Review: The Second Half by Roy Keane (with Roddy Doyle)

KeaneThere’s nothing extraordinarily revelatory about Roy Keane’s second autobiography THE SECOND HALF, but it’s a fascinating insight into one of football’s greatest midfielders.

As a Liverpool fan, I’m supposed to hate Roy Keane, and I suppose when he took to the field in Manchester United colours I did, to a degree, but only because he was such a talented, gutsy player. Besides, that ‘hate’ was limited to the field. Off it, and especially since his retirement as a player and subsequent fleeting dip into punditry, I’ve enjoyed Keane’s sound bites. He’s not a vociferous man, but he’s straight and to the point: ask for his opinion, he’ll give it to you as he sees it, no apologies: you ask, he tells, and if you don’t like his response, well, take that as a warning. But in hindsight, as Keane acknowledges, such an attitude – an inbuilt sensibility that’s impossible to negate – can sometimes lead to trouble: in Keane’s case, a lack of management opportunities.

Roddy Doyle, the book’s co-writer, deserves plaudits for capturing Keane’s distinctive eloquence. Unlike so many other sporting biographies, THE SECOND HALF isn’t padded; it’s a seamless transcription of Keane’s thoughts, in what I consider the beginning of the Third Act of his career: post-playing, post first management opportunities, now stepping back into the game. The language is stripped down, but polished: and while it’s a no-holes-barred testament, it’s not an attack against Keane’s ‘enemies,’ or an ego-stroke. As always, Keane tells us how he sees it.

THE SECOND HALF probably won’t sway the opinions of Roy Keane’s opponents, but at the very least it proves he’s not the callous silver-tongued football hard man he was often portrayed as. There’s a lot more to Roy Keane that many credited him for: I’m sure there’ll be another memoir in a couple decades time following the resurrection of his managerial career. Keane’s not done yet. Not by a long shot.

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