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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Keane launches Wag culture tirade
Roy Keane
Keane has struggled to bring in his top targets this summer
Sunderland boss Roy Keane has hit out at "weak" Premier League players for allowing their wives and girlfriends (Wags) to dictate their careers.

The former Manchester United captain has been frustrated in his attempts to lure players to Wearside this summer.

He said: "These so-called big stars are people we are supposed to be looking up to. Well, they are weak and soft.

"If they don't want to come because their wife wants to go shopping in London, it's a sad state of affairs."

Keane has spent nearly 30m on new players this summer but has seen several of his top targets spurn a move to the north-east.


The newly promoted club finished bottom of the league with a record low of 15 points the last time they were promoted to the top flight.

And they are again one of the favourites to be relegated this season.

But Keane feels overbearing wives and girlfriends are to blame for Sunderland's difficulties in attracting top players and feels the current generation of players need to get their priorities in order.

Speaking ahead of Sunderland's trip to Birmingham, he told reporters: "I can understand the attraction of people wanting to go to London - if you are talking about Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham.

"If people want to go somewhere else to another football club then fair enough, as long as it is for a footballing reason.

Sometimes players maybe use the wives as an excuse

Joanna Taylor-Murphy, footballer's wife

"But there are players going to clubs in London simply because it is London. To me, that is wrong.

"It is not a football move, it is a lifestyle move and those are the type of people you don't want at your club. It is not a problem for me but it is a fact.

"To me, that player is weak because his wife runs his life.

"That happens at the big clubs as well. I could name four big players and clearly their wives and girlfriends are running their lives because they are doing these photoshoots and that kind of stuff.

"They say they are not comfortable doing it and are being dragged along. Well don't do it."

Joanna Taylor-Murphy, wife of Tottenham and former England midfielder Danny Murphy, disagreed with Keane's comments.

The actress told Radio 5live: "I think he (Keane) is wrong.

"Sometimes players maybe use the wives as an excuse, but in my experience I don't know any players that would let their wives dictate.

"If Danny had two moves on the cards, and one was near the shops and one was somewhere else where the shops weren't so good, but that was where Danny really wanted to go to I can assure you that's where we would be going."

Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham
Cheryl Tweedy and Victoria Beckham are two of the most famous Wags

The straight-talking Keane has hit the headlines in the past for tirades against certain fans at Old Trafford who enjoyed corporate hospitality - who he labelled the prawn sandwich brigade - and the club's underperforming players.

He left Old Trafford for a brief spell at Celtic after an outburst aimed at some United players on the club's television channel.

But Keane's fierce determination and dedication to the game made him one of the most successful players in the history of English football.

He revealed: "A couple of years ago I nearly went to Juventus. People spoke to me about Turin and told me Milan would be a nicer place to go.

"I told them I wasn't going for the shops, I am going because it is Juventus.

"If there is nothing to do then find something to do. Someone once told me that people who are bored are boring.

"People who get bored coming to the north-east are bored because they are boring. It is nothing to do with the shops.

We had one player this summer who didn't even have the courtesy to call us back because his wife wanted to move to London - and shopping was mentioned

Roy Keane

"Maybe it is because I am not a great shopper but football has got to be a priority.

"You don't need to live in Manchester or London to be happy. You don't need to be surrounded by expensive shops or fancy cars.

"We have had one or two players this year and their wives are clearly part of the package.

"We had one player this summer who didn't even have the courtesy to call us back because his wife wanted to move to London - and shopping was mentioned."

Meanwhile, Keane says he is hopeful of getting in two more players before the transfer deadline closes on 31 August.

He said: "When I first got the job at Sunderland there were one or two players who I felt were not really up to the job, or not 100% focused or were focusing on a contract at another club.

"But I have got the feeling with the squad I am building here that when the whistle goes they will give 100%. That is no guarantee to win a football match but that is all I am asking.

"I am very pleased with the players we have got in but I do believe we need two more players to help the squad."

Comment: Roy of the ranters
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