While Aston Villa remains in limbo waiting for a new owner, it’s all about damage limitation in the interim at Villa Park. The club is desperately in need of a new direction that will not be afforded during the ‘for sale’ period under Randy Lerner.
While Paul Lambert survives as manager during this limbo period, not only is he unlikely to have much opportunity to invest in much-needed upgrades for the Villa squad, but he has to replace his backroom staff whom were fired at the end of the season. Surely Villa can only offer a temporary job or as ex-Spurs boss Tim Sherwood would put it a ‘supply teacher’ type position to any incoming assistant manager. Like Lambert’s own job, it could last a couple of months or years with the axe potentially coming as soon as the new owner comes to town.
Who would take such precarious terms though?
Why Roy is keen
Apparently Lambert and Villa had been chatting to Roy Keane about the assistant Ireland manager combining his international duties with a similar role at B6, since May. Lambert and Keane are said to be friends and the projected temporary interim nature of the post meant Keane could stay on at Ireland while working for Villa.
It’s hard to think that Keane would want to play second-fiddle to Lambert if it was a long-term position, but his ego would consider it a chance to get involved again in the Premier League, which if it went well would rejuvenate his reputation for future number one jobs, after his stock dropped after being fired by Ipswich back in January 2011.
Keane has so far failed to impress as a manager; prior to Ipswich there was an unspectacular spell as the boss of Sunderland, which he resigned from towards the end of 2008.
If Villa might help reboot Keane’s managerial career, what’s in it for the club?
Villa’s short-term fix?
I’m sure the board would think they have a ‘name’ to impress Villa supporters. I for one, wouldn’t be doing cartwheels if Keane came to the club as their manager, but in what is an awkward time for the players and fans, his strong character could perhaps add some much-needed buoyancy to the club in an assistant capacity.
Keane’s record as a player commands respect and his no-nonsense approach would be welcome in focusing a few minds at the club, as he’s sure not to take any prisoners.
In the short-term, it might work. Keane would see it as a risk-free added bonus, if he also carried on his current job with the Irish national team. At worst, if it went pear-shaped or a new owner came in swiftly and didn’t fancy him, he’d still be in the same position as he was beforehand.
Long-term, it could certainly become an issue, as Keane is never going to allow himself to settle in as Lambert’s number two. But a new owner is probably going to make that academic anyway.
With Gordon Cowans not looking too likely to step up to the plate (he hasn’t really shown an appetite for first team management) it makes sense for Villa to get a dynamic name with something to prove, whom has no long-term expectations for the job, rather than the kind of journey man figure who is happy for a temporary paycheck.
Maybe Keane has one eye on the top job at Villa, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. As a few Villa fans have already pointed out, at least Keane knows how to win at Villa Park. As a player, he’s probably been on the winning side at Villa Park more times than some of the current Villa squad! UTV