Genre: non-fiction, sport
Setting: Ireland, Saipan
Full title Red Mist: Roy Keane and the Football Civil war. A fan’s story
ISBN: 0747570140 See also: LibraryThing ; Roy’s stats from Man U ; Guardian article written during Saipan ; Divided opinion from Irish fans ; Reuter’s article on Roy’s return ; Review of the book from the Sunday Post ; Google search one Roy Keane and Saipan ; Profile of Mick McCarthy from soccerage.com ; The big fight Online fro p45 :)
For those of you who are not Irish, or not football fans (soccer) the Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy saga might be unheard of. If you are a football fan then you should know, and if you’re Irish then the events in Saipan must have been discussed with various people.
Of course we don’t really know what happened in Asia in 2002, but that doesn’t really matter, we still took sides and either defended McCarthy or blamed him.
Personally I was on Roy’s side.
I’ve never been a Man U fan, but I’m not an ABU either. I’d watch their matches without much interest, only bothered by how Roy and Denis were playing (back when Irwin was the greatest defender). I always admired Keane as a player, and thought he was bar the greatest Irish player, apart from Paul McGrath of course. I couldn’t really understand those who gave out. I knew he was great, he knew he was great, the team knew he was great. And maybe that is where the problem started.
I never liked Mick McCarthy as a manager, I tried to give him time. I admired the way he introduced new players and changed the style of the Irish team. Now we actually tried to play football instead of ‘puttin’em under pressure.’ And yet there was something I didn’t like, he didn’t seem like a manager. And so when the rumours of the arguments between Roy and Mick started I came down with Roy, look at all he had achieved with Man U after all. I felt bad for Mick McCarthy, I remembered him as Capt. Fantastic, not a manager who seemed unable to see that the choices he was making were wrong. Sticking with players out of loyalty can be a good tactic, if they play well and reward your loyalty. A lot of those Mick stuck with didn’t.
And then there was the booing of Roy by a section of the Irish fans. And the constant carping whenever he missed a friendly, not to mention the huge deal made out of him missing Niall Quinn’s testimonial. No not a huge quinny fan either, the big ladle :)
Everyone knew what Roy was like; hot-tempered, aggressive. But those were part of what made him such a great player. He dominates the pitch when he plays, he believes that Ireland can win matches. And that seems to have been his crime. He felt that 1-1 draws just weren’t good enough. He was right, he still is. Football is about winning.
Did I celebrate when we drew those matches in the World Cup, sure I did, but I did feel that if Roy was there we could have one. Even without him we should have. I mean Saudi Arabia?? no offence like but we should be capable of beating them.
That oft-quoted line of Roy’s used to mock him “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” (or something like that) well it’s true isn’t it? I mean every kid gets told that before their Jnr. Cert and their Leaving Cert. If you don’t put some effort in there is very little chance of you getting any reward.
Why should Roy, or any of the professional players have expected a rock-hard pitch, no balls and drinking sessions?
Hmm, non of this is talking about the book is it?
Well it a pro-Roy pov, and from a Liverpool fan! So maybe that is why I enjoyed it. Written by O’Callaghan who is maybe better known for poetry than sport it isn’t really about the ins and outs of what happened in Saipan, rather it is about what happened at home in Ireland. About the arguments between friends, and even between strangers. He describes an incident with a butcher for example. Even after the event in December while purchasing a football shirt for his son he tells of an incident in a sports shop. Asking for Keane and the number six for the shirt the assistant laughs but doesn’t speak. When O’Callaghan presses him he gets told
“I can’t talk about it. Company policy.”
“It’s company policy that staff don’t engage in conversation with customers about Roy and Mick and Saipan?”
“Got it in one.”
“Too many rows, mate, far too many rows in the shop”
After an accident along the Longford-Westmeath border a garda comes to investigate
“You were at the rally in Baileborough.” (Garda)
“That’s right.” (driver)
“You had words with the brother.”
“And you stormed off.”
“Touch of the Roy Keanes.”
The way he says it pisses me (O’Callaghan) off. He has given it a rhetorical smirk, and pitched his voice to be audible to the rest of us. We have waited a full half-hour and this is the best he can do.
“I think that’s beside the point, Garda.”
“I beg your pardon.”
He is not used to contradiction.
“I don’t think this is the time or place to make cheap cracks about Roy Keane.”
We are up and running all over again. Predictably, the officer of the law is against questioning authority in any shape or form. Keane strikes him as an especially insidious instance.”
Of course now that Roy has announced he is available for selection once more the row has started up again. I’ve been buying more papers, wondering what every ones else’s reaction are. Personally I’m delighted that Roy is back.