Preston were looking for a new manager at the end of last season and went for Frankie McAvoy – but did they also have a look at Roy Keane?
North End sacked Alex Neil back in March, and handed the reins to his assistant coach McAvoy until the end of the season.
Just one defeat in eight with five wins along the way saw McAvoy land the job, with his appointment on a permanent basis confirmed on May 10th.
McAvoy finds himself under pressure at Deepdale after just one win in the first four Championship league games, losing the other three.
The Scot will absolutely get more time to turn things around, and the hope is that Preston will ultimately pick up results like they did at the end of last season.
Many are fascinated by the other managers who wanted the job though.
The Guardian reported in July that Preston had more than 70 applicants for the job, but ignored them all for McAvoy.
One name that could have been on the list is Roy Keane, who made interesting comments when speaking to Gary Neville on The Overlap with Sky Sports.
Keane claims to have held talks with one Championship club back in May, discussing a potential vacancy.
Keane stated that the club’s chairman came to his house for talks, but he didn’t end up getting the job.
“I’ve had interviews recently. Well, I spoke to a Championship club about three months ago,” said Keane. “It was very casual, very casual, it was at my house. The chairman, to be fair he was straight up, he said ‘we just want somebody who comes in and wins football matches’. That was fine with me, I didn’t have to break down styles of play,” he added.
Let’s look at the vacancies around this time.
Birmingham City sacked Aitor Karaoke just days before Neil’s Preston exit, but appointed Lee Bowyer the very same day, so it wasn’t them.
Sam Allardyce and Paul Heckingbottom did leave their posts at West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United in May, but only towards the end of the month.
Both ended up going down the route of foreign managers in Valerian Ismael and Slavisa Jokanovic respectively, so Keane may not have quite fit their approach.
Barnsley’s vacancy only came up after Ismael’s exit in June, and they again looked to Austria for a manager, as is their usual style.
Bournemouth and Fulham were in the hunt for managers, but made their appointed in late June or early June – too far out from the Keane timeline.
By process of elimination, there seems to be a real chance that the club Keane was talking about was indeed Preston.
Keane was born in Cork over in Ireland, and owner Trevor Hemmings has close ties to Cork.
He owns the Trabolgan Holliday Village in Cork and has strong horse racing links there too. He even looked into a Cork City takeover in recent times.
Keane’s ties to the city may have put him on Hemmings’ radar, and he certainly knows the North West having been a Manchester United hero.
Keane’s comments seem to be a hint that Preston were keen, and it will be interesting to see whether he ends up on the radar again whenever North End next seek a new manager.