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Martin O’Neill Urges Roy Keane And Sir Alex Ferguson To Make Peace

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MARTIN O’Neill has urged his Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane to make peace with Sir Alex Ferguson following the bitterness caused by their autobiographies. O’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.

“Manchester United have been incredibly successful and these men were two fundamental factors in this,” the former Celtic and Aston Villa manager said. “The manager’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.

“Roy Keane was a vital cog in that. If you were to ask Sir Alex Ferguson, I’d bet one of the top three or four signings he made would be Roy Keane. And he signed some very fine players. That’s how important Roy was to him.

The two of them were brilliant for each other over a number of years and I think that’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten over time. People can have their arguments and who am I to step into anyone else’s argument, who am I to intervene? I’m not [doing] that, but what I maintain is that the two of them were magnificent for each other and from an outsider’s viewpoint it’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.”

O’Neill had no problem with his assistant launching his controversial autobiography last month – “it gave the players something else to think about, apart from the Gibraltar game,” the Ireland manager said, “and they’re happy, because they all got a free copy” – although he admits he is glad Keane’s Tolkien-esque beard has gone. “We all thought the beard certainly at least needed trimming,” O’Neill said, smiling. “It was looking rather shabby but Roy decided to go back to his youthful best.”

So would O’Neill ever write an autobiography? “Why not? Everybody else seems to do one,” he said. And would his be the whole truth and nothing but the truth? “I think that if you’re writing an autobiography and you want to make it worthwhile, you should follow your heart on that one.”

Keane’s influence on the players has been everything O’Neill had hoped when he made his controversial selection 12 months ago. “As a player, he is held in great regard by these Irish players, obviously,” O’Neill told the Guardian and Fanbookz.com. “Most midfielders players would say Roy Keane would be their favourite midfield player and I’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.” – The Guardian

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