It’s pastures new for the Class of ‘92.
Gary Neville and his band of merry men made the somewhat surprising decision to drop the guillotine on Graham Alexander’s tenure at Salford City on Monday.
As is standard with the sacking of any football manager, a chaotic rumour mill gets the tongues of fans, journalists and players wagging furiously – with the speculation often too tantalising to resist.
‘Always worth a quid’ Alan Curbishley, on this occasion… well, I’d suggest you spend it at Greggs.
The Salford lads’ old mate Roy Keane, however, is one man who’s link to the vacancy doesn’t share quite the same shot in the dark vibe as Curbs at 50/1.
Keane has taken a significant interest in Salford since his former teammates joined forces with Peter Lim to buy the club back in 2014.
When he’s not frothing at the mouth and refraining from headbutting Jamie Carragher in the Sky Sports studio, you’ll often find him in the stands with Neville & Co at the Peninsula Stadium.
Of course, it’s an easy link to make, but it could well be a match made in heaven.
Keane has made no secret of his detest for the egos and celebrity (he’s glaring at you, Paul Pogba) of top-level footballers and at Salford, that is unlikely to be too much of a problem.
Whilst I’m sure there’s plenty of ego in the lower leagues, they’re egos Keane could keep a lid on and would almost certainly command respect from.
It’d only take one stony-faced glare, deep into the soul of a young lad clutching a Louis Vuitton washbag, to prompt everyone to drive the Mrs’ Micra into training until they’ve reached the Premier League.
This is the man who decided against signing Robbie Savage at Sunderland when he received a voicemail saying: “Roy, it’s Robbie… whaazzzzaaappp”.
He also couldn’t fathom why Robbie Keane wouldn’t play for Ireland after the birth of his second son – “He didn’t have the baby did he? Unless he’s breastfeeding, he should be alright”.
Another magical Roy Keane tale is that he denied his Sunderland players a celebratory party after promotion to the top-flight in 2007 because he believed they should never have been in that league in the first place.
You might think that’s incredibly harsh, and… it is, but it shows his expectations are probably in-line with his pals on the board at Salford.
They sacked the popular management duo, ‘Bernard and Jonno’, having just won promotion to the National League in 2017, fearing the club would rise up the pyramid too quickly for the managers to adapt.
This feels like the next step in an ambitious but formulated plan at Salford.
There was some ill-feeling about the style of play under Alexander, and the form had dipped slightly towards the back end of last season – and this stinks of ‘thanks very much Graham, but you’ve taken us as far as you can.’
They say ‘never mix business with pleasure’ – that is the only risk for the owners, but for me, it’s a risk worth taking.
He’s a very good coach with invaluable experience and an aura that is sure to make a significant impact with the players, who were perhaps becoming complacent under the previous regime.
One thing you can be assured of with Keane is that everyone will run at 100-per-cent.
A fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring Roy Keane in charge at Salford is the coronavirus relief package we didn’t know we needed.
I can already see it.
The year is 2022: A boardroom full of Manchester United legends sweating profusely and drawing straws to determine which one of them has to tell Roy they’re terminating his contract.
If he does get the job and I’m fortunate enough to attend one of his press conferences, someone please remind me to put my phone on silent.
Keane is undoubtedly box-office – but he’s more than the cantankerous, unimpressionable pundit many of us have come to love watching on a Sunday evening.
He’s a manager hungry to get back on the touchline, prove his doubters wrong, and I for one am here for the ride.
To Neville and his band of merry men… mix business with pleasure.
Make it happen.