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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Roy Keane back at Old Trafford

By Mandeep Sanghera

Sunderland manager Roy Keane

Roy Keane was famed for his ferocious and single-minded determination during his celebrated playing days as Manchester United's midfield enforcer.

The 36-year-old will stride back into Old Trafford on Saturday for the first time as a manager with his Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn hoping Keane can create a similarly successful legacy as boss at the Stadium of Light.

Keane, regarded as a hero by United fans, started off in the right way last season by leading the Black Cats to the Championship title and promotion to the Premiership.

A win in the opening game of the current campaign against Tottenham helped continue the party but a draw and three successive defeats have taken the wind out of Sunderland's sails.

However, a realistic Quinn knew tough times would be on the horizon and his unwavering backing and support for Keane is only matched by his conviction to give his manager the time and foundation to succeed.

7 Premier League titles
1 European Cup winners' medal
4 FA Cup winners' medals
1 Intercontinental title
480 games & 51 goals
PFA and Football Writers' Association player of the year (2000)

"If you were to pick somebody who embodied the battling quality of the Premier League as a player Roy Keane was almost Mr Premiership," said Quinn.

"People would say that about him over his time as a player at Manchester United and now there is an opportunity here to provide him a pathway to become a successful manager.

"It's just important that we all do our jobs. Roy is also big on that as well.

"He has said it on numerous occasions 'everybody be best at what you do and do your own job'.

"I think that's what we all have to do and we will let him get on with the tougher decisions like picking the team. We will all support that and provide as much as we can in order for him to get on."


Last season Keane exceeded expectations with the impact he made so quickly but Quinn is quick to realise the size of the task ahead and not place undue pressure on his manager.

"This Premier League is the toughest of them all and is the biggest league in the world. As a result we understand the way we felt last year about patience and time - that's what we need.

"We're not saying that as a cop out. We're not here to make excuses but what we are saying is that reality tells us that this manager, if given the right support, time and patience will bring us to an area where we want the club to be."

Quinn played with Keane for the Republic of Ireland and the pair had a difference of opinion over the latter's infamous walk out at the 2002 World Cup.

There were concerns at the working relationship between the duo but Quinn's approach makes that almost impossible as the ex-Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland striker learns from the mistakes of others.

"Roy has been perfect," he said. "We've had a very successful year. We know our boundaries.

It is very much Roy has his job and I have mine

Niall Quinn

"My job is to be the administrator of the club who sends the right messages down and gets everybody at the club working towards the one goal of making it better for the coaches and playing staff.

"Ultimately, it is about winning matches and everything that you do in the meantime to provide for that is the key to it.

"I also know where my boundaries are and it's not my right to go in and discuss players and have an input into who we might be signing.

"It's only my right to provide for the manager.

"We back the manager up. I've seen it in football before where other chairmen might have got it wrong in years gone by almost trying to pick the team themselves.

"We learn from peoples mistakes in the past and I am delighted now that we've a chance to do what we can see is right. Maybe it won't be, we don't know."

Quinn added: "It is very much Roy has his job and I have mine and when we do have to come together he helps me out and I help him out. It is fine."

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