I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.
The Second Half, by Roy Keane (with Roddy Doyle). Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 296 pp, ISBN: 978-0297 608882 Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson, Yellow Jersey Press, 370 pp, ISBN: 978-0224091725 Reading Roy Keane’s latest volume of autobiography, The Second Half, is a rather postmodern experience. In his first autobiography, Keane (2002), ghost-written by Eamonn Dunphy, he boasted how he extracted brutal revenge on Alf Inge Håland: “I’d waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that, you cunt … I didn’t wait for Mr Elleray to show the card. I turned and walked to the dressing room.” For those drb readers who have little interest in association football, let me fill you in on the background. In 1997, while playing at Elland Road (Leeds United’s ground), Keane, in an attempt to trip Håland, snapped the cruciate ligament of his knee. As he lay on the ground, no doubt in some pain, Håland stood over Keane and accused him of diving. A ruptured cruciate ligament is a serious and sometimes career-ending injury, and it took Keane nine months to make a full recovery. He hadn’t forgotten Håland, and in 2000 he encountered the mouthy Norwegian, now playing for Manchester City. Keane’s tackle on Håland was brutal, and according to Håland, finished his career. (This claim is now generally regarded as spurious.) When Keane came out in 2002, the Football Association took a dim view of Keane’s vainglorious and profane reminiscences, and charged him with bringing the game into disrepute. The Second Half, ghost-written by Roddy Doyle, opens with an account of the hearing held by the FA at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton. Eamonn Dunphy was questioned by the FA’s QC, Jim Sturman: “Mister Dunphy, do you think Mister Keane intentionally went to injure his fellow professional, Mister Håland?” Dunphy replied: “Without a doubt.” Sturman cross-examined Keane: “Do you stand by everything you said in the book?” Keane replied: “Yeah, but it was ghost-written.” So here we have a second, ghost-written autobiography, questioning whether ghost-written autobiographies are to be believed. Did Roddy Doyle savour this delicious irony, I wonder? Keane (or is it Doyle?) goes on to elaborate a rather Jesuitical argument hinging around the difference between “hurting” and “injuring” another player: “It was action; it was football. It was dog eat dog. I’ve kicked lots of players, and I know the difference between hurting somebody and injuring somebody….
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