Roy Keane has rejected the opportunity to become the next Sunderland manager.
That’s according to a claim made by Michael Walker, with The Athletic journalist revealing in a post on Twitter that, despite his heavy links with a move to the Black Cats, the 50-year-old will not become Lee Johnson’s successor at the club.
In his tweet, Walker said: “It appears Roy Keane is no longer part of Sunderland’s search for a new manager.”
While it is true that Keane’s last management role came at Ipswich Town more than 11 years ago, considering the former Manchester United midfielder’s history with Sunderland, the news that the club look to have missed out on the appointment of the 50-year-old who podcaster Richard Mennear claimed would be a “major coup” is sure to have left fans devastated.
Indeed, during his first spell on Wearside from 2006-2008, Keane led the Black Cats to the Championship title in his first season in charge, before securing Premier League survival relatively comfortably in the subsequent campaign with a 15th place finish in the top flight.
However, after a shaky – but not unsalvagable – start to the 2008/09 season, with the Mackems having won four, drawn three and lost eight of their opening 15 league fixtures, Keane offered then-chairman Niall Quinn his resignation, which the former Sunderland centre-forward reluctantly accepted.
Following his departure, Quinn said of the 50-year-old: “He had put a lot of effort in here, brought more than just his presence here – he brought a way of thinking into this place. He was instrumental in developing a winning mentality – that was the toughest thing of all for him to come and do when we were at the foot of the Championship. He brought standards to this club which are amazing. But to do that, it’s intense.”
And, with Sunderland’s current promotion push falling off a cliff – with the Black Cats having won just one of their last seven League One fixtures, a run of results that also includes four defeats – Quinn’s description of Keane would very much appear to be exactly the type of manager the club require in order to get them back on track this season – leading us to believe that the Irishman’s return to the Stadium of Light would have been a fantastic appointment for the Mackems.