The greatest manager never to run England, finally runs a nationally team. The only problem is that the team is Republic of Ireland and it is being run by two of his protégés Martin O’Neil and Roy Keane. The two men have been described as everything from fire and ice to a clown car just before an explosion.
Brian Clough represent everything the establishment hate. A genuine socialist working class hero, who would not bow and scrape to his perceived ‘betters’. His team Nottingham Forest were unfashionable but won the top league and won the European cup twice. All this was done with bargain basement players and in total disregard to the owners and the governing bodies hierarchy.
Two of his famous players came from Irish extraction but they are polar opposites. Martin O’Neil is seen as a intellectual and a visionary. Martin O’Neil until his failure at Sunderland was always in line for the top English jobs. From Manchester United to England’s national team. The Northern Irishman is well respected and quite sought after.
Roy Keane on the other hand is seen as a great player who was also a hot headed bully. He is the sought of player you want on your side, if he is in a good mood. As Sir Alex Ferguson who brought Roy Keane from Nottingham Forest described him in his sensational autobiography as a man who projected his downgrade after injuries the ”…the hardest part of Roy’s body is his tongue…”! Roy Keane had no problems in looking to brake an opponents leg if it needed to be done.
He sensationally walked out of the Irish national side in Saipan 2002 when he criticised the Irish preparation and management for the World Cup 2002. He famously ranted to the Irish manager, Mick McCarthy, before walking out, saying: “Who the fuck do you think you are, having a meeting about me? You were a crap player, you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are manager of my country and you’re not even Irish, you English cunt. You can stick it up your bollocks.”
So for these two to take over the part time management of Ireland will be fun to watch and see if Brian Clough’s magic can work miracles on a national team.