Pounding Shearer to title digs: Roy Keane’s Newcastle past shows why he’s perfect for Sunderland


Manchester United legend Roy Keane could be set to return to management with Sunderland, and even before his move to the bench, it was clear the two were a match made in heaven.

Keane, of course, made his first managerial move with the Black Cats in 2006 and guided them back to the Premier League before leaving the club in 2008.

However, following the sacking of Lee Johnson this week, the former United captain appears fit to return to the Stadium of Light.

Keane reportedly had productive talks with Sunderland earlier this week and is now considering the offer they made him.

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If accepted, it would be the 50-year-old’s first managerial role since working as Martin O’Neill’s assistant at Nottingham Forest in 2019, while he himself was last manager at Ipswich in 2011.

Despite not ending on the best of terms, his first spell in charge of Sunderland was successful as he guided the club to Championship promotion.

And his actions as a player will no doubt ingratiate himself back into the support of the Black Cats, in particular his feelings towards Newcastle.

Keane first criticized bitter rivals Sunderland in 1996, when the Magpies squandered a 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League before United secured the title with a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough in the last Premier League day. the season.

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“We thought it was all over! No, we kept trying and we always knew Newcastle would fail,” Keane joked after United were confirmed as champions.

“Fortunately they did, and we kept trying and like I said, I think we definitely deserved it.”

And there was no love lost between Keane and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, as the pair came to blows when they met in September 2001.

With United losing 4-3 at St James’ Park, Keane saw red after lashing out at Shearer, later admitting his only regret was not landing his shot.

Roy Keane punches Alan Shearer during Manchester United's loss to Newcastle in 2001
Roy Keane punches Alan Shearer during Manchester United’s loss to Newcastle in 2001

“I lost my temper, we were down 4-3, I think, at the last minute,” Keane said.

“If they are going to expel you, the worst thing is that I pushed him. If you’re going to get kicked out, you better punch him because you’ll get the same punishment.

It doesn’t matter if they hang you for a sheep or a lamb. That’s what I was thinking afterwards. It was just a push. It was ridiculous.

Although the incident might have gotten him into some trouble – and Keane himself admitted he considered retiring afterwards – it won’t hurt if he wants to return to Sunderland.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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