I was asked this week why I find Roy Keane interesting? ‘I don’t find him interesting,’ I said. ‘I find him fascinating.’
Evidently I’m not alone, though, my auld fellah will not care a jot for the hyperbole surrounding Roy and much as he’d laugh and even admire, Keane’s rejection of Robbie Savage because his voicemail said: ‘Hi, it’s Robbie – whazzup!’ he’d never admit to it.
We’ll talk about Saipan. We’ll talk about it very briefly because you can’t argue with someone who starts and ends a discussion with: ‘you can say what you want…but you’ll never convince me otherwise.’ Uncompromising? It’s what I like about him, and others, with that particular strain of stubbornness.
That’s the thing about personal values. If you take yourself seriously; if you take your work seriously, the lowering of your standards is forever under threat by the not so serious.
I’ve had rows over this type of stuff. Plenty. ‘Why would you do a story like that?’ ‘Pick your battles!’ ‘Not a good career move!’ It is how most people go on.
Myself, I can call on an a la carte system of values. As in I can give myself an out if things appear as though they will get out of hand. I’ll rant and rave, tell my girlfriend: ‘I’m going down there to put the window in; or pull the driver out of the cab of the bus for being rude, or threaten to not pay the bill of the service in a restaurant has been particularly bad, or threaten to put my job on the line over a story I want to get in – the most oft repeated. I seldom do.
And never would I threaten to jack in a world cup, piss-off half the nation and make the kind of stir that breaks headlines in Pakistan when the same country is on the cusp of Armageddon with India…Only, I know a man who would!
When you add in a decorated and brilliant career forged from the same force of will, then you are going to find yourself the fix of a lot of focus years after the guns have fallen quiet on Saipan. Let’s be honest, conviction like that for right or for wrong is capturing and a lot of people in the public eye are pretty dull by comparison.
If they have dimensions I seldom get to see their angles so complex and in brilliant Technicolor. This is why I’m looking forward with relish to reading his new book because the brilliant and crazy tales, the barneys and the bust-ups I’ll enjoy thoroughly but I want the banal too?
It’s never a word you’d associate with Keane but his portrait remains incomplete without it, the circle not squared.
And if Doyle does manage it, Keane will be even more erm, interesting.