So why exactly are we so bothered about Roy Keane getting kicked out to the Republic of Ireland World Cup Squad on a ScottishFitba site? For one thing, we appreciate good football. The World Cup allows us to watch the best players in the world testing themselves against each other and conjuring up magnificent football. Keane's acrimonious departure denies us the chance of seeing him in action. It also denies the joint SFA/FAI EURO2008 bid team from using his presence in the 2nd highest profile sporting event to back the bid. The feeding frenzy of journalists from all over the world are desperate for news or anything to write about. The various signs of friction in the Swedish, Irish, Cameroon etc team camps are right up their street as their editors will be demanding that they fill pages. Good news - bad news - they do not care, they just need something to write about.
TheEURO2008 team were planning that one of the 'somethings' should be the joint bid. The obvious links between the 2nd and 3rd largest sporting events in the world would have allowed all the key players in FIFA and UEFA to see the parallels at the one time. You can be sure that the majority of the key UEFA officials who will make the decisions regarding EURO2008 will be over in Japan/South Korea in June. Apparently, Keane had been signed up to do his bit for his country off the field as well as on. Now that he has returned home, no one wins. John Henderson, SFA project head of the EURO2008 bid said: "Keane and his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, have been lined up for weeks to conduct a platform press conference backing the bid in theFar East. They are key figureheads representing their countries in backing the bid. They were to be used to persuade UEFA to grant the tournament to Scotland and Ireland." No chance of enhancing to bid now. Thanks Roy!
Is there a way back for Keane? Not according to Mick McCarthy.He considers it a 'him or me' situation and the fact that the rest of the squad apparently cheered when told that Keane was to be sent home, suggests that the squad may be behind McCarthy.The FAI, however resorted to the usual statement of hope when their spokesman said: "This show is not over until the Fat Lady sings". FAI Chief Executive Brendan Menton has flown out to Japan to explore any chances of reconciliation. Casey said that would require a sincere apology on the part of Keane - and there is nosign of that yet.
Proud man needed to exert his authority
Keane was unrepentant when he was heading to the plane homesaying: "I feel very good and have a clear conscience. I am happy to be going home to see my family - it's good to be going home." When asked the obvious question about whether he had any regrets about leaving the Republic'sWorld Cup campaign, Keane replied: "No regrets. There are more important thingsthan the World Cup to worry about". Not a very ambiguous response. I cannot see Keane returning to the Irish fold. Not even the intervention of new re-elected Irish Prime Minister, Berti Ahern, a big Manchester Unitedfan and supporter of the EURO2008 bid, will manage to turn this one around.