I am venturing dangerously close to becoming vaguely obsessed with the Coca Cola Championship, after this my second consecutive post on the subject. The growing obsession however, was vindicated by Roy Keane's decision to shave off his patchy gray goaty, (unlike Rafael Benitez who's baffling persistence sees his continuing uncanny resemblance to "Max" of "Max and Paddy's road to know where") and, arguably more importantly his return to management with Ipswich Town.
Despite the new clean shaven look, I am having trouble visualizing Keane jumping on a tractor and ploughing his way from Manchester to East Anglia. Sure, sporting a pair of wellies and slinging a double barrel shot gun over his shoulder will have Keane looking the part, its just that I was expecting something a little more glamorous, or at least an appointment to a Premiership club, upon his return to football.
Ipswich obviously have the potential to become a Premiership side following Marcus Evans' takeover in 2007 and subsequent investment of £44m in to the club. Keane has also been in familiar territory before, when he managed to gain promotion to the Premiership with Sunderland and spent a notable £80m. Evans may have wealth, but I don't think he has the desire to sink that much money into Ipswich, after stating that he wants to see a return on his initial investment within 5 years. Expecting to gain promotion and become an established premier league side without the continual investment of millions is highly ambitious to say the least.
In what is equally as ambitious, is Keane's desired goal of promotion next season. After confirming his move to Ipswich Keane said "Ive signed a two year contract but I'd like to try and get promotion in one year." This is the kind of determination and self imposed demands we come to expect of Keane, but working with a smaller budget and club than Sunderland will be a true test on his managerial potential. I believe he will get Ipswich promoted, but I am sceptical that he will deliver on the one year time frame.
Since his arrival, he has already managed to win the two remaining fixtures against Cardiff and Coventry, albeit meaningless games that see the Tractor Boys finish in mid table mediocrity. The championship and Ipswich will look forward to next season having gained a valuable character in Keane, and time will tell how long both of those relationships last. For now, and while Keane begins to re-shape his squad for next seasons promotion push, his dog will earn a well deserved rest from arduous Roy Keane walks, endured since last December.