Roy Keane has returned to football as the new manager of Ipswich Town, the Championship club have confirmed.
The former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder has signed a two-year contract at the club, who sacked former boss Jim Magilton on Wednesday after it became clear Ipswich had no chance of securing promotion to the Premier League. Keane, 37, has been out of work since leaving Sunderland in December but recently indicated that he was ready for a new challenge.
"I truly believe that I am joining a club that has the potential, ambition and infrastructure to once again be a Premier League side," the Irishman said. "The club's owner and chief executive impressed upon me their total focus on achieving this quest at the earliest opportunity and I can't wait to get started."
Having taken Sunderland from close to the bottom of the Championship into the Premier League in 2006/07, his first season in charge, Keane knows what it takes to to get teams into the top flight of English football. At Ipswich, he is expected to be backed with substantial funds with the owner, Marcus Evans, having already invested £12 million (17.4 million dollars) on new players.
That investment did not produce the desired results under Magilton, who had been in charge since June 2006 and left with the club in ninth place in the table, 12 points adrift of the final play-off spot. Chief executive Simon Clegg said he was delighted to have brought Keane to the club.
"The appointment of Roy Keane further demonstrates our commitment to help Ipswich Town Football Club achieve our aim of returning to the Premier League at the earliest possible opportunity. Roy has experienced promotion as Championship winners as a manager and, importantly, then kept his side in English football's top flight, and I am looking forward to working with him."
Evans said Keane had been chosen because of his record of getting results with Sunderland while playing an attractive passing game, in the Ipswich tradition. "He has extensive contacts in the game and is a proven winner who encourages his team to play the attractive football that Ipswich Town fans have come to expect. I believe he is the right man to take this club where we want to be - the Premier League."