May 25 2013 Latest news:
By Dave Gooderham
Thursday, April 19, 2012
GARY Ablett has described Roy Keane’s failure to land a top manager’s job after leaving Ipswich Town as a “massive loss” to football.
The FA Cup winner with Liverpool and Everton was offered a coaching job by Keane in the summer of 2010, but saw his spell in Suffolk cut short when he was told he had contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma soon after.
Ablett spent his last few months writing his autobiography, ‘The Game Of My Life’, before losing his brave battle against cancer on New Year’s Day.
The book contains sweeping praise for the support shown by Keane and the club as a whole – and also an impassioned plea to the footballing fraternity about the former Blues boss.
Ablett wrote: “If I have learned anything from Roy over the months that have gone by, then it is that he is a massive loss to football. He’s getting itchy feet since leaving Ipswich, and he wants to go back into management as soon as possible.
“If you are a football chairman you seriously have to ask yourself why you wouldn’t want Roy Keane running your football club. Sure, he has strong views and knows just how he wants things to be done. But what’s wrong with that? Surely it’s better to have that than a manager who can’t make up his mind?
“The bottom line is that Roy Keane is a winner and which chairman out there does not want their manager to be a winner?”
Ablett was offered a coaching role at Ipswich ahead of the 2010/11 season – taking his place on the bench for a pre-season friendly at Newmarket Town.
His condition suddenly deteriorated the night before Town played a friendly at PSV Eindhoven and within weeks, his desire to recover from a doomed management spell at Stockport County had been overtaken by a much more serious battle. But his brief working relationship under Keane certainly left an impression – on and off the pitch.
He wrote: “Ipswich were desperate to get back into the Premier League. Having Roy in charge, someone who lives for success, seemed the perfect fit. He was someone who I had obviously admired as a player, and he had shown with Sunderland that he was cut out for management as well.
“Roy has this reputation as a hard man, hard as nails, and detached emotionally. But I have seen another side to him with the support he’s constantly offered me throughout my illness.”
‘The Game Of My Life’, which was released on general sale this week, sees Ablett reflect on his on-the-pitch glories with the two Merseyside giants as well as his brave battle against cancer.
Describing when doctors told him he had an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he said: “That was that. A life-changing sentence uttered matter of factly, like a manager reading out his starting XI at half past one on a Saturday afternoon.
“It’s not a very ‘football’ way to react to things. But that day I wept buckets.”
n ‘The Game Of My Life’ is available from retailers, priced £16.99, or online via www.merseyshop.com.