The Second Half
Roy Keane, Roddy Doyle
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Memoir by one of the greatest of modern footballers, and former captain of Manchester United and Ireland, Roy Keane - co-written in a unique collaboration with Man Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle.
In an eighteen-year playing career for Cobh Ramblers, Nottingham Forest (under Brian Clough), Manchester United (under Sir Alex Ferguson) and Celtic, Roy Keane dominated every midfield he led to glory. Aggressive and highly competitive, his attitude helped him to excel as captain of Manchester United from 1997 until his departure in 2005. Playing at an international level for nearly all his career, he represented the Republic of Ireland for over fourteen years, mainly as team captain, until an incident with national coach Mick McCarthy resulted in Keane's walk-out from the 2002 World Cup. Since retiring as a player, Keane has managed Sunderland and Ipswich and has become a highly respected television pundit.
As part of a tiny elite of football players, Roy Keane has had a life like no other. His status as one of football's greatest stars is undisputed, but what of the challenges beyond the pitch? How did he succeed in coming to terms with life as a former Manchester United and Ireland leader and champion, reinventing himself as a manager and then a broadcaster, and cope with the psychological struggles this entailed?
In a stunning collaboration with Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle, THE SECOND HALF blends anecdote and reflection in Roy Keane's inimitable voice. The result is an unforgettable personal odyssey which fearlessly challenges the meaning of success.
were stronger that day, but we were unlucky. The game reflected the season ahead. We were nearly there; we weren’t bad. But we were always behind. Chelsea had spent a fortune. They had Carvalho and Drogba, and Makelele, and we’d slipped behind them. But we always put up a fight. They only beat us 1–0, but that can tell a lot. They were solid; they were going to be hard to break down. But there was also the feeling that Mourinho wouldn’t be staying around for long. I didn’t think he’d be another
feel involved in the celebrations. I was embarrassed. I’d come on as a sub in the semi-final in the last minute of the second half; I played for about ninety seconds. It wasn’t a great experience, but I was coming back from injury – another one. It led to my only real disagreement with Gordon Strachan. After most games Gordon would let me go home to Manchester to do my recovery. But he’d organised a practice game for the next day. I was still getting my fitness up, and I think Stiliyan Petrov was
nothing there, and no prospects. In my first week at Forest they put me with the kids; no one saw me. I was eighteen or nineteen. They apologised and asked me to come back; they’d organise a game. I said, ‘Just give me the game.’ I wasn’t one for going around cones – ‘Give me a game.’ They told me there’d be a game at the City Ground, and Brian Clough was going to be there, and I thought, ‘Brilliant.’ I didn’t go, ‘Is he? Oh, fuck.’ I went, ‘Brilliant.’ When it was over and they told me they
– which would have a big impact on your goal difference, especially if you’re near the bottom of the table. It’s hard accepting the thought, ‘It could have been worse.’ I struggled with it. It felt a bit like I was robbing our own fans. We were taking on the big boys. But I don’t like that term ‘big boys’. It’s almost like you’re beaten before you start. We were in the same league as them. I think I was quite good at looking at my players’ strengths, not deficiencies. When we lost these games, I
can be critical of myself for not enjoying the experience of winning, but – it was part of my DNA – I just wanted to go on and win more. Arsenal were good. Arsène Wenger was reinventing the game, apparently. Sugar lumps at half-time. They were a very good counter-attacking team. The previous Arsenal teams, under George Graham and Bruce Rioch, had been a rigid 4–4–2. They would always have held their positions; you could almost predict where each player would be. Now, under Wenger, they had more