The other side of Roy Keane’s quitting habit

News filtered in at the major news sites yesterday that Roy Keane has quit Sunderland after a string of seven defeats. All of the football writers are criticising him for quitting when the going gets tough. That he was unable to persevere.

Now, that sounds really familiar. I have had people saying the same of me, because I did not fulfill society’s expectations of me when I did not subscribe the conventional hold-a-job-down-for-as-long-as-possible mentality.

I do not know Roy Keane personally, obviously. However, I do not see him in the same light as most people do. He is known for his fiery temper and passion, for his winning mentality, for his ability to command respect and awe as a professional footballer. He, more than once, almost single-handedly motivated his team mates to win a game when they were staring at defeat. He, was the player, who unselfishly played out his heart despite facing suspension to give Manchester United their first European final for many years.

How can a man like this, whom many professional footballers openly admire, be such a weakling that he must quit because he was unable to take hardship?

For most of my life while in employment, I have wondered the same question of myself. No matter how strong can one be, it is difficult not to be doubtful when everyone around you does not understand.

Roy Keane quit because he feels like he has given his all, and he is no longer confident of guiding the club back to winning ways. It is typically viewed as ‘courageous’ to stay on and fight, but is that really an act of courage, or an act of a selfish ego by stubbornly hanging on and risking the entire club’s fortunes along with himself?

Probably there are tons of many reasons that would remain hidden, perhaps it was because the new shareholder undermined his authority, nobody would know unless Keane himself steps out to talk about it. I believe he will, one day, when he is ready. He was never known to shy away from his words, and I am sure he is his own harshest critic.

His very high expectations of himself, is the same factor that has contributed so much of his success, as well as his failures. His high expectations of everyone around him, has landed him with tons of negative publicity, when he walked out of the world cup on his country, when he openly criticised both his team mates and the supporters of Manchester United.

All he wanted, and wants now, is to be true to himself.

When the day comes when you can no longer answer to yourself, that will be the day to have the guts to give up.

Many people fail to see that, quitting takes courage too.

Would a man like him fail to pre-anticipate all that backlash that is happening right now? He knew what he was in for, yet he still quit, rather than hang on to his job for dear life that many football managers do.

Roy Keane is an exceptional man, and for all his brilliance he will continue to be misunderstood, because the mainstream would not be able to empathise and understand what drives his actions.

Nobody probably feels worse about Sunderland’s current situation than the man himself.