23036917….and he did, quite literally. But not in the way your dirty mind would think. My husband found me in bed, knocked out with the book next to me on the pillow on more than one night. And it wasn’t because it’s a boring read.

Anyway, moving on.

As you can figure out by now this is another autobiography in my bookshelf. I do enjoy reading those when I know the person is something unique. Like Guy Martin is, or Like Marilyn Manson, or Ozzy Osbourne, or Lemmy! I love reading those autobios because there’s some crazy shit they’ve done and it’s always a very good way to see another side to these people. To get a better feel for their character, who they really are.

This time, it’s not music or bike racing. It’s football. Roy Keane was captain at Manchester United from 1997 to 2005 and during these years many a dramatic football match was had, many injuries were had, many “words were being said” were had and a mark was made! Here’s a bit from the Goodreads blurb:

This book is a personal odyssey, a blend of anecdote and reflection which re-evaluates the meaning of success. In following his personal struggle to reinvent himself, confronting a few demons along the way, The Second Half blends memoir and motivational writing in a manner which both disquiets and reassures in Roy Keane’s original voice, in a stunning collaboration brilliantly captured with Man Booker Prize-winning writer Roddy Doyle.

Keano is a firecracker! He is known for temperament, anger and rage. He’s gotten himself into trouble for “revenge” tackles. In fact, one of the most controversial and expensive revenge tackle cost him 400k and ended the other man’s career. You could say he really is an old-school football player- rough on the field and a proper manly man. Modern day footballers look after themselves with more concern, but they also dive more looking for frees or penalties.

At first, for a paragraph or two, I found the writing a bit strange. I remember thinking- oh, this could need some editing so it would read better. But then, you know, it should read like you’d hear Roy in your head. Sentences beginning with “But…” one after another was slightly annoying, the repetition, but hey, that’s Irish for you… Other than that it was really interesting. Roy gives his take on what it takes to be a captain, he tells his side of the story of how it all came to an end at ManU. I never before realized there was so much drama, but I shouldn’t be surprised. A lot of egos bouncing off each other, a lot of mouths with different opinions.

You’ll get the full journey- Roy starting out at Forest, being signed to ManU, then going to Celtic, then testing himself out as a manager, then doing a bit of TV work. Not to forget being assistant to the Irish football team. It’s all quite fascinating when you’re dealing with a character such as him. He really is totally old school and it shocked me quite a lot at how guilt ridden and shame driven he is! He nearly sounded like a beaten down peasant Estonian- just don’t moan, get over it and get on with it, it’s your job! Roy played more than one match being injured. He just couldn’t deal with the idea of not going on the field and giving it his all lest he let down his fans, in case they lose the match and he would hold himself accountable. He also demanded a lot from his team mates and rightly so- they were getting paid big bucks and team loyalty should push a player to utter commitment. I found it more interesting from his managerial experience to read how he judged characters. When a new player came to the club and he was sitting in a slouch or dragging his feet walking, Roy instantly thought and knew the player was going to be no good on the pitch. It was all out, all balls to the wall approach with Roy. He also hated when players were late, he took no shit excuses of being stuck in traffic- he just dropped the lad from the next game. Huge hit to their egos, but a valuable lesson for all.

Finally- I liked to read about his family life. I think massive kudos should go to his wife for taking care of their 5 kids and dealing with Roy during his healthy eating days demanding something all-together different for dinner. Massive kudos for any footballers families, I guess. There’s always a lot of travelling and moving involved, sometimes to foreign countries and when there are kids- they need to change schools, get new friends. Whatever the footballer or the manager is doing, their whole family will be affected by it.

Overall  feedback- absolutely enjoyed it! Even though I’m not a ManU fan… I follow Liverpool! 🙂 Roy Keane is a top man and I have a lot of respect for people who follow discipline in their work lives. Sure, he might have been fighting his own demons at times, but don’t we all…

Rating: 4****

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Here’s a quick clip showing Keanos aggresiveness and tackles. From 0:53 there’s the tackle that got Roy a hefty fine and ended Alf-Inge Håland’s career :