EXCLUSIVE:The Fat Mackem Hobbit will be gutted at the news that Sunderland’s saviour Roy Keane has quit the black cats.
The former Manchester United skipper’s departure was announced at 1pm, bringing to an end a morning of fevered speculation. Keane left the club after crisis talks with chairman Niall Quinn, and the players were informed at a meeting this morning. Keane’s assistant Tony Loughlan has also left.
First-team coach Ricky Sbragia, reserve-team boss Neil Bailey and midfielder Dwight Yorke will take charge of the team for this weekend’s trip to Manchester United.
There has been speculation about Keane’s position since last Friday when he hinted he may not stay on Wearside beyond the end of his current three-year contract.
Sunderland chairman Nail Quinn said: “First of all, on behalf of everyone here I would like to pay thanks to Roy Keane for all his hard work in progressing this club, lifting its status and growing its worldwide profile. Roy deserves huge respect for his contribution and the manner in which he guided the club from the depths of the Championship back to the Premier League. “His winning mentality and single-mindedness were just what this needed when Drumaville (the consortium that owns the club) took over shortly before his arrival. Roy’s decision to stand aside and allow someone else to take charge of the next chapter sums up his desire to always do what is best for the club. Even in his departure he has been more concerned for the welfare of the players and his staff than himself. The board has reluctantly accepted his decision and wish him and his family well for the future.”
Keane added: “I would like to thank my staff, players, Niall Quinn and in particular the fans for their support during my time at Sunderland, and I would like to wish the club every success in the future.”
Keane was appointed in August 2006, with the club floundering next-to-bottom of the Championship. He led the club out of the relegation zone and won promotion in his first season and then to a 15th-placed finish in the Premier League last term.
Keane spent more than £45m after winning promotion and spent another £30m this summer in a bid to take the club forward this season. But Sunderland’s form this season has been inconsistent and a run of four consecutive defeats at home in all competitions has increased the pressure on the beleaguered boss.
His side have been booed off in their last two home games and the fans also turned on skipper Dean Whitehead at the weekend when his mistake gifted Bolton their fourth goal.
Seems Mr Monkey has scooped the Shields Gazette and local bloggers again – sorry Papa John but if you took that sausage roll out of your fat mouth for a second or two you wouldn’t have been caught with your pants down!
Posted 1.25pm 4/12