KEANO! Michael Keane – the untold story

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Keano in action for Preston North End against Gianfranco Zola of Chelsea.
Keano in action for Preston North End against Gianfranco Zola of Chelsea.

  • The Debut Shirt That Never Fitted

Michael Keane, former Republic of Ireland international, Preston North End, Hull City, Rotherham United, (Grimsby Town loan) and St Patrick’s Athletic football star is publishing his memoirs, during a career that spanned a decade.

“I have a lot to speak about,” said Keano, revealing untold stories from within the corridors of various clubs.

Keane started out in 1998, signing for Preston North End under David Moyes, choosing Deepdale ahead of clubs including Manchester City, managed by Joe Royle, and Tottenham Hotspur, managed by Gerry Francis & Ipswich Town , Stockport County

“I baby-sat for Moyesy,” said Keane, who started at Preston in the youth team, under former Manchester United manager and current West Ham boss Moyes, in the old first division.

“David Moyes was a big influence in my career – I would have run through a wall for him – when he left to join Everton I was left heartbroken inside.

“It’s an unusual thing for a footballer – but you can’t help how you feel,” said Dublin born Keane.

Keane will spill the beans on what he said to Preston boss Craig Brown at a team meeting, after a humiliating defeat in front of the squad: “Get your popcorn ready!,” said Keano.

After four years at Preston, Keane joined Hull City, under Peter Taylor, in a move in 2004, where he was loaned out to Rotherham by the Tigers in March 2005, prior to moving to the Mariners permanently after his huge influence in the team.

“I played under former Manchester United player and legend Mark Robbins, Alan Knill and under the tough Mick Harford too!,” said Keano.

Keane later joined St Patrick’s Athletic, after Brian Kerr had persuaded him to join, on what was very good wages for the league at the time.

Keane who also played in the UEFA Cup while at the club, said he had no choice and went through Court proceedings, having successfully sued the club for an unfair dismissal which he proved fully, with complete evidence in his favour.

Keane said: “I was on good wages for the league and it seemed to be a big problem for St Pat’s at the time.

“They went the wrong way about it, to be honest – trying to offload me it seemed  – there was only going to be one result in the end, I knew that part!.

Michael Keane capped by Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr.
Michael Keane capped by Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr.

“After I moved into some coaching – and went in at the ‘deep end’ of some tough jobs, joining Brendanville FC and Dingle United FC as AUL Premier B manager.”

In May 2015 he took over at Hardwicke FC as first team manager, leading the club to promotion to the top flight of amateur football, for the first time in the club’s history, parting ways the following season, for personal reasons.

Representing the Republic of Ireland u15s through to the u21s, managed by Vincent Butler, Brian Kerr and Don Givens.

Keano, who moved to The Mallorca Football Academy, leaving by mutual agreement in recent times, said, looking back on his career: “The fans – especially so at Preston North End were and remain to be a big part of my career, and life now to this day.

“The way they all treated me is unreal to be honest! They respect me, the same as I respect them.

“I played in games against top players, including Gianfranco Zola, Frank Lampard, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Aaron Lennon, Jermaine Pennant, Lee Bowyer and Steve Sidwell, who played in the Premier League – great memories.”

Keano added: “I also remember what John Terry said to me after Preston played Chelsea. And also remember playing against Greegs – Sean Gregan – when he was at West Brom. There was no pulling out of tackles that day, for sure! But we had total respect for each other.”

Keano also reflects on days before the Play-off Final, when putting Bjarki Gunlaugson over the advertising signs around Deepdale – and why he did it: “Sorry Bjarki!”

Keano also talks about helping others, including Michael Ronan from Finglas ,Dublin, who had cancer: “He is back up and well now, in Finglas, thank God.

“He had cancer, and what a big lift can do for anyone. Former Newcastle manager John Carver helped in the cause, big time, as did lots of others.

“The Ronan family are all gems, and forever thankful to this day,” said Keane.

 Michael Keane helped Michael Ronan from Dublin, who had cancer.

Michael Keane helped Michael Ronan from Dublin, who had cancer.

Michael’s parents will have a few words to say in the book too!, along with Keane talking about growing up in a tough rough place in O Devaney Gardens Dublin 7, Ireland – and how it helped him mentally.

The death of his best friend Michael McKieran: “Michael’s death challenged me deeply and spurred me on even more, to do it for him.

“He was the best footballer I’ve ever seen, and will ever see,” said Keane.

Keane also says John Kelly, manager in Ireland, at a young age, who was by his side all the way through his career, and brought out the best of him after going to England, in challenging him and got the best out of him.

“The importance of loyalty to John was second to none at all times. Although there were a couple of times John wasn’t happy!,” said Keane.

Keane talks about helping Crumlin Children’s Hospital raise much needed funds in getting signed jerseys, boots, pictures framed and sports memorabilia for auction, and

donating his wages to sending a Preston fan for cancer treatment.

“I just did it from the bottom of my heart. I don’t think many know about that – but it meant a lot to me to help the kid,” said Keane.

In a career filled with highs and lows, to off-the-field shenanigans – the dogs situation – Keano tells all. From boyhood days, to walking across the white line, for clubs and country.

The book Keano! is dedicated to his mother Carol and Da Mick, grandma Alice ‘The Queen’, Georgina and his beautiful kids, Paris and Mikey.

KEANO – the untold story by Andrew Atkinson. To pre-order a copy £13/€15 (+p&p), please email Michael Keane for further details at keane10@me.com

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