Roy Keane has broken his silence to Sunderland fans over his controversial resignation, explaining that the real reason for leaving Sunderland was to watch his beard grow up:
I am sad to say that I feel that I have taken this football club as far as I can. There have been good times, great times even: winning promotion, buying Greg Halford, not getting relegated, sending Greg Halford out on loan. And I feel I can safely say that you are the best fans in the world. Apart from Celtic. You’re not as good as Nottingham Forest, but you’re certainly up their with Cobh Ramblers.
I have not taken this decision lightly, but it is best for Sunderland, and best for me. To paraphrase Bill Shankly, “some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you, it is much, much more important than that. It’s about having a beard”
Over the past year, I have become increasingly attached to my beard, what with it being on my face and all. I never thought that I’d feel like this about my facial hair. When I was an impressionable young lad in the dressing room it was all about who could neck the most shaving foam on a night out, whose Gillette had the most blades. But I’ve grown up, turned my back on that nonsense. It’s not just about me, it’s about each one of those hairs.
To be sure, I’d underestimated how hard being a new beard father would be. The sleepless nights, me and the wife taking turns to get up at 3am to feed and change it. I’ll admit, there were times when I thought it was too much for me. One night I walked out on Theresa, telling her to stick the beard up her bollocks. I got as far as the doors of a midnight Turkish barber. I was going to get properly off my face, ending it all. But I turned around and went back. It was all a worthwhile. The day my beard was finally potty trained and I no longer had to wipe the shit off my face was as much an achievement as getting out of the Championship.
Beards grow up so quick these days. It seems like only yesterday I was making genial quips after games while stroking my stubble. Then one day you catch yourself in the mirror – finally able to look yourself in the eye after winning one in seven – and you look like Jürgen Prochnow from Das Boot.
I just don’t want to find myself looking back and missing out on those all important ‘firsts’. There are so many precious moments in my beard’s life that I don’t want to miss. I want to be there for its first steps. Its first day at beard school. I want to be there the first time I get some food caught in it and fail to notice for four days. The first day that a curious little boy looks up at it, I smile at him and he runs away in tears to hide behind his mother’s coat.
One day of course, I understand that one day my beard will grow up. It will meet the perfect man, one who can love and care for it as I have done.
And then I will find that man, and kill him.