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Roy Keane has unfinished business at Sunderland - perhaps it’s that which is fuelling him!

“You can easily get wrapped up in a cycle here and become enveloped by the size of the job. Counteracting that takes tunnel vision & determination, and Keane has that in spades”, says Andrew Smithson.

Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Now that the dust has settled following the drubbing away at Bolton, it makes you realise how mad Saturday was. Before playing Ian Evatt’s side, I envisaged a decent win that would set us up nicely for February - yet, 24 hours later, the Sunderland gaffer has gone!

It was some turnaround given we could have gone top due to results elsewhere, and whilst I doubt the decision to dismiss Lee Johnson was based solely on that game, it does underline just how bad a result it really was.

It does mean, though, that this is an attractive job still - we are a team near the top with some excellent players, and will be a much nicer proposition than the one Johnson took on.

Unlike most clubs when they are looking for a new boss - often found battling relegation with an unsuitable and demoralised squad - we can afford to be a bit more choosey; I assume that because of our position we’ve had lots of interest, and if the club is satisfied that Roy Keane is the best option from those suitors, then they are right to appoint him.

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The length of the contract they choose to hand him will be interesting.

Bringing Keane in as an old school manager with control over transfers would not fit the current system at Sunderland, and is perhaps an outdated idea anyway.

The days of a Peter Reid type running the club from top to bottom for a long period of time are no more, but if Keane is brought in initially just to give the players a short sharp blast and push them over the line, it could do wonders.

This route might help cut out some of the soft goals and see us toughen up in some situations, whilst allowing Kristjaan Speakman, the board and Keane himself time to assess and work on the longer-term plan.

A sense of unfinished business might be what is fueling Keane here, and I dare say that if it was another club he wouldn’t even be considering it.

He cannot really lose either in the sense that if we don’t go up the majority of people will put it down to what has gone on beforehand anyway, but that will not be how he looks at it.

Vitoria v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

His high levels of drive and personal pride will mean he comes here desperate to succeed and that force of character can hopefully drag everybody’s level up a notch with it.

We’ve already seen this week how the return of Jermain Defoe has reinvigorated spirits, and if having another respected figure back around the place makes everybody walk just that little bit taller that will soon be evident on the pitch.

Although he has some of the old values fans now miss, Keane is still close enough to the game to understand how modern football works.

Perhaps just as importantly, he also understands the level of expectation that comes with being in charge at Sunderland. Too often we see managers and players come away from here shellshocked almost, unable to work out how it went wrong.

With Manchester United, Celtic and then Sunderland, Keane has already experienced the constant critique and demands on your time that come with certain clubs, and is well aware that there will be little respite.

You can easily get wrapped up in a cycle here and become enveloped by the size of the job.

Counteracting that takes tunnel vision and determination, and Keane has that in spades.


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