It is not often that a football supporter, even one who writes for a living, is given the best part of a page in a national newspaper to rattle on about his team. But I was convinced such an article would be of interest to people in Ireland, so sent off e-mails to the Irish Examiner (which is always associated with Roy Keane’s home territory of Cork), Irish Times and – because of the handy coincidence of a Sunday game to decide the championship – the Irish Mail on Sunday.
If no one had responded from any of those papers, I would have kept trying until I was down to the smallest, most parochial weekly rag in the land. That’s on top of approaches to radio stations, which led to a brief appearance on BBC Radio Ulster, where I naturally took care to mention Jonny Evans.
Fortunately, the Irish Mail on Sunday rang back very quickly, commissioned a 1,300-word feature on what Keano and the Irish revolution had meant to Sunderland – club, city and fans – and ran it with a great show beneath the headline: “Hail Keano, the colossus who rekindled our dreams.”
I am indebted to Gerry Naughton, a SAFC fan – for 40 years “since the days of Charlie”, not just the nine months or so since Keano took charge – who e-mailed me the reproductions of the published piece that you see above.
It requires a bit of manoeuvring on screen, but I hope anyone who is interested is able to read it.