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Robbie Keane Signs For Coventry

6 million Robbie Keane finally signed on the dotted line for Coventry City tonight to complete Sky Blues’ biggest signing in their history.

Coventry’s manager Gordon Strachan admitted at a media conference that he had followed Keane’s progress at Wolves with envy.

"Mark McGhee is my best mate in football and used to go across to watch his team. Chris Turner, another good mate, was Robbie’s youth coach at Wolves, so I know all about him. I used to watch his progress with envy because I could not play him in my team.

"When the chairman telephoned me to say he was on the motorway on his way to make a big signing I must admit I didn’t realise there was so much money in the coffers.

"Speculation about Robbie had been going on for over a year and I was impressed with the way he handled it. There was a lot of pressure on the young man but during it he improved as a player. That showed me he is mentally strong.

"I see him either as a goal scorer or a goal creator. He can do either job. He is one of the best prospects in the game and it says a lot for Wolves youth system. They have brought him up the right way.

"A few people may scratch their heads and wonder why he has come to us. Well we are having a bash at it. People should say ‘good for them’. Some people talk ambition, but we set out to try and do it; action not words.

"Any transfer is a gamble. This is a courageous move by us. We watch players for a long time but we have done more homework on Robbie than anyone else."

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had said that Keane was overpriced, but Strachan responded:

"Time will tell.

"Robbie is self motivated and self-motivated players make my job easier. He know where he wants to go in life and I like that."

Referring to the long drawn out attempts to sign him by Aston Villa Keane said:

"I am glad it’s all over. I am pleased it’s settled because it has been going on for a long time.

"I did want to play in the Premiership with Wolves but it was not to be. But they are a big club and I am sure they will get there. Maybe the money they have got for me will enable them to do it.

"I had a long talk with Gordon Strachan before I signed and he told me about Coventry’s hopes and ambitions. He told me about the new stadium being built over the next two years and it is all very exciting.

"I wanted to be part of it. I also knew of Mr Strachan’s reputation for improving young players. He has played football at the very highest level and all that came into it.

"The size of the fee does not bother me. I just want to concentrate 100% on my football."

A questioner who asked whether there was a ‘get out’ clause in Keane’s contract allowing him to leave if Coventry should be relegated was answered by chairman Bryan Richardson with a peremptory:

"Contracts are private between the player and the club."

Strachan said the new man would play against Derby County at Highfield Road on Saturday and Richardson paid tribute to Wolves:

"They were exemplary and very professional. We had a nice meeting and the deal was done in an hour."

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Staying Up by Rick Gekoski

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 19 Aug 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM