There was a logic to Roy Keane joining Aston Villa as Paul Lambert’s assistant manager in pre-season. It was a stop-gap appointment with the club up for sale – a new owner would come in and potentially also bring in a new management team.
Keane was short-term help to Lambert, who himself was still only in his job after a season of 38 points and a record 10 home game losses, due to the club being in limbo awaiting a new owner.
Alas though, Tom Fox came into town as the new Aston Villa CEO and seem to indicate in his first interview that Randy Lerner’s heart was back in the club and he was with Villa for the long haul again. This would have potentially altered Keane’s position, but you always got the feeling Keane was never going to make the end of the season at Villa.
In terms of the long-term picture, Randy Lerner must stop farting around
Irish Excuse Myth
The former Manchester United midfielder came to Villa with an in-built excuse to leave, one which he played this morning after informing Paul Lambert he was indeed off.
‘Ultimately, my roles with Villa and Ireland and combining my commitment to these have become too much,’ Keane said.
‘It isn’t fair to either Villa or Ireland, so I’ve made this decision.”
Well, considering Ireland don’t have a game until the 29th March 2015 (against Poland) you’d think the hard part in terms of juggling the jobs was done for Keane. With Villa approaching four key games – Burnley, Crystal Palace, Leicester and West Brom – that will no doubt determine Lambert’s future, his timing to leave is odd.
Stand by Your Man?
Keane doesn’t strike you as a quitter, so why would he leave Lambert in the lurch at a key period of the season?
Keane had said when he took the Villa job on that if Ireland lost three or four on the bounce he would quit Villa. It was a disrespectful comment to Villa that supporters on the whole let slide. There was no public proviso in place for if Villa went on a similar run. In fact, they managed an even worse run, losing six games on the trot. Should he have quit Ireland or even Villa, after that?
Keane’s six months will be ultimately regarded as a failure despite Lambert and Tom Fox putting a brave face on it. When Villa started off unbeaten in four, chalking up three wins in the process, Keane with his beard and his book was a welcome distraction for Villa supporters from the general woeful performances on the pitch. But as the results started to match the performances, Keane’s only contribution seemed to be making newspaper headlines during international breaks.
Resigning from his post at Villa is his biggest headline of the season so far and its timing is indeed strange. A day before the match against Burnley? You would have thought if he was struggling with balancing his two jobs, he would have timed it a lot neater and given the club notice and time to replace him.
The timing would support the rumour of a training bust-up with a player (Gabby) after the Southampton game, which would mirror to some extent what happened with the previous Villa assistant number two Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa who left last season after an inquiry into matters related to ‘bullying’.
The Latest Farce
To be honest though, it’s neither here or there in the scheme of things why Keane left, but most pressing concern is a solution must be found pronto to save a directionless club lumbering helplessly to the potential mire of relegation.
The starting point must be Lambert’s dismal, if he fails to get acceptable results in the next four games. In terms of the long-term picture, Randy Lerner must stop farting around. Is he now here for the long haul as Tom Fox suggested? Some communication would be nice.
Lambert always pulls out the go-to excuse in interviews of “everyone knows what’s been happening at the club”. The truth is nobody seems to know, even the people supposedly running it.
With or without Keane, this club is seriously starting to worry me.
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