Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Stephen Pond Roy Keane managed Ipswich between 2009 and 2011.
# Looking Back
'Roy said: Do you want to be a footballer, or do you want to take piss for a living like that fella?'
Brian Murphy has recalled his memorable stint at Ipswich.

Updated at 15.14

GOALKEEPER BRIAN MURPHY has recalled how Roy Keane ultimately persuaded him to give football in England a second chance after he had initially become disillusioned with the game, while giving an insight into the Corkonian’s starkly honest managerial style.

Speaking at the Gaultier GAA ‘Resilience Forum,’ Murphy recalled how the Manchester United legend signed him from Bohemians. 

Murphy had left Swansea having been frustrated with the lack of game time he was getting.

“You sit in a house, staring at four walls in the evenings,” he remembered. “As much as you’re friends with your team-mates, everyone lives their own life when they go away from it.”

Loneliness affected Murphy and he ultimately chose to come home from England, despite the perception that people were looking at him as a “failure” for doing so.

“For my own mental health at the time, I felt it was the right choice,” he added.

The goalkeeper ended up signing for Bohs and excelled in the League of Ireland.

“It’s no coincidence that when I started to enjoy the game again, I started to flourish on the pitch,” he said.

Despite having “no ambition to return to England,” then-Ipswich boss Keane ultimately persuaded Murphy to move back across the water.

“I was talking to my family, saying: ‘How do you say no to Roy?’ I might never get this opportunity again.

People have an opinion of Roy, whatever way you want to look at him. I have a lot of time for the man. From the chats you have with him as a player and a coach, he ultimately swayed me to go back over.

“I didn’t fully enjoy being back into that environment straight away, because I felt I was back to four walls. That goes back to the mental health side of things.”

He continued: “Roy is Roy, he was incredible to work under. He’s highly opinionated. We had a couple of Irish lads in the dressing room.

“Damien Delaney, I felt for him at times. He used to hate Damo for whatever reason. Damo is a bit flash. He used to wear the baseball cap on backwards and the American football jersey and they are from across the river from each other in Cork.

“After a game, if Damo made a mistake, Roy would be the first one to go for him and he would absolutely hammer him. He’d destroy him.

“He used to go on about Kennedy Cup games. ‘If I was playing with Cork now, we’d hammer Waterford.’ Daryl Murphy would have been there at the time as well.

“[He'd say] ‘You’ve no discipline. You’re walking around with these big wide headphones, and you can’t head the ball for me.’

“We played Leicester away. I was playing and we’d played unbelievably well in the first-half. We drew the game 1-1. We were awful in the second half, we were hanging on by the skin of our teeth. It was night and day, the first and second half.

“We we were in the dressing room and he has us all sitting in one corner. Roy’s chats could go on for 45 minutes after a game.

“The drug testers are in. So anyone that’s been drug tested in sport knows, once the drug-tester introduce themselves to you, they have to stay with you or you have to be in their sight for the whole period of time until you finish giving your sample.

Roy is doing his team talk and going around to a couple of lads and, rightly or wrongly, he’s telling one lad from London who was 19 years old and had only played a handful of games: ‘Look, I don’t think you’re going to make it in the game. I don’t see you being consistent enough.’ He said: ‘You’ll probably be back in London next year doing drive-by shootings with your friends.’ We’re all sitting there [thinking]: ‘Holy God.’

“He’s going round to different lads. ‘One week I look at you and you’re controlling the game. The next week, I can’t find you on the pitch. But it’s okay, because I don’t blame you, I blame your parents for the way they brought you up.’

“It depends how the lad takes it, but everyone is different. The last lad he went to, he went: ‘Do you want to be a footballer, or do you want to take piss for a living like that fella?’ And all you see is the drug tester in the corner, his head is down, the poor fella didn’t know what was going on, it was incredible.

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“But that was Roy, he was so honest. He would rarely scream and shout at you, he was always talking to you and that always made it a bit more personal, because you can handle someone having a go and having a proper shouting match at you, but when it’s calculated and straight to your face, it’s talking like I’m talking now, it’s much harder to take.

“But overall, I enjoyed working with Roy.”

Murphy ultimately broke his ankle and was out for eight months, in which time Keane was sacked by Ipswich.

The Waterford native subsequently had spells as a reserve goalkeeper at QPR, before a season in the Portsmouth first team. He then joined Cardiff City, for whom he currently plays as back-up goalkeeper.

Watch Murphy speak in the video below from 6.05 onwards.

Eddie Kirwan / YouTube

Originally published at 12.15

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