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Roy Keane: Sunderland talks with former manager break down

Roy Keane
Roy Keane won promotion to the Premier League with Sunderland in 2006-07

League One side Sunderland will not be reappointing Roy Keane as their new manager, BBC Radio Newcastle reports.

The 50-year-old Irishman had a two-year spell with the Black Cats between 2006 and 2008, during which he led them to the Premier League.

Keane entered negotiations with the League One club last week but it is now understood he will not return.

The Manchester United legend has been out of football management since leaving Ipswich in 2011.

Sunderland were second in the table after their most recent league win over Portsmouth on 22 January, but a thumping 6-0 defeat at Bolton in their next game saw boss Lee Johnson sacked and they have subsequently lost against Doncaster and Cheltenham to drop to fourth.

Since his last role at Ipswich, Keane has held assistant manager positions with the Republic of Ireland, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest, but his only involvement with the game since 2019 has been as a TV pundit.

He said in recent interviews he remains eager to get back into management, but it will not be with the Wearsiders.

Analysis – ‘Sunderland in an unholy mess’

BBC Radio Newcastle’s Sunderland reporter Nick Barnes

Roy Keane’s Sunderland return was a long way down the line from what we understand and we can speculate on a number of factors that might have been the reason for it falling through at the very last minute.

One of them might have been his contract with Sky. I understand the last hurdle for the club was negotiating a way out of that contract for Keane and that may well have been a stumbling block.

There has been lots of discussion about whether he’d be able to work with a sporting director or be prepared to work at League One level with a young squad.

It’s very late that it’s fallen down, because I was led to believe as recently as Thursday morning that it was still on the cards. Whether Keane or the club will reveal what the real reasons are, we will have to wait and see.

It is a hammer blow for Sunderland and right now they are in an unholy mess.

They need someone to wrest control of the football club. The caretakers Mike Dodds and Michael Proctor do not want to be in charge for the game at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, but right now it looks like they probably will be.

The squad needs to be galvanised. The players’ confidence has been shot to pieces and they’re 11 points off top spot. They can ill-afford another defeat. They need someone to rescue it.

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