Marcus wanted Keane, and quickly

THE deal may only have been signed around 36 hours ago but the decision to bring in Roy Keane as manager was made quickly after he made it clear he wanted the job.

Derek Davis

THE deal may only have been signed around 36 hours ago but the decision to bring in Roy Keane as manager was made quickly after he made it clear he wanted the job.

Keane penned his two-year contract while out to dinner with chief executive Simon Clegg on Thursday evening as Town closed in on their number one choice hours after sacking Jim Magilton.

Clegg revealed: “This has developed over a relatively short period of time and we are talking just a few weeks.”

“I had a number of lengthy decisions with Marcus before he made his final choice.

“It is Marcus' choice. He is the owner of the club. He is the one paying everyone's wages and is taking a massive investment so we need to be clear about that.”

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Town's shortlist was comprised of managers who had won promotion to the top flight, and stayed there, so the candidates were relatively few with Alan Pardew, Alan Curbishley, Aidy Boothroyd and Neil Warnock, among the contenders.

Clegg confirmed: “Those were the type of people we looked at.”

Keane wowed his new employers, not just with his impressive CV but his impressive demeanour when meeting both men, separately.

Clegg said: “It is his absolute driven, focus, passion and 100 per cent professional individual and that came across in the interview.”

“First of all Roy has huge credibility because of the player he was and the longevity of his career.

“Over and above that is what he achieved as a manager.

“To take Sunderland from fourth bottom in the Championship through to the Premiership in one season, not by virtue of the play-offs but by being champions then to retain that position in the Premiership 12 months later - that is what we aspire to at this club.

“There are not too many people then when you are looking at the criteria of people you want you are narrowing down the selection base quite considerably.”

Keane pointed out that the owner's goals married up with his own and that was a big factor in talking the job.

He said: “I enjoy working with ambitious people. There are enough people with no ambition in life and are happy to go through the motions.

“This club wants to get back into the Premiership, like a lot other clubs in the Championship. It is easy for me to say I have the history and this challenge but the proof is in the pudding over the next two years.

“It is going to be difficult especially when you look at the team that could come down. If West Brom come down, Middlesbrough Newcastle, Hull or whoever they will be in a great position to go back up so it is a massive challenge but hopefully we will be in the mix.

“At the moment we are 26 points behind Wolves and that is a big, big gap to make up on the team who got promoted.”

Clegg added: “It is an exciting and dynamic new era for this great football club it further demonstrates the aspirations and ambition of this club and its owner ME. I'm absolutely convinced with RK as its new manager we will build on this club's rich heritage, tradition and values and he will lead us to Premier league football.”

Keane will take charge of his first Town game at Cardiff City tomorrow with Ian Loughlan, his old team-mate at Nottingham Forest and assistant at Sunderland, installed as his number two at Portman Road.

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