Former Sunderland manager Roy Keane has revealed that relationship rifts with American investor Ellis Short and chairman Niall Quinn played a major role in his decision to leave the Premier League club. Keane resigned in December after two years in charge at the Stadium of Light, and the Manchester United legend has now spoken for the first time about the reasons behind his departure. The former Republic of Ireland midfielder, who lifted Sunderland from the foot of the Championship to Premier League respectability, insists Short's attitude towards him was uncomfortable from the start.
"We had sat down with him a couple of times, Niall and I," Keane said. "I went down to London to meet him twice. I thought, hmm, the dynamics are changing here. He said he had read my book. I felt he was thinking from the start that I wasn't for him. He sort of knew this wasn't going to be a long-term relationship.
"It started with a demand to know where I had been the previous day, that he wanted me available at all times. It was a disappointment. Then there were accusations about how often I came in, about moving my family up. And it was the tone." Keane also revealed a change in attitude from Quinn concerned him deeply after the club's chairman revealed his desire for the manager to put a smile back on the players' faces.
"He was talking to me about the players needing to come into work with a smile on their face. That really concerned me," Keane said. "The day I walked into Sunderland, putting a smile on the faces of well-paid players was the last thing anybody wanted me to do. Players had been taking the piss out of the club for years.
"My question to Niall was, who are you listening to here? It wasn't Niall. It was the undercurrent. Where it was coming from. Smiles on players' faces? It's my job to get them training well. There was good spirit. That's what had kept us in the Premiership last year. Our spirit. That got the alarm bells ringing. Without a shadow of a doubt. The American fella would have been on Niall's case."