Roy Keane happy to ruffle a few feathers

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The Independent Football

Roy Keane has insisted he will continue to speak his mind no matter who he upsets.

The Sunderland boss freely admitted he has talked himself into trouble throughout his career and is likely to do so again as he attempts to achieve as much in management as he did as a player.

But he is making no apologies for telling it how he sees it after he criticised both his players and some of his club's fans in the wake of Tuesday night's Carling Cup escape against Northampton.

Keane, whose side travel to Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League tomorrow, said: "I didn't come to this club to be liked or to be popular. I have come here to do a job.

"Three years, when I came here, was the mission and we are on course.

"If I have to stir the players up or stir the supporters up, then I will do it.

"I have done it before. I am involved in sport, and particularly football, because I love it. I love the game and I love winning.

"If I have to get people out of their comfort zones, then I am quite happy to do that.

"I have done it before. I have done it and it has cost me a lot in my career, and it probably will in the future.

"I look back and a lot of my troubles in my career have not been what I have done, but what I have said.

"I upset people, but a lot of people upset me. I never talk about that, though."

Keane's uncompromising stance should surprise no-one who has followed his career, and he admitted that dates back to his earliest days in the game.

He said: "You can speak to my old manager when I was nine, 10 years of age, Timmy Murphy - I'll give you his number - I was always involved in sport to try to win and push myself, and I fell out with people when I was 11, 12 years of age.

"If I upset people along the way, then tough because trust me, a lot of people upset me."

Keane was upset in midweek, both by the performance of his team and by a few individuals in the crowd who headed for the dug-out to express their dissatisfaction at close hand.

He later said he would not tolerate that situation, a statement which prompted some to draw the conclusion he would walk away if the criticism continued.

But today, he was quick to clarify his comments and said: "We are talking about two or three [fans], and I won't tolerate it. We will just have to employ more stewards.

"I just don't like people making an effort to come down towards the dug-out, and I would say that with any club or any manager.

"If they want to voice their opinions, they stay in their seat, whether they want to boo or whatever it might be.

"We have had great support, but people should remember as well, even the booing at half-time and stuff like that, anybody who knows how we play, sometimes we don't start until the last 10 minutes anyway.

"Any supporters who ever leave our stadium with 10 minutes to go must be crazy. That's when we seem to liven up. Please don't ask me why. I am still scratching my head."

Keane, of course, is yet to sign a new contract despite being in the final year of his current deal.

Reports today suggested that American businessman Ellis Short, who has bought a stake of more than 30 per cent in the Drumaville consortium which owns the club, has provided the finance to fund an extension.

However, the manager remains relaxed about the situation.

He said: "There is no problem. You negotiate. I step back and I focus on trying to win football matches and getting this football club to another level and let my solicitor deal with that.

"It might happen tomorrow, it might happen at Christmas, it might happen at the end of the season. There is no timescale on these things. That's the least of my worries."

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