Roy Keane's very unusual pre-match team talk revealed
One of Roy Keane's former team-mates and players has written a book about his life in football and Danny Higginbotham has revealed a lot about the Irish assistant's methods
Have you ever wondered what a Roy Keane team talk is like?
Then wonder no more as one of his former players has revealed all in a new book. Danny Higginbotham, who not only played under Keane at Sunderland but who also played with him briefly at Manchester United, has written about his life in football and Rise of the Underdog reveals some very interesting nuggets on Keano's managerial style.
Higginbotham was signed for Sunderland in August 2007 by Keane and the defender was impressed with Keane's attitude of openness and high standards.
However, when it came to motivating his team, Keane had some unusual methods. Ahead of a game against Aston Villa, when the team had been on a poor run of results, Keano's team talk pre-game was: “Listen lads. Basically, you’re shit. Try and enjoy the game. You’re probably going to get beat. But just enjoy being shit.”
Then he left the players to it. On that day the talk worked as Sunderland went on to take the lead before nabbing a vital draw.
Another tirade came on the day Sunderland secured their Premier League safety. The Black Cats lost to Bolton 2-0 but other results meant they were staying up. The players, understandably, were in good mood but Keane wasn't, according to this extract in the Independent.
“You’re the reason I’m driving up and down the f*****g country to find another player, you’re not f*****g good enough,” he yells at one player. “Your attitude is shit. You’re not good enough,” he bawls at others. “Next week we’ve got our last home game, against Arsenal. You know at the end of the season when you walk around the pitch, thank the fans for their support? I’m ringing Umbro and getting you some hooded jumpers, because you’re a f*****g embarrassment, it’s a joke and this is not going to stay this way.”
Higginbotham believes that Keane's hopes for the team were simply too high, and that like many great players, he struggled with players of lesser ability.