SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Keane searches for new signings

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.

ONE DAY TO SIGN NEW STARS: Roy Keane will spend the rest of today and tomorrow trying to bring new players into the club before the transfer window closes.

And former Juventus centre half Mark Iuliano, now a free agent after parting from Sampdoria, could be one of the first through the door, along with Swedish international defender Per Nilsson.

Yesterday afternoon, the new Sunderland manager dealt with his first media duties, having taken his first training session with the squad in the morning.

But it will be adding to that squad which will dominate his thinking over the next 24 hours.

The transfer deadline is tomorrow evening and the new manager has hardly any time to bring in players.

But if he finds he’s unable to bring any other players in, he insists it won’t be the end of the world.

He said: “I’d like to bring in one or two new faces by the end of the week because I think we’re maybe lacking a little but of experience.

“But it’s not the be all and end all and if I do manage to get anyone in, I will regard that as a bonus.

“I’m looking at one or two areas where I feel we could improve, but if we’re not able to bring in new players then I don’t see that as being too much of a problem.

“We’ve got some good players in the squad, players who are capable of competing in this division and I think they showed that in the game against West Bromwich Albion.”

Keane said that although he only officially took over on Bank Holiday Monday, he had been thinking of potential targets over the last week.

“I’m like all managers in that I’ve got ideas of players who I would like to bring in but I don’t want to get into any sort of panic situation,” he said.

“There are probably 15 to 20 players I can think of who might potentially be genuine targets and it’s a question of seeing who is available and what can be done.”

10 SECONDS FOR KEANE TO DECIDE: It took Roy Keane all of 10 seconds to decide that he wanted to become Sunderland’s next manager when Niall Quinn’s Drumaville consortium approached him last week for the second time about taking over the helm at the Stadium of Light.

He said: “I was on a family holiday in Portugal and really enjoying it when the phone rang and the possibility was put to me of taking over here.

“I asked for some time to think about it but 10 seconds after I put the phone down, I was thinking ‘Why not?”

“I was very happy where I was – the scenery was beautiful, the weather was great and I was with my family – but I had already been thinking that what I could do with was a challenge in my life and I’ve decided that Sunderland is that challenge.

“When I first got off the phone, my attitude was that I would wait a bit longer.

“Then I thought,’What am I waiting for?’ The challenge is there. Sunderland is a big club with a beautiful stadium, a good fan base and I thought, ‘Why not?’

“I knew I would like to go to a club with a decent structure and fan base, with good facilities.

“I obviously checked it all out and I just kept on repeating to myself, ‘Why not?’

“I played up here enough times and I know what it’s like – the fans are passionate, they love their football and I need that in my life.”

It was the second time the consortium had approached him.

He was sounded out tentatively about his interest but he insisted that he wanted to finish his coaching badges.

The legendary Manchester United skipper revealed: “We met three months ago and I spoke to Niall but at the time my priority was to sit my A coaching badge.

“Time moved on and Niall ended up trying the manager’s job but it was proving impossible with the roles involved of being manager and chairman and he got back on touch with me last Monday.

“Fortunately, the opportunity has come here and I’m ready to cope with it. You have to give it a go.” 

‘IF PEOPLE GIVE 100 PER CENT THERE WILL BE NO PROBLEM: Any concerns over Sunderland having appointed a manager with no previous experience were dismissed yesterday by the man himself.

If there is a worry over the high-profile appointment of the Manchester United legend, and appointment which has galvanised and thrilled Wearside, it is that Keane has never previously managed a side.

But Keane shrugged aside that question mark over him and in a flash of the combative nature he always displayed as a player, he asked how much experience had helped the club in the past.

He said: “I hear what people say about me not having managed before but it doesn’t bother me.

“Sunderland Football Club have had plenty of managers who have had bags of experience but it has not worked out for them here.

“So why should that be a big issue?

“Of course it’s new to me.

“It was my first day on the training ground yesterday and it’s a learning curve.

“But I’m looking forward to it. I’m young and hungry and I think that’s a big plus.”

While Keane may not have sat in the boss’s chair previously, he feels he has in some way served a managerial apprenticeship by working so closely with some of the great managers in football.

“I’ve played under some great managers – the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Brian Clough, Gordon Strachan, some good managers and some not so good managers.

“And I think I’ve picked up an awful lot.

“I’ve spoken briefly to Sir Alex over the last few days and I always enjoyed the way he looked after his players, backed them and defended them.

“But you’ve got to be your own man as a manager and I’ll be looking to do things the way that I think is right for me and this club.”