Leading article: Sent off

They are a football team who have suffered five defeats in the past six games and presently languish in the relegation zone of the Premier League. Managers have been kicked out by club boards for less – much less. But when the chairman of Sunderland Football Club, Niall Quinn, said yesterday that he tried his best to persuade Roy Keane to stay on, it is very hard not to believe him.

Age has not softened Mr Keane's aspect. Look at those eyes, smouldering like hot coals; that grey beard suggesting ferocity rather than sagacity. Would you want to call in this man and tell him that his contract was being terminated?

The word is that, despite this setback, football has not seen the last of Roy Keane. Undoubtedly. But what will he do in the meantime? Motivational speaking is out. The UN will not be calling on his diplomatic expertise. But Mr Keane's previous breaks from the game offer a clue. Professional dog walker it is.

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