Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That’s the motto that you learn in school and perhaps it’s something to which Roy Keane should adhere when he stands next to the dug-out at the Stadium of Light. After all, supporters pay good money to go and watch their team and should surely be entitled to give the gaffer a piece of their mind if the players aren’t performing on the pitch.
The Daily Mirror reports that the Irishman is full of veiled threats after being ‘personally abused’ by fans, after the Black Cats scraped through in the Carling Cup against Northampton. It seems that Keano is ready to bite back if he continues to get bad-mouthed by the club’s supporters – why can’t he just ignore them and concentrate on his job?
“The next time a punter comes down I will tell him where to go,” fumed Keane.
“Tuesday night wasn’t the first time it’s happened. I’ve had a bee in my bonnet for a while and it has built up for a couple of games now. I’m not happy with it. I went looking for the punter who was shouting at me on Tuesday, but he ran away pretty quickly.
“I want a level of respect and abuse shouldn’t be personal.
“What would I have done if he had broken through to the dug-out? That depends on what size he was, although I know Brian Clough regretted what he did.
“I don’t think I deserve that.”
It doesn’t matter if it’s Sunderland, Stoke or Southend, there are always going to be fickle fans who cheer you to the rafters when the team plays well and abuse you when the chips are down. In the north-east, the fortunes of the football team appear to take on an added resonance, and is perhaps the reason why the fans get so upset when their side loses or plays badly. Should Keane shut his mouth on this one or does he have a point?