Growing up on the not-so-mean streets of the Tallaght in South Dublin, a young, bright-eyed Robbie Keane had many dreams.
While just dreaming of becoming a professional footballer would be enough for the average aspiring young player, a boy-aged Keane could scarcely suffice with just dreaming for that alone. Ambition, after all, should never be limited.
You see, the nubile Robbie Keane dreamed of one day plying his trade for not just one club when he grew up. How short sighted. Instead, Robbie dreamed of playing for many illustrious football cubs. But how do I know this when I’ve never interviewed him?
Well, he’s publicly admitted as much… several times.
Crumlin United to Wolverhampton Wanderers (1997)
“I had expected to be playing in the reserves and, all going well, that I might get a chance in the first team towards the end of the season. But it has all happened much faster than I could ever have thought.” – Robbie Keane
I couldn’t find a damn thing about Keane signing a professional contract with Wolves on the internet, mostly because the web hardly existed then and I don’t feel like paying to read old newspaper archives. So I just posted the earliest quote from the kid I could find. But I’m guessing making the rapid jump from Dublin small-time to the England big-time was dream worthy. (Not such a Source: The Independent – 22 November, 1997)
Wolves to Coventry City (1999)
“All being well it will be one of the great signings for Coventry City that has ever taken place.”
If I became the most expensive teenager in British history, I would certainly be living in a dream scenario. And based on Richardson’s statement above, the then-City chairman clearly thought it was dream-worthy to land the 19-year-old Keano. (Source: The Mirror – 19 August, 2009) Apparently though, they didn’t let teenage signings speak to the press about their arrivals at a new club that time, since no quotes from Keane could be unearthed about his signing. However, he did provide this snippet after scoring two goals on his dream debut:
“With all due respect, I have nothing to prove about my worth to anyone.” – Robbie Keane
It seems that, if nothing else, he was cocky as hell about it. (Source: Sunday Mirror – 18 August, 2009)
Coventry to Internazionale (2000)
“I am absolutely delighted at the prospect of joining a world famous club like Inter.” – Robbie Keane
Despite likely being one of the two biggest clubs he has ever played for, it seems that this wasn’t a club that Keane dreamed of playing for. Instead, he was just “delighted.” This should hardly be surprising though. After all, kids from the British Isles always tend to hate playing on the continent. (Source:The Independent – 30 July, 2000)
Inter to Leeds United (2001)
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Robbie wasn’t dreaming as a child that his eventual move to an Italian giant would end in just 6 months later. A return to Leeds, initially on loan, would save him. And since I can’t find a quote on it, I’m guessing he never dreamed it.
Leeds to Tottenham Hotspur (2002)
“I know I said I didn’t really want to leave Leeds but when I came here to talk to Glenn his long-term plans appealed to me and that is why I am now a Tottenham player.”
– Robbie Keane
Shit… let’s just ignore this one, alright? I mean, it would be my dream move to be signed by Spurs, even if it was in a desperate, cut-rate fire sale to attempt to keep my old club from going under. Sadly, no matter what I say or dream of, that doesn’t change whether or not Robbie dreamed of playing for Spurs. Sigh. (Source: BBC – 31 August, 2002)\
Though to be fair, he probably did dream of moving back to Spurs after his disastrous spell at his next club.
Tottenham to Liverpool (2008)
“I’m not saying it wouldn’t have happened if I’d come to Anfield then (1997), but I always held out hope that I’d come back and this is a real dream come true for me.” – Robbie Keane
I feel inclined to believe Robbie on this one, as it’s been reported for a long time that he’s been a life-long Scouser supporter. But, I feel fairly safe in assuming that he never dreamed that the experience would effectively be a disastrous, 6-month, £8 million loan. (Source: The Sun – 30 July, 2008)
Tottenham to Celtic (2010)
“I always wanted to play for Celtic. I’m happy to be here and I can’t wait to get the jersey on for real.”
– Robbie Keane
So he didn’t exactly say that it was a dream of his to play for Celtic, instead saying that he “always wanted to play” for the Hoops. And I’m confused, because he said when he joined Liverpool that the Mereysiders were the club he supported growing up. Huh. But apparently Robbie Jr. playing for Celtic was his deceased father’s dream, and Harry Redknapp was even quoted as saying, “He’s a big Celtic man, it’s a dream come true for him.” Therefore, I am confident that this was a dream of his, too. (Source: The Sun – 3 February, 2010)
Tottenham to L.A. Galaxy (2011)
“I have always wanted to come and play in MLS so it’s the perfect combination for me and a dream come true.”
– Robbie Keane
Considering that Robbie was 12 when the first MLS match was played in 1993, I’m beginning to suspect that the Irishman has some skills in clairvoyance in addition to his fading footballing ones. I also suspect that he was eager to take a big MLS pay-day for less work than is required at a Premier League club, assuming there were even offers from England’s top flight. (Source: Irish Times – 16 August, 2011)
I don’t have any proof, but I have to imagine that Keane’s boyhood moto went something like, “I want nothing more than to be an extremely expensive journeyman striker.” And, to give credit where credit is due, he’s done just that.
Dream on, Mr. Keane: who knows to what heights they’ll take you next. China? Malaysia? Maybe even Ireland…