Sunderland 10 years ago: Roy Keane’s the top boss!

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

KEANE’S THE TOP BOSS!

DWIGHT YORKE reckons that if there is any justice, Roy Keane will be named Manager of the Year at the end of this season.

The former Manchester United striker is in awe of what Keane has achieved at Sunderland in less than a season.

And while he is aware that former boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho are chasing titles on all fronts, and the likes of Steve Coppell has done a great job at Reading, he reckons Keane’s achievements cannot be underestimated.

Yorke told the Echo: “To take a club from 23rd place in the table to automatic promotion especially considering the condition Sunderland were in at the time – I don’t care what anybody says, he has to be Manager of the Year.

“Very few people have got the kind of qualities that can turn around a football club like that.

“He turned the club’ fortune round early-season, changing the staff and the players while all the time playing games and that is very difficult.”

Yorke reckons that superbly though Keane has done this term, he is likely to improve further given time.

“I think the gaffer has surprised everybody at just how well he has done and how quickly he has done it,” he said.

“Will he become a great manager? Well he has got all the right ingredients and only time will tell. But he has the knack. He has the presence and he has the demeanour to do it.

“I think his reputation as a player helps too, because everyone wants to do well for him – and if you don’t, then you won’t play, it’s as simple as that.

“And, in all fairness, the players have responded unbelievably well.”

While Yorke admires the way his team-mates have lifted themselves this season, he is also quick to point out that everyone at the club has put in their shift this campaign.

“Everyone who is involved with the club should be really proud,” he said.

“Everyone from the players to the groundsmen to the chefs, all the way through the club.

“A lot of the staff behind the scenes don’t get a lot of credit because everyone focuses on the players but they have all played their part in the turnaround at the club.

“When I look at the transformation from how things were when I first arrived to how things are now, it has been amazing.

“The gaffer will get a lot of credit, and rightly so, but there are lots of other people throughout the club that deserve credit too.

NOW GO OUT AND WIN SOME MEDALS!

Players deserve to be champions

ROY KEANE says he wants to clinch the Championship title this weekend – because he feels the players deserve it.

And he will send them on an all-out mission to beat Luton Town on Sunday, knowing that if Birmingham can’t win at Preston North End in their final game, then a win for the Black Cats at Kenilworth Road will see them finish top of the pile.

He told the Echo: “The players were able to celebrate winning promotion on Sunday and that’s great, that’s as it should be.

“But we’ve still got a job to do at Luton on Sunday and believe you me, we’ll be taking that very seriously.

“It’s a game I want us to win because it would be great if we could finish top.

“It’s important that the players get a bit of time to recuperate after the stresses and strains of the last few weeks and we are looking to take them away for a couple of days where the can get some rest and relaxation.

“But if we want to win the Luton Town game so that, hopefully, the players have a medal to show for their efforts and so that club has a trophy to show for all the work it has put in to achieve success.

“It would be good for players to have something tangible to show for their work this season.”

“And it would be nice to see Dean Whitehead lifting the trophy, let’s not get away from that.

“We’ve done one side of the job in winning promotion and we saw the players yesterday and told them well done. But now we want to go on and finish the job.

 “I’ll be sending the players out on Sunday going all out to win the title. We have been on a good run since the turn of the year and it’s a nice habit to get into – winning football matches and I’d like to continue that in the final game of the season.

“We will have supporters travelling down there and we want to put on a good show. And we would love to win the Championship – that’s our aim.”

While the players have taken enormous satisfaction from earning promotion this season, their manager believes they will enjoy their close season even more if they top the league.

He said: “After the final game, the players can rightly relax and enjoy their break. They’re going to have a good break this summer after what they’ve done but they’ll need that break because there’s a lot of hard work ahead again next season.”