Though there’s hardly a shortage of actual on-the-field soccer action over the past two days to consider —- from the surprisingly entertaining Galaxy v. former Metro Stars clash last night (which aside from producing 9 goals also had Clint Mathis claiming his club were worthy of drawing 60K plus “every week”) to this morning’s Manchester derby.
Typically, however, I’m gonna ignore all that and delve into what Sunderland manager Roy Keane (a loser yesterday at Wigan) considers the biggest danger facing the beautiful game : the scourge of Creeping Doug Christie-ism. From Simon Bird in Thursday’s Mirror.
Football tough guy Roy Keane has torn into the Wags for ruining the game by turning their men into “softies”.
The 36-year-old fumed: “Some players let their wives decide where they move. I think it is weak. Weak. You can see it with a couple of big players now. Clearly their wives and girlfriends are running things and that is a bad sign.
“When they go to a club just because it is in London, and the clubs are not even that big, it is obviously then down to the shops.”
“We talked to a player this summer who didn’t even ring us back because his wife wanted to move to London.
“Shopping was mentioned. It might astonish you but it’s true.”
He went on: “To me that is wrong. It is not a football move, it is a lifestyle move. Those are the type you don’t want at your club.
“I could name three or four big players now. Wives and girlfriends are running their lives because they are doing photoshoots and all that kind of stuff. They say they aren’t comfortable doing it. Well don’t do it.
“Obviously it is their partners doing it and they are being dragged along. And these so-called big stars are people we are supposed to be looking up to.”
“Greed will always be a part of the game and that will never change. This side of it, with the women running the show, concerns me and worries me.”
Though a Friday editorial in the Telegraph attempted to make a wider point from Keane’s rant (“The powerful centripetal pull towards the capital has long distorted the British economy. We would be far healthier economically and socially if we were not so bottom-heavy. The reason we are is that it is not only Wags who want to live, and shop, down south.”), the Guardian’s Paul Wilson submits, “Roy Keane is a refreshingly forthright voice in English football, but so was Ron Atkinson in his time, and neither could be said to have mastered the art of media manipulation…how has Sunderland profited from his foray into gender politics?”
The city has been rubbished all over again for lacking shops, culture and glamour. The football club has been rebranded as a north-east outpost of the French Foreign Legion, with Keane a particularly hard-bitten capitaine. Some players will readily sign up for a life of hard work and rigorous discipline, but for every Paul McShane – ‘You don’t say no when Roy Keane comes calling’ – there are plenty more who see a footballer’s life as an altogether cushier number.
Keane says he is not interested in the latter type of player, though as a manager he needs to explore options, not close them down. Management is about getting the best from people, not prejudging them. If Keane really thinks half the England team and quite a lot of the Premier League’s regular top four are wimps, he would be better keeping the opinion to himself, just like journalists do. Because quite clearly, some of these wimps can play.