since 1878

Cardiff City (0) 0 - 3 (1) Ipswich Town

Coca-Cola Championship 2008-09

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Referee: Scott Mathieson

Manager: Dave Jones

Ninian Park 15:00

Attendance: 19,129

Manager: Roy Keane

Match Number: 3307


 Pablo Counago (34)
 David Norris (51)
 Jon Stead (90)


McCormackChopra (58)
ParryMcPhail (59)
RaeEddie Johnson (76)


 McNaughton (13)
 Gyepes (89)
 Danny Haynes (81)
 Giovani DosSantos (81)






Roger Johnson











Eddie Johnson




Match Report

Roy Keane's arrival has the desired effect on Ipswich

As the news filtered through to sleepy Suffolk on Wednesday night, that the Second Coming of Roy Keane as a manager would be at Portman Road, player-to-player text messages were said to have been fired off in the direction of Sunderland, his former club. “Help, I’m an Ipswich Town player. Get me out of here” was the gist.

Keane does not suffer fools gladly, does not tolerate underperformers, does not conform to any stereotype. Thus, the comfort zone of the midtable Coca-Cola Championship club was about to be shattered and, it was suggested, some of the lads were worried. Scared rigid, more like, and they wanted out.

Jon Stead prefers to differ. He is a Keane convert and was allowed to leave Sunderland, a Championship side at the time, for Sheffield United, then a Premier League side, in January 2007. The lanky striker wanted to better himself, Keane amicably concurred and, with the added persuasion of a £750,000 fee, let him go.

Reunited, Stead scored one goal and created two on Saturday as Ipswich dampened the “Farewell to Ninian Park” celebrations — marking the last league game at the 99-year-old ground — and made Cardiff City sweat a bit, too, over their place in the play-offs. It was as if the pair had never been separated.

“I don’t think Roy has changed,” Stead said. “He’s the same around the training ground. He’s a clever man: he sits, watches, observes and that’s how he comes to his conclusions. And if he feels he needs to make an input, there’s no stopping him.

“I’ve been speaking a lot to the people at Sunderland because there’s been mixed messages from the players up there. But those still at the club know what Roy can do and how he helped them. I’m not disappointed he’s come here, I’m really happy.

“A few of the players have asked me what he’s like. He’s hard but fair. You want a manager to be straight talking, not beating about the bush. You’ve got to do it day in and day out for him but you know exactly where you stand. That’s all you can ask.”

Pity poor Cardiff. They sailed head-long into an Irish legend, a media circus and a team that will now be known as Roy’s Tractor Boys. And they sank. Keane emerged into the sunshine at 2.58pm, chewing gum and sporting a tan and two-day stubble, and leant casually against the dugout.

Wandering intermittently to the edge of his technical area, he signalled to his players, cajoling them, urging them on. He acknowledged the chants of “Kean-o” from the small band of Ipswich fans; he shook hands with Dave Jones, the vanquished Cardiff manager. No rage, no rancour. That is for the future.

An early missed penalty from Ross McCormack helped, enabling Stead to set up goals for Pablo Couñago and David Norris and one for himself in the last minute.

A missed bus at Sunderland did for Anthony Stokes, Tobias Hysen and Marton Fulop two years ago, when Keane ordered the coach to leave for a match at Barnsley without them. “Yeah, I’ve already told the lads, ‘Don’t be late,’ ” Stead said. “But I think they all know, anyway. The manager wants people who are going to work hard, be punctual and come into training every single day as if it’s the last of their career.”

Keane wants nice little Ipswich to do the “dirty, horrible, ugly” stuff. He paused for effect, as he does, and smiled.

“Like I used to do,” he said. “Listen, it’s one game. I’m dead relaxed. I’m not getting carried away after one game.” Saturday was a start, the honeymoon lull before, inevitably, the volcanic era kicks in.

Farewell Ninian Park, where Bob Marley once played a gig, Pope John Paul II visited and the Harlem Globetrotters strutted their stuff. Somehow, though the Welsh partisans might not agree, the Roy Keane Roadshow provided a fitting send-off.

Russell Kempson (Times Online)

Match Gallery


2008-09 Reports