Friday, December 16, 2005

Celtic Finally Replace Ulrik Laursen

I haven't got the figures to hand, but it is quite probable that the new incumbent of the Celtic number 16 jersey has sold a few more strips of that number than the previous owner (the Danish full-back in the headline, for those at the back).

So Roy's a Bhoy. The man who has cast a brooding shadow over Irish and English football for over a decade has elected to end his tumultuous journey at Parkhead. Keane has always been big news in this country, his very character having been dissected as much over the the years as his football. Just as he has always railed against mediocrity and blandness as a player, the debate which he provokes has never been characterised by unanimity or platitude - fittingly, more anger and impassion.

So too the latest chapter in his career. From the endgame days of his Manchester United career he was either a coruscating thorn in the side of a bloated, failing empire, or an unforgivable traitor who slayed his comrades in public. Now the discussion continues: has Keane diminished his legacyt by choosing to see out his days in a footballing backwater, or has he elected to add another glorious chapter to his career by fulfilling a long held wish to pull on one of the great jerseys of world football?

Why then, did Roy Keane join Celtic?

Irish Celtic fans will be well aware of the coverage which the club often endures in this country. The club's stature is, of course, held in question due to the nature of the league in which it plays. Most commentary on Keane's move has included the specualtion as to how he would react to going to places like Falkirk, Kilmarnock or Dunfermline. These places do indeed seem rather far from the glamour and strut of the Premiership's principal theatres.

But those who seek to define Celtic's stature in relation to the clubs it frequently must play are reminscient of the 'prawn sandwich' munchers of Keane's ire: they seem not to understand football. Keane has undoubted fondness for Celtic, albeit he is not a die-hard Celtic fan from childhood as has often been carelessly stated in recent weeks. But to suggest that a man of his professionalism, and with his regard for the standards to which he has always adhered, would allow his last days as a player to be a disservice to his career thus far for the sake of sentimentalism is an obvious nonsense.

Roy Keane a sentimentalist! You're having a laugh!

It is rather more likely that Keane sees in Celtic (and has done for some time) embodiments of values that he holds dear. Anyone visiting Parkhead must be struck by the fundamentally
proletarian passion still pervades and defines the nature of the club. It has often been mentioned how Keane's background in working class Cork provided him with the steel and backbone which coloured his career. It has also been well documented how it pained him to see the soft, apathetic culture which developed at Old Trafford as affluence sated his colleagues' hunger.

And, indeed, that of United's supporters.

Perhaps Keane wants to taste again that feeling of a success that means something. A success that provides supporters with meaning to the very fibre of their being. Success that makes men walk tall for a week. If he stays fit and capable to take his place in a Celtic team in next year's Champions League, he will know a fulfillment of his ideals that he was never going to retrieve at Old Trafford.

Football means a lot to Roy Keane. And now he's playing for people who feel the same.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said...nuff said, lets wait and see if he cuts the Gers a new arsehole

rgds
Paddy

5:17 p.m.  
Blogger b2k said...

I liked his "I belong here" , statement. He is right to feel that, there are many Irish, first to 4th generation who still feel the club is theirs. I'm glad to see him and am sure he will wear the hoops with pride.

brendan2k

5:54 p.m.  

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