Blog: Forget the nonsense - Roy Keane is a real football man
Paul Brown on new No.2's first day in claret and blue.
2nd Jul 2014
Blog: Forget the nonsense - Roy Keane is a real football man


In spite of all the fanfare, Roy Keane is a football man, plain and simple.

Keane was unveiled at Bodymoor Heath on Wednesday as Villa's assistant manager to a plethora of press outlets, scrambling for videos, pictures and words from the new No.2.

The Man Utd legend was aware of the intense interest earlier in the day when he joked "how many people are in your media team?" after being greeted by the in-house communications department for his first, exclusive interview.

Keane showed all facets of his personality as he answered questions on the big move - charm, charisma, intensity, passion and desire.

But his ease in front of the camera - honed through his much-publicised work with ITV - betrayed a man who much prefers working with players than talking to press.

One comment stood out above the rest.

"I'll be glad when this nonsense is over" he said, with a wry smile.

He wasn't being rude, far from it, but it was an honest appraisal from a man who counts a "direct and open approach" as key to his make-up.

He enjoyed discussing the nuances of the move, the size of the club and his history as a player.

But his eyes really lit up when the start date - Monday July 7 - was brought up. It's that day he's relishing - being among the players and looking to make a big difference for Villa.

Asked whether he was excited about the challenge, he smiled and answered: "Yes absolutely. I am looking forward to it. It will be nice when this nonsense is out of the way and I can get hands-on with the players next Monday.

"I am meeting the staff on Thursday. I will be getting to know the training ground too.

"It will be nice to get on with the real work and getting the players fit and sharp for the first day of the season.

"Obviously for me over the next few weeks I'll be getting a feel for the group, what I think they need, what they don't need and trying to help the manager with whatever he needs me to do."

Once he gets to know the players, Keane will be eager to help the boss turn around the fortunes of the team, which finished 15th in the previous campaign.

The former Man Utd hero is clearly thrilled to be at Villa - and it was good to see him speak so passionately about the size and stature of the claret and blues.

But he's under no illusions that talking a good game doesn't get you very far.

He's clearly from the "don't tell me, show me" football school.

"Rome wasn't built in a day but I think we can help the players and we can hopefully improve on the team's performances over the last few years," he added.

"I just look forward to the future and, particularly for me, look forward to pre-season and getting to know the players, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses and hopefully bringing something to the party.

"Villa Park is a fabulous ground. I've always enjoyed the games when I've come down here to watch and when I've played here and I've managed here. Obviously it'll be slightly different now I'm working for Villa.

"But it's a brilliant stadium - and the club has top support. But we're here to get results.

"Having a good stadium and good support doesn't guarantee you results. We're well aware of that.

"It'll be hard work - working hard with the players - but with a little bit of luck, who knows?"

It's a challenge he's undoubtedly relishing.

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