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Keane Out Of Order? Clough Easily Better Than Fergie

Like Mark Hughes, Roy Keane seems fairly keen to distance himself from Manchester United, following his departure from the club in 2005.

It was only a couple of weeks ago he was tipping Chelsea for the title, and now he’s claiming that Brian Clough was by far the best manager he ever had, in an interview which will no doubt sting Sir Alex Ferguson.

“I have to say he was an absolute genius,” Keane said of Clough. “I meet other players who played under him and we have all got our own stories, but he was a genius, an absolute genius, and certainly the best manager I played under, without a shadow of a doubt. I just feel very lucky, like other players who played under him, to have had that opportunity. He was a genius and he has still left his mark on the football club.”

I love Roy and I can’t imagine how any isolated incident would make me change my mind on him, but there is something very spiteful about these comments. They’re totally unnecessary and come across as a blatant dig on Sir Alex Ferguson.

There is no denying that Clough had a fabulous managerial career and whether Roy really rates him as ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ the best manager he ever had, he has to know how this will reflect on Fergie. They worked together for 13 years and had a great relationship.

Following Keane’s brilliant performance in the European Cup semi-final, when he knew he would miss out on the final but still put 100% in to everything, he earned the highest praise from the manager.

“It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field,” Ferguson said. “Pounding over every blade of grass, competing if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player.”

Roy has previously appologised for the way he behaved towards the end of his time at United, with a rant on MUTV leaving Fergie is a very difficult position. Whilst the boundaries between player and boss should always be clear, Keano had blurrier lines between the two than any player at United. To now turn around and not just name another man as a better manager, but to make out that Clough was head and shoulders better than Ferguson, is needlessly disrespectful.

What do you make of Keane’s comments?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Stephen says:

    I have been giving Keano the benefit of the doubt recently but this is a real slap in the face for Fergie, and there is no need for it.
    Fergie made Keane into the player he became, and stood by him when he bailed him out of prison, and with the Alf-Inge-Harland business, a little un grateful I think.

  2. tintedsepia says:

    Awwww! He’s just sore about not signing Johnny Evans. Ever since we sold Pique and it was clear we were going to keep Evans, he’s been sticking his oar in!

  3. dickson says:

    i’m quite puzzled over Keano’s behaviour of late. I can understand and respect his opinion that he may think Brian Clough is a better manager, but to do so in such a manner is shocking. There has got to be a line between stating your opinions and being diplomatic about it, after all he’s no longer a player who is free to voice his opinion but a manager. I’m guessing he can forget about calling SAF for a loan anytime soon.

    If Keano is so eager to put distance between us and himself….then seriously… legend or no legend… good riddance!

  4. Gapi says:

    It’s an opinion but it’s clear he’s still bitter. A few more of those and he can forget about signing more of our reserves.

  5. The Bear says:

    It must be remembered the circumstances in which Keane left Manchester United, he was basically booted out because he could no longer cut it. He now has some success and thinks he can have a go at SAF, well OK but lets not make a fool of our self Roy, proof of the pudding is in the eating, how many trophies has SAF won and how many Clough? NO CONTEST regardless of what you say. SAF has had a better team spirit, better results over a longer period of time. Why did Keane choose Manchester United if Clough was so great ? In closing if it was not for SAF I wonder if Keane would have won everything he did and have a career he did?

  6. Ole P. Pedersen says:

    Clough took Keane from absolutely nowhere. He was a record buy when he came to United, and that transformation was all down to Clough. Keane didn’t say which manager he won the most trophies with, but who he thought was the best. He favours the one who made him a player over the one who refined him – and in the end sacked him – as a player.

    As for signing reserves, seems Keane has shifted focus to signing our players’ brothers. Rhodri Giggs next?

  7. Matthew says:

    I think your reaction is completely over the top. I see Sir Alex as a very modest person so I don’t think he’ll mind one bit Roy’s opinion. I also think that Roy has the utmost respect for Sir Alex but who better to form an opinion on both managers than someone who has worked under both of them. Who are we to say he is wrong when we do not have his experience, he is entirely within is right to have this opinion. Sometimes it’s like I’m listening to bloody school children squabble honestly! I doubt Keane and Sir Alex have that level of immaturity.

  8. Craig Mc says:

    Keane is utterly OBSESSED with United, he NEVER stops talking about us.
    a. Ronaldo should go to Real M, because players are not shown any loyalty by clubs, why should they show loyalty.
    b. Chelsea will win the title this year not United.
    c. Berbatov should be driven out of Spurs to United.
    d. Clough better than Fergie at management.
    e. Said that he has great admiration for Liverpool’s team, club etc.
    f. Said Arsenal were great not to sell Adebayor.
    Keane supports every other top 4 team over us. He looks for every opportunity to talk about United, and to big up their opponents. He is feckin bitter because he will never manage the one club he wants above all else to manage, Manchester UNited. He knows it, eveyone else knows it. Fergie has a say in who is to follow him, and believe me it will not EVER be Keane.

  9. jimmybob says:

    Clough was a great manager but he was well past his best when keane played for him, if he thinks that he was the best manager beying a shadow of a doubt then thats his business the figures state otherwise.

    Keane is in danger of becoming another “in my day” bore a la tommy smith et al.

    Hasn’t he got business of his own to be worried about

  10. Red0rDed says:

    I can only echo the words of everybody else here. Roy has been p***ing me off for a while now. In fact, for the last two or three seasons he was at United he was inefectual and way too opinionated for the passenger he had became. Since going into management he has not stopped whittering on in praise of everybody other than United and Fergie. At the point he left Forest, his transfer fee was overinflated as Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn had bottomless pockets and were also looking to sign him. Only by being part of one Fergie’s legendary United sides did Roy Keen ever become a great player in his day, otherwise he wouldn’t have achieved jack-sh*t in the game beyond maybe one title-winners’ medal with a flash-in-the-pan Blackburn side. Though great at the time, all his exersions in our European Cup run clearly went to his head, along with Fergie’s words of praise because he has been dining out on them ever since. Cantona was the greatest player of the Fergie era, WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT. He could do with buttoning it because the man doth protest too much

  11. bmac says:

    No one can deny the achievement’s by Clough – in a different era, for a different club – less money, up against a relentless Liverpool team at their peak and so forth…. lets be realistic about that.

    However, Keane may be speaking the truth as he now understands what is required to be a manager and maybe he now understands the pressures placed on Fergie and Clough and has come to realise that Clough is better. Is he not entitled to his opinion?

    Regardless, I think that Keano is playing a bit of kidology here. Fergie has just had his second best season with a young team of brilliance and that team is yet to peak. The fact that Keane holds Fergie & UTD in awe would reflect badly on his team’s psyche. “if the boss thinks they’re class, then they must be class, then we can’t win”. I reckon Keane knows this and is only starting to turn this thinking around within his team – “Fergis isn’t as good as you all think – I should know I played for the best…., blah, blah, now go out there and beat ‘em”.

  12. aaron b says:

    cmon roy!! everyweek you!!!

  13. Red Dev 99 says:

    I agree with bmac, what sort of manager would he be if he had his head planted up Fergie’s ass all the time? He was a legend as a player at United, he has given the fans enough, his performance against Juventus alone was one that no United player has equalled since. We shouldn’t need constant reassurance from any former player. A true United fan would be grateful for what he has done in a United shirt and not disrepect him for giving his opinion for whatever motive.

  14. Tom F says:

    Keane has always been his own man and will always want to say things so people take notice. I wouldn’t say in a Ronaldo way but in an “I’m Roy Keane I’ll say what I want” way. Which is fair enough.

    I think Clough had a bigger impression on Roy Keane as he was younger and the times were different. Looking back at those times in his life must hold a lot of romantic nostalgia.

    At United, where he captained and held so much more responsibility, I suppose he never had the opportunity to soak it in as it was always about tomorrow not today or the past. He rates Fergie high I am sure, and everyone knows who is the most successful manager of the two.

  15. PeeJay says:

    I agree with whoever said that Keane wants to be his own man but he’s just coming off as a mug this way. Mr. Anti-Prawn Sandwich Brigade backed Gam£ 39 and, in my honest opinion, owes last year’s league position to money, much more than his ability as a manager.

    I think that the yellow card in the semi-final of ’99 changed him forever, I don’t really know why but I remember reading about his hanger in his autobiography at some of the players saying that after the Treble they didn’t mind if we didn’t win anything and his behaviour. For somebody as ambitious as him missing the final must have had a huge impact.

  16. Alan Hansen (true manc) says:

    How can we take Keano seriously since he slated kieron richardson when he was at united then signed him and told him he’d be his star at sunderland… fletcher, ronaldo have all come on since he went and fergie has gone on to more success without him…He’s just fucking bitter!!! he’ll be managing Liverpool next… telling us he’s supported them since he was a kid!

  17. Craig Mc says:

    I’m telling you all, Keane is spoiling for a fight. He is always having a go at United. I am one fan who didn’t like him at United. I lost respect over his crippling Alfe Hyland. Anybody who can do that, is a nasty bastard, who will stab Fergie and everyone who ever helped in the back. He only mentions us, doing us down, and building up the other top 3, because it brings him massive publicity. Otherwise he wouldn’t get a feckin mention with the back woods team he manages.

  18. Eddy says:

    I still love him but he is very, very bitter about his departure. Let’s not forget, he got the sack and , in his mind, Fergie turned on him.

    I actually think that this is the worst thing he has said since leaving. He is still obsessed with United – comments on Ronaldo, Berbatov, often critical of Fergie, and Gill too. He still hasn’t recovered from the very sour end to his OT legacy.

  19. virgopq says:

    It’s so obvious, Keano is still pissed off wz SAF for sacking him in favor of team unity, the same wz Beckham & RVN.

    All 3 of them had 2 things in common, ie., 1) at their peaks, they were eroding the team’s spirit thru their comments and/or actions abt the rest of team mates. They thought they were bigger than everyone else even bigger than the club itself! & 2). all 3 were told to leave or for some, sold off at cut price even when they were playin’ their best football!.

    Of the 3, Keano’s was the worst off. There was no club to sell him to. His playin career was coming to an end. The one person who had backed him up when it seems the whole world was against him had finally decided not to but instead was the one instrumental in gettin’ him off the team!. So, it’s obvious tt after a few years of building himself up in management, and wz a little success, Keano feels it’s time for some measure of pay back!.

    To me, Keano was great!. But Fergie is even greater!. Hwer, THE Greatest is Man Utd the club!, the many Legends tt hv played & given their lives, are still playin’ & wl continue to play for many many more years to come!.

    HAIL! . . ., MAN UTD!.

  20. Bob Koh says:

    My take on the recent quotes by Roy Keane is that he has gone over to the Darkside. Its incurable, so we should just let it be. For me I’ll continue supporting ManUtd and Sir Alex Ferguson to triumph over the other teams or doubters of ManUtd’s ways. It’s the most effective way to shut ‘em up. Glory, Glory ManUtd forever!
    My prediction for the next game: ManUtd 3 – Zenit St Petersburgh 1

  21. Gary says:

    Im sick of him having little digs at United. He may not have mentioned us in that quote but hes not fooling anyone, theres definitely a slight dig at Fergie there. Roy Keane was a fantastic player for United, great captain, born winner, but as a person hes a twat in all honesty. If he played for any club we hate this blokes guts and I am sick of his opinions on matters at United in all honesty. He has gone down the road of Paul Ince and become a big time charlie.

  22. Arsene wanker says:

    For me, Keano is a legend,but and that’s a big but, i simply cant understand his attitude towards the end of his carrer with us,completely disrespectful.

  23. Myles says:

    The sad thing about this is when Keano was first shown the door the fans chanted for him and not Fergie (which in itself pushed the boss closer to the Glazers). Nobody can ever forget what Roy did for this club, he’s arguably the greatest captain Man Utd ever had and that night in Turin will go down in the annals as how a leader should play. Forget David Beckham running around like a headless chicken against Greece against Juve we were dead, down and out, 2-0 down with the bulk of the match to play and Keane refused to let us die even when his own dream died. But that was the Keane of a decade ago, the Keane today has been twisted by bitterness.

    The tipping point for me was when he said this club had no loyalty and backed Ronaldo to do what he wanted. It was clear at that point that Keane had developed a skewered perspective on all things United. He’s become like one of those old soldiers who was a hero in their time and now they’ve been retired by the Army feels nothing but contempt for the forces for taking away their raison d’etre before they felt they were ready. I dont think Keano will ever get over the fact that United refused to offer him a new deal in that last season. All his career he’s been a man with something to prove and now it seems he’s hellbent on doing so to the powers that be at OT but if he carries on down this road he’ll ailenate even his most partizan supporters at the club and thats sad. Keano should be remembered as more than another mouthpiece against United. He was better than that.


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