New details emerge of how Roy Keane ended interest in Sunderland job
Following the sacking of Johnson as Sunderland head coach in January, the club interviewed several candidates including Grant McCann alongside Keane, Sabri Lamouchi and Alex Neil.
But it was Neil who was given the nod over Lamouchi and McCann after talks with Keane broke down.
And now there are fresh reports over how close Keane came to being appointed – and how he ended his interest.
The Telegraph report Keane began to have ‘serious reservations about the management structure and who he would be answering to’.
They added: “It is understood Keane ended his interest in the job, via email, when he was asked to give a breakdown of the Cheltenham Town team, explain which Sunderland side he would have picked and give reasons for the tactics. An inside source has told Telegraph Sport the “email was short and blunt”.”
Neil has since gone on to lead Sunderland to the League One play-offs and they face Sheffield Wednesday over two legs.
Ahead of the first leg, Neil said: "Because of the points we've had to get, I think that's what makes it an achievement [to be in the play-offs].
"To get to the play-offs first and foremost, you might only have to come in and win a few games to get there. To hit two points-per-game over 15 matches and to hit 84 points, that speaks volumes of what the players have done.
"We picked up a squad where some of the younger lads had been flogged and weren't particularly ready, some of the lads we signed in January were lacking game time.
"Some of these variables made it more difficult so to come through unscathed, pick up the points we have in, not a comfortable manner but for it to be in our hands on the final day, was an achievement.
"But as ever, football management is a never-ending mountain climb isn't it? You think you've reached the summit and then all of a sudden you look up and there's another one you're facing."