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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Keane steps back in fray

IPSWICH, England (AP) Roy Keane took over as manager of Ipswich on Thursday, setting out to repeat his achievement at Sunderland and get the underachieving club into the Premier League.

News photo
Back in business: Former Manchester United legend Roy Keane poses at Portman Road on Thursday at his introduction as the new manager of Ipswich Town. AP PHOTO

The former Manchester United captain, who quit as Sunderland manager in December, was appointed by the League Championship team a day after it fired Jim Magilton.

With a relatively new owner and a chief executive who only took over on Monday, Ipswich moved quickly as it strives to get back into the top flight after a seven-year absence.

"I've signed a two-year contract. I'd like to try and do it in one year," said Keane, who also took Sunderland up in his first season in charge after taking over with the Black Cats last in the League Championship standings. "That's what challenges are. If it wasn't a big ask, it wouldn't be a challenge. If I wasn't up for challenges, then I'd be walking my dogs today. And I think my dogs needed a break."

Magilton was fired after failing to get ninth-place Ipswich into the playoffs. The club is 26 points behind leader Wolves, who have already clinched promotion with two games to spare.

Now Keane has only two games left to get to see the players, many of whom are out of contract at the end of the season.

"I've had a good break and really enjoyed my time off. I've had 5 1/2 months relaxing with my family," he said. "I knew that if the right opportunity came up and it was the right challenge I'd be ready for it. I'm ready for it."

A strict disciplinarian, the 37-year-old Irishman said he had simple demands as a manager.

"All I've asked from any player since I've been a manager is that they be on time for training and they give 100 percent," he said. "And that's what I'll be asking of the Ipswich players. And if they're up for that they'll enjoy working for me. If not it will be a very brief relationship."

Sunderland finished 15th last season in the Premier League, but Keane left the Black Cats in December, unhappy at criticisms of his behavior by new majority shareholder Ellis Short.

Now he'll have to figure out how to work with the management at Ipswich.

Simon Clegg, who worked on London's successful bid to stage the 2012 Olympics and was Britain's team leader at last year's Olympics where it won its best medal haul for 100 years, was appointed chief executive of Ipswich on Monday.

Ipswich has only won the league title once, in 1962 under Alf Ramsey, who went on to lead England to its 1966 World Cup triumph. Between 1975 and '82 it finished in the top three five times under Bobby Robson and won the F.A. Cup (1978) and UEFA Cup (1981).

Robson also went on to manage England and took it to the 1990 World Cup semifinal.

Beckham windfall

NEW YORK (AP) Major League Soccer will be receiving $10 million for its agreement to extend David Beckham's loan to AC Milan through the end of the season.

The 33-year-old midfielder joined MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy in July 2007 and moved to Milan on a loan in January. That loan was to expire March 8, but the sides agreed to extend it through the end of the Italian season.

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