MARTIN Oâ€™Neill has urged his Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane to make peace with Sir Alex Ferguson following the bitterness caused by their autobiographies. Oâ€™Neill is reluctant to intervene in the row between the former Manchester United leaders but is adamant that in time perspective will enable them to appreciate the success they inspired in their era together as captain and manager at Old Trafford.
â€œManchester United have been incredibly successful and these men were two fundamental factors in this,â€ the former Celtic and Aston Villa manager said. â€œThe managerâ€™s obviously very important, having been able to oversee success for such a considerable amount of time. To stay at any football club for such a length of time is incredible; to stay at a club like Manchester United that was demanding then sustaining such success is even more so.
â€œRoy Keane was a vital cog in that. If you were to ask Sir Alex Ferguson, Iâ€™d bet one of the top three or four signings he made would be Roy Keane. And he signed some very fine players. Thatâ€™s how important Roy was to him.
The two of them were brilliant for each other over a number of years and I think thatâ€™s something that shouldnâ€™t be forgotten over time. People can have their arguments and who am I to step into anyone elseâ€™s argument, who am I to intervene? Iâ€™m not [doing] that, but what I maintain is that the two of them were magnificent for each other and from an outsiderâ€™s viewpoint itâ€™d be nice, if at some stage or another, they recognise that publicly. I know that deep down they know they were superb for each other.â€
Oâ€™Neill had no problem with his assistant launching his controversial autobiography last month â€“ â€œit gave the players something else to think about, apart from the Gibraltar game,â€ the Ireland manager said, â€œand theyâ€™re happy, because they all got a free copyâ€ â€“ although he admits he is glad Keaneâ€™s Tolkien-esque beard has gone. â€œWe all thought the beard certainly at least needed trimming,â€ Oâ€™Neill said, smiling. â€œIt was looking rather shabby but Roy decided to go back to his youthful best.â€
So would Oâ€™Neill ever write an autobiography? â€œWhy not? Everybody else seems to do one,â€ he said. And would his be the whole truth and nothing but the truth? â€œI think that if youâ€™re writing an autobiography and you want to make it worthwhile, you should follow your heart on that one.â€
Keaneâ€™s influence on the players has been everything Oâ€™Neill had hoped when he made his controversial selection 12 months ago. â€œAs a player, he is held in great regard by these Irish players, obviously,â€ Oâ€™Neill told the Guardian and Fanbookz.com. â€œMost midfielders players would say Roy Keane would be their favourite midfield player and Iâ€™d understand that. For our players, albeit only for a few days at a time, to come away and be working with someone they have admired greatly as a player.â€ – The Guardian