Prawn Sandwich #2

Last updated : 15 August 2007 By Editor

Keano is talking, mainly, about his frustration to attract players to the North East:

"Priorities have changed for footballers and they are being dictated to by their wives and girlfriends.

"I find it surprising that geography seems to play such a big part, or that players let their wives decide. I think it's weak. You see it with a couple of big players now. Clearly their wives and girlfriends are running their lives and that's a bad sign. I realise it is part of the package and more so when there are children and schools involved, but ultimately you're a footballer.

"Retire at 35 or 36, you can live wherever you bloody well like - London, Monaco, wherever - and any half-decent footballer will be a multi-millionaire anyway. Why is there such a big attraction with London? It would be different if it was Chelsea, Arsenal or maybe Tottenham, but when they go to a smaller club just because it's in London, then it's clearly because of the shops.

"Their priorities are not the same as mine. We will do the best for our players' families, but we've had a player this summer who didn't even ring us back because his wife wanted to move to London. And shopping was mentioned. It might astonish many people, but it's true.

"That's not a football move, it's a lifestyle move. To me that player is weak.

"It happens at big clubs, too. I could name players whose wives and girlfriends are running their lives, doing photo shoots, that kind of stuff. They say they're not comfortable doing it - well don't. And these so-called stars are people we're supposed to look up to. Well, they're weak. They're soft.

"People who get bored coming up here are bored for one reason - because they're boring.

"A couple of years ago, I nearly went to Juventus. People spoke to me about Turin and said, 'Ooh, Milan would be nicer'. But I replied that I wouldn't be going there for the bloody shops. It should be a footballing decision. In the same way, you don't need to live in London or Manchester to be happy, or be surrounded by expensive shops or fancy cars.

"What's your priority? My wife and her shopping, or my football? Or money? If someone doesn't want to come to Sunderland because their wife likes shopping in London, it's a sad state of affairs."