In recent weeks, tracking Villans on international duty has all been about Fabian Delph’s England national team breakthrough. However, Villa’s latest international star threatens to put the Villa midfielder in the shade.
No, we’re not talking about Jack Grealish who withdrew from international duty with the Ireland Under-21’s to hopefully finally sort out a new contract at Villa. Rather, we’re talking about the Villan who has been recently giving the club 110% every week…Roy Keane’s beard.
Roy Keane Beard Legacy
While Roy Keane has been causing stir with his recently released book, his beard has been seen training with the Irish national team displaying growth that is unrivaled in recent football history.
With winter fast approaching, judging by the picture below from an Irish training session this week, Keane certainly wasn’t going to need a scarf to keep his neck warm judging by the beard’s immense gravitas.
The Big Shave
But despite making a head start on winter, in news that rocked the international football community, Roy Keane’s beard decided to retire 24 hours before Ireland’s European Championship qualifier with Gibraltar.
In a walk out that’s up there with Martin O’Neill leaving Aston Villa mere days before a new season was going to kick off, conspiracy theories have started to arise.
Now Villa’s assistant boss, was Keane paying back O’Neill on behalf of Villa? As the beard’s absence now puts a serious question mark over Ireland’s ability to qualify for France in 2016.
With publicity to be done on his new best seller’s list book, did he decide to clean-up his PR act? As best-selling books by people who look like tramps in the clean-cut 21st Century are few and far between.
The Mortimer Learnings
Roy Keane’s beard was millimetres away from matching another great beard of international football – German international legend Paul Breitner. And it is Breitner that potentially offers the biggest clue to Keane’s beard calling it a day.
While a good beard is something to celebrate, it doesn’t guarantee success in the footballing world. The first player to discover its limitations was Villa’s Dennis Mortimer.
The most infamous of Villa captains was also known to rock a beard from time-to-time, but on the build-up to the most important game in Villa’s history he made a decision that many feel set up a victory for the English underdogs against the might of Bayern Munich, who were captained that evening in Rotterdam by Breitner.
A beard only harnesses its power if it is in fashion. With the 1970’s heralding the halcyon year’s of facial hair, Breitner made a costly miscalculation in Rotterdam. The 80’s brought in the age of the clean-shaven look, which the Bayern captain failed to grasp.
Mortimer knew this and made sure he was clean-shaven for the final. Breitner decision to play the game with his beard intact, typified German over confidence on the night.
The rest is history, but today it looks like it provided a cautionary tale for Roy Keane’s beard, that may trigger much needed success for both Ireland and Aston Villa. But will it also signal the end of the hipster beard for a generation?
A Venglos View is a satirical (and sometimes surreal) look at the Villa. Check out other Venglos Views here