Keane vs SAF. Finally, the match that will pit the definitive Man Utd player of a bygone SAF era against his old master.
Keane offers his approach of low key players, hard nosed soccer that is life and death, and a unrelenting work ethic as a stark contrast to a more pragmatic SAF whose present coterie of talented players regularly grace FHM covers as they earn salaries that are the GDP of a small country and write badly written books on girlfriends and their shopping.
Keane left Old Trafford in a cloud after a hugely publicized MUTV tirade in which he accused seven players of slacking off, singling out especially SAF fave Rio Ferdinand, "Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar," Keane said.
"It seems to be in this club that you have to play badly to be rewarded. Maybe that is what I should do when I come back. Play badly."
That interview was pulled by SAF because he so feared it would destroy the morale of the players and undermine his authority. All this in the backdrop of the much whispered eventual replacement of SAF with Keane.
It seems Keane's fire in his belly is undiminished as he recently accused players of being weak because they are more tied to their WAGs and their shopping. This after a number of players turned down playing for Sunderland. Well, whats a poor WAG supposed to do? Keane is not easy to play for and what WAG wants to listen to her BF or husband bitch and moan about his boss when there is no shopping to look forward to in a town not exactly known for its high end fashion boutiques. But this thumb your nose attitude is enough to give Keane one more chip.
So he returns to Old Trafford to show fans his Sunderland team composed of Man Utd castoffs like Kieran Richardson, Dwight Yorke, and Liam Miller and newer recruits such as Russell Anderson and Dickson Etuhu. Maybe in the midst of all this we could get to see glimpses of the Man Utd team of the 1990s.
Polite and respectful but with no fake sentimentality; that is how Keane would want it. "I am not expecting the red carpet and hugs and kisses," he said of this evening's return to Old Trafford.