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Roy Keane odds-on for sensational Sunderland return: What’s his managerial record like?

Roy Keane previously led Sunderland into the Premier League
Roy Keane previously led Sunderland into the Premier League

Roy Keane is the odds-on favourite to return for a second spell at Sunderland, 13 years after he left the Stadium of Light.

In fact, it’s been over 11 years since he managed outright at all, with his last spell at Ipswich coming to an end in early 2011.

Keane has since had spells as an assistant manager to Martin O’Neill (Republic of Ireland / Nottingham Forest) and Paul Lambert (Aston Villa), while he's enjoying a successful and lucrative career as a TV pundit; famed for his sharp lines and matter-of-fact approach.

He has, of course, been linked with a return to the dugout on multiple occasions and has often teased a comeback, most recently in August when he told Gary Neville: 

"I’m saying to you would I want to get back into management, but realistically where am I going to go back to? The Championship? Top of League One?"

Sunderland might not be at the top of League One, but they are pretty close in 3rd: two points off 2nd, and five points off 1st.

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The Telegraph reports that Keane is Sunderland’s No.1 choice to replace Lee Johnson, who was sacked on Sunday.

The 50-year-old is now said to be seriously mulling over an offer to take charge of the Black Cats on an initial short term deal until the summer, with the option to extend that contract at the end of the season.

Keane’s previous spell at the Stadium of Light dates all the way back to 2006 when he replaced Niall Quinn after his fellow countryman had lost five of his opening six league and cup games at the start of the 2006/07 season, which followed the club’s relegation from the Premier League.

Quinn instead focused on his duties as a Chairman, whereas Keane oversaw a complete turnaround. His winning mentality, unwavering self-confidence, and no-nonsense attitude elevated the club out of the Championship relegation zone and all the way to the title, thus sealing a return to the top-flight.

The Black Cats, who won 63.4% of their matches under Keane that season, were particularly dominant in the second-half of the campaign where they won 16 of their final 20 league games, suffering just the one defeat.

The team consisted of the likes of Dwight Yorke, Jonny Evans, Darren Ward, Dean Whitehead, Danny Simpson, and David Connolly in what proved to be a memorable season on Wearside in which Keane was crowned the Championship Manager of the Year.

Keane then kept Sunderland in the Premier League with a 15th place finish. The low point was definitely the 7–1 defeat to Everton, however the objective of staying up was secured with two games to go.

Keane would go on to conjure up a memorable first win over rivals Newcastle in 28 years, but stepped down in December (2008) on the back of five defeats in six which left the club in the relegation zone.

Keane later revealed that his decision to leave was due to a rift with main shareholder Ellis Short.

In total, Keane managed exactly 100 games; winning 42, drawing 17, and losing 41 (42% win rate).

Keane returned to management that same season, dipping back down into the Championship with Ipswich in April (2009), leading the club to two wins from their final two games of the season.

Tasked with orchestrating a push for promotion to the Premier League, Keane endured a horror start to his first full season. Ipswich failed to win any of their opening 14 matches and, while results did improve, a 15th place finish was extremely underwhelming. 

Keane didn’t make it to the end of the 2010/11 season. Fall-outs with players and poor form saw him sacked in early January with Ipswich 19th in the Championship, although one highlight was the club’s run to the semi-finals of the League Cup - he never got to manage the tie against Arsenal.

"I don’t think I’m a bad manager, but at Ipswich I managed badly," Keane would admit in his autobiography.

"I spoke to some people like something on the bottom of my shoe."

He oversaw 28 wins, 25 draws, and 28 defeats (34.6% win rate).

Keane's profile coupled with his history at Sunderland means an appointment would be huge, and one that would galvanise a fanbase: at the time of writing he's the odds-on frontrunner.

3rd-placed Sunderland, who have 17 games left to play, can be backed at 6/5 to win promotion from League One, they are 11/1 to lift the title, and 7/2 to go up via the play-offs.

If, however, Keane opts against the cauldron of the dugout in favour of remaining in the comfort of the punditry chair, Sunderland could instead look to eight-time promotion winner Neil Warnock who is currently priced at 8/1.

Last season's League One winner, Grant McCann is available at 6/1, while Neil Lennon, Patrick Kisnorbo and Alex Neil also feature in the betting. 

Full odds below...

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