Keane running out of answers at Ipswich
The chant "There's only one Keano" reverberated around Carrow Road midway through the second half of the match between Norwich and Ipswich on Sunday afternoon.
Once upon a time it could be heard at Old Trafford, drifting down from the Stretford End, as Manchester United supporters eulogised their on-field leader.
At Norwich on Sunday, it was an ironic taunt from the home fans as they celebrated their 4-1 victory over Keane's Ipswich in the first East Anglian derby since April 2009.
The chants "Keano give us a wave" and, predictably, "You're getting sacked in the morning" both followed.
The Tractor Boys manager stood stock still on the edge of his technical area as the home fans mocked him. I suspect there was more chance of the Irishman stripping naked in the freezing cold than obliging the home fans by waving in their direction.
But there is no doubt that as the temperatures continue to plummet and the country is plunged into a deep freeze, this is shaping up to be a long and difficult winter for Keane and his ailing team.
In his defence, he is having to deal with an injury crisis that has robbed him of players such as Connor Wickham, Gareth McAuley, Tom Eastman, Mark Kennedy and Luke Hyam.
But even so, the optimism created by a sound start to the season that saw Ipswich lose just once in their opening eight games has now given way to the despondency of four straight league defeats, including the heaviest reverse Town have suffered against Norwich.
And any Ipswich supporters seeking solace from their manager after Sunday's defeat will not have felt much comfort when Keane said: "We don't look like a team that is capable of going on a good run."
It was a breathtakingly honest assessment from the Town manager - and on the evidence at Carrow Road it is hard to disagree. His team were awful in defence, with Norwich and in particular hat-trick hero Grant Holt smashing through the Ipswich backline with disturbing ease and regularity.
Keane's outlook on Ipswich's plight is becoming increasingly forlorn. Photo: Getty Images
Holt's first goal came after he caught Darren O'Dea in possession, while Damien Delaney later saw red for his desperate challenge after the Norwich striker had robbed him of the ball. Keane pointed to the individual errors that are costing his side every week, while adding that he had not hammered his players because they already feel bad enough about the situation.
Yet it was not just the individual mistakes that cost Ipswich. It must be hugely concerning for their supporters to see a back four that seemed unable to line up in a row - it was more of a dog leg than a straight line. Henri Lansbury's brilliant through ball led to Holt's second goal but it nonetheless exposed a central defensive duo that were way too far apart.
While both teams had 11 players on the pitch, the gap between Ipswich's defence and their four players in midfield was so narrow that it left strike duo Jason Scotland and Tamas Priskin far too isolated.
Priskin was lively and there was a period in the first half with the score at 1-1 when the game briefly appeared to be in the balance but, overall, it was a shoddy performance from a Town side that looked short of confidence. Keane has recently insisted that his team was still making progress, but he was less enthusiastic after watching Sunday's display.
"For a month now I have been saying that we are only a few points off the play-offs," added Keane. "But the gap is only getting wider, we have a tough run of games coming up and we have a lot of injuries."
While Norwich under the impressive leadership of Paul Lambert climbed to fifth after their victory, Ipswich have slipped to 16th and are now six points off the top six.
Perhaps most worryingly, Keane looked like a manager who was increasingly short of answers. He had a resigned look about him that I am told resembled his forlorn demeanour towards the end of his time as Sunderland manager.
"I analyse my position every single day and I am just going to try my best to turn this around," added the 39-year-old. "You have to keep going."
Keane was targeted by the Norwich fans on Sunday but in recent weeks he has been booed by his own supporters.
He started with two strikers at Carrow Road but in previous games has often selected a lone frontman - a tactic that has not gone down well with large sections of the Town fanbase. The manager's recent comment that fans should not worry themselves too much about tactics or systems is hardly going to bring them back on board.
There was plenty of bravado from Ipswich supporters on the train to Norwich before the match, especially when any Canaries fans appeared in our carriage, but the discussions I overheard about Ipswich's current position and form was decidedly downbeat. They have now seen their team lose seven of their last nine fixtures.
Ipswich chief executive Simon Clegg recently insisted that "Roy is taking us where we want to get to". Not at the moment he isn't. Keane arrived in April 2009 with the mission of taking Town to the Premier League but those hopes foundered as his team went 14 league games without a victory at the start of the 2009-10 campaign. And as Keane admitted on Sunday, the current Ipswich side seem some way from challenging for a place in the play-offs this time around.
When asked if Clegg's assurances that his job was safe made his task easier, the Irishman deadpanned: "We have heard that before from clubs about managers. I will take that with a pinch of salt."
The Norwich fans are correct in one sense - there really is only one Keano. He is an introspective character with an impenetrable gaze. Remote and unapproachable, a man of huge pride who will stand by his own decisions.
Keane was a ferocious competitor as a player who never took a step backwards but in his first managerial role he walked out of Sunderland in December 2008 after a poor run of form that culminated with a 4-1 defeat against Bolton.
He is unlikely to walk out of Ipswich after Sunday's 4-1 reverse, while we should remember that his team are just six points off the play-offs with 27 games left to play.
But with just over half a season remaining on his current contact, Keane's future at Portman Road appears to be increasingly in the balance.