Fans should be prepared for the next few days because they are about to receive a media blitz following the release of former Manchester United captain Roy Keane’s new book, Roy Keane: The Second Half. The international break is upon us and news stories are normally hard to come by during this time. But Keane has provided fodder for sports pundits and daily publications.
The current Aston Villa assistant has unveiled more details of the fallout that led to his departure from Old Trafford, dust-ups with teammates; as well as other extremely candid admissions from the time during his early career.
One particularly chilling confession in his latest autobiography details the thoughts he had regarding the heart attack suffered by Sunderland defender Clive Clarke during a loan spell at Leicester City in 2007, which Keane hoped would divert attention from a 3-0 defeat to Luton.
“I had an evil thought,” Keane said. “‘I’m glad he had it tonight,’ because it would deflect from our woeful performance.”
Today, Mark Ogden wrote a fantastic piece for the British newspaper, The Telegraph. In it, Ogden questions why Keane seems intent on projecting the darker side of his personality to the public, as opposed to showing the better side of himself.
Of course, cynics will automatically answer that question by saying, “Because Keane is an a–hole” and other degrading comments. But as Ogden points out in his article, the former Republic of Ireland captain has gone out of his way to do many positive things that have not been touted by the media – or the man himself.
So why does Keane choose to portray himself in such a negative way? The reason is that he simply doesn’t need public approval. Keane is comfortable with the decisions he has made and with the thoughts that govern his mind; and he understands the ramifications that come with his actions.
In a world where celebrities and athletes seek constant attention and desire positive reinforcement from fans; Keane lives his life, works at his profession and calls things the way he sees it. And that is very different from the way most popular figures allow their lives to be viewed by the public.
Sports and popular culture are very calculated. For the most part, when an interview is given we all know what is going to be said. It’s called “being politically correct”. And it’s nauseating.
Whether it comes from a politician, a movie star or an athlete; answers are rarely honest because there is a tremendous fear of public disapproval. Publicity firms earn their money by making their clients “marketable” to a wide audience. Politicians get more votes when they appeal to a broader base. Sports clubs and players become more commercially successful if their players are identifiable to a global market.
That’s why when a scandal is uncovered involving an individual in the public eye, we are taken by surprise. Because all the public has been fed is what they ‘want’ to hear about athletes or celebrities by their individual publicity machines.
Keane chooses to say exactly what he thinks, as dark and as callous as it may be to the person who hears it. Because the truth is, his life is unaffected by people outside of his immediate family. The way he lives isn’t governed by public opinion.
He doesn’t possess an official Twitter or Facebook account or seek constant affirmation by means of other social media platforms like most celebrities do.
The 43-year-old lives with his wife, Theresa, with whom he has raised five children. It’s understood that Keane lives a simple life, taking long walks with his dog and spending time with his wife and family; he also possesses a circle of friends who he has known for the better part of 30 years. He has been able to compartmentalize his life so that his playing, managing and television careers have not effected what truly matters most to him – his life and his family.
Whether or not anyone agrees with his thoughts and/or actions makes little difference in the Irishman’s life. And people should welcome the fact that Keane hides nothing from them.
Like it or not, what you see is what you get with Roy Keane. He doesn’t need our approval.
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