Tottenham star fails to get the respect he deserves in football

Has Robbie Keane ’s long list of clubs embellished a great career?

After having the distinct displeasure of watching the Carling Nations Cup (AKA post season money spinner which failed to spin much money), it was good to get back to some competitive international football. The Republic of Ireland are in a surprisingly healthy position in group B, sitting joint top with Russia and Slovakia. While Giovanni Trappatoni’s exceedingly negative tactics have ensured that goals conceded have been kept to a minimum, Robbie Keane has been in fine form for his country of late – surely deserving of some praise and credit.

Watching Robbie hit his 50th and 51st international goals recently in Skopje made me appreciate just how much he has achieved for his country in 108 appearances. It also brought to mind the negative light many fans hold Keane in at club level, and made me wonder how the man has attracted so much vitriol throughout his career.

Could it be his goal scoring record? Is he simply not a good player? While I’ll be the first to admit that Keane doesn’t always get it right in front of goal, statistics don’t lie. Keane is the tenth highest goal scorer in the history of the premiership, with 123 club goals.

Not every goal has been pretty (as he’s proven twice in the last week or so for Ireland though, they all count) and I would argue he’s had a fair slice of luck attributed to that tally. However, Robbie Keane has never been short on confidence or tenacity. The reason he’s even been in the position to score most of the time is because he’s put himself there. His positional awareness is top class, and he has the foresight to get the shot off if he’s running down a blind alley, knowing a deflection or a spilled ball will eventually lead to more trouble for the defence he’s running at. A proven goal scorer on both international and club level, then.

Despite all his exploits both internationally and at club level, Keane still finds it hard to be taken seriously. Could it be that fans are sick of seeing Robbie change clubs? I certainly think this could have a hand to play in the situation. Over the past decade or so Keane has played for Wolves , Coventry, Inter Milan , Leeds United , Spurs, Liverpool , Spurs again, as well as loan spells at Celtic and West Ham. At some point I believe fans stopped caring when Robbie was moved on to yet another different club.

Spurs fans in particular have a lot to be thankful for as regards Robbie Keane. Not only is he their ninth top scorer of all time, but he was voted the fans player of the year for his first three years at the club and at one point captained the team. However, if there is an outcry from Tottenham fans about Keane’s current situation then I am yet to hear any of it.

The sense of loyalty fans would generally bestow upon a player who had served a club to this level simply doesn’t surround Keane. His six month holiday to Merseyside can’t have done him any favours in the fans eyes. His failure to re-establish a first team spot since has really pushed him out of the fans minds too, and I don’t think any of them would be heartbroken to see him leave this summer. After all, he’s left Spurs in one form or another three times now – can’t be that hard, can it?

I suppose one could argue that Keane’s best days are past him – though his recent international performances suggest otherwise. He still has a lot to offer, although bridges have been burned at his current club. A move to yet another club must surely be on the table. The question is, will his new fans be able to warm to him? Possibly. This could be his last chance to end a glittering career with dignity, though. Time to plaster on that fake smile again Robbie.

Read more of Kevin Kavanagh’s articles at This is Futbol