on loan from Manchester United, Keane's old club. Results continued to improve, and Keane was rewarded with both February and March's "Manager of the Month" award, whilst his team began to challenge for the automatic promotion places at the very top of the table.
Keane tackled the players non-professional approach with a firm hand. When three players were late for the team coach to a trip to Barnsley in March, he simply left them behind.
Sunderland secured promotion to the Premier League along with Birmingham City on April 29 when rivals Derby County were beaten by Crystal Palace. A week later, the Coca-Cola Championship title was sealed, and the Mackem's remarkable revival under Keane was complete. His achievements also earned him the Championship "Manager of the Year" award. A sign of Keane's bigger ambitions was shown by his decision not to celebrate promotion with an open-top bus parade through the city.
Unfortunately Sunderland have not had the best of luck in the Premier League and are involved in a fight to stay in the Division. The lowest point of the season coming at Goodison Park, where they were heavily defeated 7-1 by Everton, which Keane described as 'one of the lowest points' of his career.
Keane has reiterated his displeasure with the attitude and selection policy of the FAI. In March 2007 Keane claimed that several Republic of Ireland players get picked solely based on their media exposure. Keane claimed that Sunderland player Liam Miller was not picked because he was from Cork and that players with significant potential were failing to get picked for the national team. He also alleged that the FAI were incompetent in the running of their affairs.
"Once you keep playing them on the reputation they've built up through the media or because they do lots of interviews, then it's wrong. "There's a fine line between loyalty and stupidity."
His former manager Sir Alex Ferguson had previously said that he wanted Keane to succeed him as Manchester United coach when he retired. However, in the wake of Keane's acrimonious departure from the club, Ferguson became evasive regarding Keane's prospects as a manager: "Young managers come along and people say this one will be England manager or boss of this club, but two years later they're not there. It's not an easy environment to come into, I wouldn't forecast anything."
Keane is married to Theresa Doyle, and they have five children: Shannon, Caragh, Aidan, Leah and Alanna. The couple met when she was a dentists assistant and he was playing for Nottingham Forest in 1992. They married in Mayfield, Cork in 1997.
When Keane moved to Manchester United, the family lived in a modern four-bedroom house in Bowdon, then moved to a mock Tudor mansion in Hale. It was not as private as he had hoped, a point proven during his exclusion from the 2002 World Cup. Often seen walking Triggs (his Labrador dog), Keane was then a regular at the Bleeding Wolf pub, and was found there by reporters on the night of David Beckham's wedding. When asked why he hadn't gone, Keane joked: "It was a choice between the wedding and the Wolf - and the Wolf won."
Wanting more privacy, his family had a 1930s home bulldozed so they could build a new £2.5 million house near Hale. Keane now lives in the Durham area, near Sunderland, having stated his intentions to move to the region as a signal of his commitment to his managerial duties at the club.
The comedy musical I, Keano was co-written by Father Ted writer Arthur Mathews, Michael Nugent and Paul Woodfull. It tells the story of the Saipan Incident at the 2002 World Cup, in which Keane was sent home by Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, in the form of a mock-epic melodrama about an ancient Roman legion preparing for war.
The musical's characters include Keano (Roy Keane), General Macartacus (Mick McCarthy), Fergi the Hairdryer God (Alex Ferguson), Quinness (Niall Quinn), Packie Bonnerus (Packie Bonner), Army (Paul Armstrong), and tap-dancing wood nymph Dunphia (Eamon Dunphy, the Irish broadcaster who, at the time of the Saipan Incident, led the pro-Roy Keane front, and later was the ghostwriter for Keane's explosive autobiography).
I, Keano opened in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin in February 2005, featuring the cream of Irish comedy performers, and directed by the respected Irish playwright and director, Peter Sheridan (brother of Jim Sheridan). It made its UK debut at The Lowry in February 2006. It started its third year of performances in January 2007.
The comedy verse monologues The Roykeaneiad Parts 1 and 2 were written by the Irish born playwright, Colin Teevan. They are spoken by an Irish drunk, bitter about Keane's actions in the Saipan Incident. Teevan explores the parallels in story between Keane's confrontation and that of King Agamemnon and Achilles before the walls of Troy in the Aeneid. This vivid narration of Keane plays with comic fire as it delves into the absurd extremes of male anger and its dangerous consequences.
In 2005 the veteran Royal Shakespeare Company actor Greg Hicks performed The Roykeaneiad at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of a series of monologues by Teevan called Missing Persons - Four Tragedies and Roy Keane.
On his album Maladjusted, singer Morrissey alludes to Keane on the song, "Roy's Keen". The song is ostensibly about an enthusiastic window cleaner, but includes lyrics such as "Climbing the ladder/Into each corner" - possible footballing terms. Morrissey has previosuly admitted to being a Man Utd. fan.
Keane is often impersonated in the Gift Grub segment of the Ian Dempsey breakfast show on Today FM Ireland by Mario Rosenstock, who has also played Keane in the comedy musical I, Keano.
During the Saipan Incident, numerous T-shirts were printed in Keane's native Cork city, showing Keane as a local hero, and national inspiration. T-shirts were also printed describing similarities with another Irish leader of a previous era,Michael Collins, and a sense of betrayal felt by Keane's supporters by other Irish people.
Roy Keane's biography is still available on the shelves of a majority of large Irish bookstores.
References to Keane's uncompromising attitude are also frequently made on media discussions concerning authority and incompetence in Irish life.