24 Mar 2020
Mr Andrews Sporting Role Model

Mr Andrews - My Sporting Role Model – Roy Keane

It is at times like these, we need leaders. The assured ones, the people that give us direction and purpose. They lead by example and stay calm while others may falter. It is for this reason that I would choose Roy Keane as my sporting role model.

Keane was a player like no other; ferocious in the tackle, yet considered and measured on the ball. He could dictate the tempo of a game for 90 minutes, and, if required, win first and second ball when the other team were (rarely) on top.

Keane’s greatest hour arguably came in the 1999 Champion League semi-final of Manchester United vs Juventus. United were 2-0 down inside 11 minutes and many of their players carried a deflated look, a weary acceptance of their anticipated defeat. Keane, United’s captain, stepped up as only he could in the circumstances. He played determinedly, with a refusal to accept defeat and a fortitude to deny the odds. He darted across the near post on a corner to half Juventus’ lead. In one move, he changed the course of the entire game. He gave his team mates hope and inspired them to work hard until the end. He did so, even with the knowledge that given his booking towards the end of the game, he would not play in the final should the team be successful. United won the game, with a score of 3-2. They played in the final against Bayern Munich and famously won in added time.

Keane always understood team sports was not to be about an individual, but about the collective pursuit of a joint goal and his performance never wavered. A true leader.

Keane did not have the passage into the game that many superstars have. A predicted pathway of greatness from an early age did not happen for him. He was scouted aged 18 playing for Irish side Cobh Ramblers, after being turned down by numerous English clubs for being ‘too small’. Perhaps it is this experience of having to fight to be recognised that shaped Keane into one of the greatest captains of United’s recent history.

While we congregate in our family spaces and have moments to reflect, one thing that is clear to me is how important social events such as sport are to keeping us all feeling connected. It creates shared positive experiences, memories of which will stay with us for life. It helps shape our character and who we want to be. So, you are 2 nil down and playing poorly, what would you like your reaction to be?