Can Roy pass the icon test?

ROY Keane has a stiff job on his hands to lift Ipswich Town off the foot of the Championship table and into Premier League contention.

Elvin King

ROY Keane has a stiff job on his hands to lift Ipswich Town off the foot of the Championship table and into Premier League contention.

The Blues manager also has to prove that football icons make good managers.

History suggests otherwise - with a long list of highly talented players who have failed to maintain their reputations after swapping their Saturday afternoon attire from team strip to track suit.

Ipswich Town legend Allan Hunter says that he knew he was not cut out to be a manager within days of taking over at Third Division Colchester United in 1982.

“How well you could play means nothing when you switch to management,” said Hunter, who has not taken another managerial role since leaving Layer Road in1983.

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“If you can handle being on call 24 hours a day seven days a week you can handle management.

“If you can't then it is not for you. I loved Colchester United, but I knew within days that management was not for me.

“You have to have a certain constitution to be a manager, and how skilful you were as a player means nothing.

“I loved playing, but I could switch off between matches. Playing and managing are not comparable. Some can do both but not many.

“At the end of the day to be a successful manager you need good players.”

Keane is recognised by many as the greatest player the Premier League has seen, but after failing to pick up a win for Ipswich this term he is now deemed to have flattered to deceive in his previous job at Sunderland and not up to the task of invigorating Town.

Jackie Milburn was a playing legend at Newcastle who was a huge managerial failure at Portman Road, while one of the greatest players who ever lived - Diego Maradona - is clinging on grimly to his job with the Argentinean national side.

Bobby Moore, Sir Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney are among English legends who did not prove suitable to lead from the front, and had difficulty in adapting to a coaching role and passing on information to inferior players.

Town supporters still have faith that Keane will come good, and that an improvement might start to happen after the current international break ends next Saturday.

And Franz Beckenbauer backs up evidence that it can happen having won a World Cup as a player (1974 West German) and a manager (1990 Germany).

But most successful bosses had a limited playing career with Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Bill Shankly, Jose Mourinho, Bob Paisley and Jock Stein prime examples.

John Barnes joined the list of sacked managers yesterday when Tranmere Rovers relieved him of his services within months of his appointment.

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness' reputation in the game has been tarnished by disastrous spells most notably at Newcastle United, but also in parts at Blackburn Rovers, Southampton and indeed at Anfield.

World Cup winner Alan Ball failed to cut it as a manager with Manchester City, Portsmouth, Colchester and Exeter

And there appeared to be a curse on Sir Bobby Robson's England 1986 world cup squad with

Peter Shilton, Peter Reid, Terry Fenwick, Alvin Martin and Barnes all failing to negotiate choppy managerial waters.

Ossie Ardiles, an Argentine and Tottenham star as a player, had a masterstroke in 1994 when he fielded a one-man midfield and five-man front-line - and blindly stuck to his plan despite shipping 33 goals in 15 games.

David Platt seemed destined for management, but his short stint at Sampdoria in 1998-99 led to their relegation after 17 years in Serie A, while in a disastrous spell at Nottingham Forest he blew �12m on players such as Gianluca Petrachi and Salvatore Matrecano from Perugia, making him the most unpopular man in the city since Sir Guy of Gisbourne.

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Precarious occupation - this season's managerial departures from the Football League: August 14: Bryan Gunn (Norwich), 18: Paul Lambert (Colchester), 29: Simon Davey (Barnsley), September 2: Peter Jackson (Lincoln), 8: Stuart Gray (Northampton), 9: Mark Robins (Rotherham), 26: Colin Todd (Darlington), October 2: Gudjon Thordarson (Crewe), 9: Peter Taylor (Wycombe); John Barnes (Tranmere).

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