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Keegan back at Newcastle


lauren

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I hope he does really well there. Not sure he will as the game has moved on since his (sort of) successful days, but I like Keegan. A good, genuine & passionate bloke and in the past he has always been pretty complimentary about Chelsea.

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I was thinking about posting a topic about this with a different subject line. Something like:

Keegan's Circus back in town

or perhaps ...

Send in the Clowns. Don't bother they've all gone to Newcastle.

Proof positive that truth is far stranger than fiction.

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From the Daily Mail just over 11 years ago

Jeff Powell

FANS WEEP AS KING KEVIN ABDICATES

00:00am 9th January 1997

Jeff Powell

THE sensational resignation of Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan left a football-crazy city in mourning yesterday.

Five years of success had turned him into a messiah in the North East and, although the club had still to win a major trophy, pundits were left to puzzle over what had happened to end his reign halfway through the season.

Keegan, 45, has faced enormous pressure in charge of one of the country's biggest clubs. His narrow failure to lift the Premiership title last season left him devastated and he asked to leave then but was dissuaded.

Close friend Terry McDermott, Newcastle's assistant manager, said last

night: `He has decided to put himself and his family first. He put every ounce of his strength into the club and he has been left burnt out by it.'

He said he could see the manager felt `a big load lifted off his shoulders' after making the decision.

Keegan resigned with immediate effect despite having asked to stay until the end of the season.

That fuelled rumours that he had been forced out after a confrontation with the club's volatile chairman Sir John Hall, who was said to have reacted angrily to his latest request.

The theory was supported by leading sports psychologist Dr George Sik who believed the two had not been speaking directly to one another for several months.

Dr Sik, who wrote a book on the psychology of soccer management, said he believed that McDermott had been acting virtually as an intermediary.

The City view was that Keegan's sudden departure may have been the result of the club's intention to float itself on the stock exchange.

If Newcastle had reason to believe he wanted to leave, it would have had to reveal that knowledge in its prospectus to potential investors - or face the prospect of legal action.

A salary of around £750,000 including bonuses - beefed up at the end of last season when he first threatened to go - has been little consolation for the enormous pressures faced by the manager.

Keegan, who wears his heart on his sleeve, reached breaking point after the team's defeat at Blackburn on Boxing Day during a three-month spell without an away win. He once again offered to go but was persuaded not to.

Since joining the club in 1992 he had spent £60million on new players, including a world record £15million for England captain Alan Shearer.

A leading football researcher said he believed Keegan was suffering from acute emotional burn-out. John Williams, of the Sir Norman Chester Football Research Centre at Leicester University, said: `Both fans and directors want accelerated success and that puts almost unbearable pressures on managers.'

Keegan's departure stunned Newcastle's `Toon Army' of fans, hundreds of whom besieged the club's St James's Park ground. Many were in tears and erected banners urging Keegan to change his mind.

Labour leader Tony Blair, a Newcastle fan, was among many to express their sadness. `He's a great guy and it's a great shame,' he said.

THE real surprise is not that Kevin Keegan has walked out on the job of jobs, abandoned the most fervent of the faithful and given up football itself.

It is that he ever came back to the hotbed in the first place.

The simple reason Newcastle is mourning the abrupt departure of The Messiah is unlikely to gratify all those engaged in fanciful psychoanalysis or frenzied rummaging for dark secrets.

There may be all manner of contributory factors to the decision which, as it was aired at dawn, sent waves of grief and disbelief over Geordieland, where football is a fanatical religion.

But the basic truth yesterday - as it has been since the sickly child denied school sports by his bronchitis flogged himself into becoming a football millionaire - is that for Kevin Joseph Keegan, only the best, the absolute best and nothing but the best will do.

If this man detects the slightest blemish in the mirror image of himself as others see him, then the game is up.

Keegan handles criticism as if he has accidentally picked up a rattlesnake.

Anything less than praise unstinted engages him in a reflex battle to control his sense of outrage and injustice.

We are not talking big-headed here. This is not ego run rampant, but an eggshell sensitivity.

As a player, this part of his nature was in part his making. It helped turn a Yorkshire miner's son of small stature and restricted natural talent into the most effective and exciting English footballer of his generation.

In the pressure cooker of management, a torture chamber to which he had vowed never to submit himself, that all-too human flaw became his downfall.

It was the hairline fracture which his arch-rival manager Alex Ferguson prised open last season as Manchester United chiselled away at Newcastle's swaggering 12-point lead and snaffled the Premiership title from under their noses.

Keegan, the boyish and seemingly unquenchable figure who had defied his mother and his GP to run himself healthy through the streets of Doncaster, cracked emotionally on the last lap.

A sudden outburst on camera, when he broke the unwritten rules of football protocol with a passionate verbal attack on Ferguson, foretold the end which somehow startled the public yesterday.

Maybe it wasn't painted up there on the terraced ramparts of Newcastle's stadium, St James's Park. But as his best chance of a first major management trophy to go with all those glittering prizes he won as a player slipped away, the writing was on the wall.

He wanted to go then. Offered to do so. When even some among the black-and-white army of worshippers on Tyneside pointed the finger of blame for that lost championship at the purchase of his exotic but untamed Colombian forward, Faustino Asprilla, he regretted not obeying that trusty instinct of his.

This season has hardly been the sort of disaster which precipitates managerial scalps.

Challenging in the Premiership again, still in the Cup - albeit by a whiskery replay -and through to the quarter-finals in Europe. What more could a 45-year-old folk hero want?

Perfection.

In a perfect world, Newcastle would be defending their title from atop the Premiership, not beginning to wonder ever so slightly where the next away win is coming from.

This time he has listened to his inner voices, just as he has done at all his key moments down the years. Except for when Newcastle talked him out of an eight-year golf retirement in Spain to join them in 1992. And then when the club's presidential owner Sir John Hall sweet-talked him into a U-turn, as Keegan's instinct told him to drive straight back to Spain after just a few weeks of half-broken financial pledges.

Sir John made good his team-building promises and for five years Mr Keegan, OBE, nourished the dream in English football's heartland.

Some say he has grown old in the process, the way Bobby Robson turned grey for England.

Now, as he approaches his 46th birthday on Valentine's Day (sometimes going on 16 and sometimes acting 60) he can go back to his toys. There are the racehorses in training at Lambourn. There are the golf clubs and the tennis racquets down at the lush hacienda in southern Spain.

There's the luxury retreat in Florida now that he has no professional necessity to brave these bitter English winters at the family's main rural home outside Southampton. And if he does get withdrawal symptoms from all the hero-worship in the North East, then there's the mansion on Sir John Hall's landed estate.

When the tack-sharp mind needs exercising he can attend personally to a discreet portfolio of business interests and when emotional instincts beckon he can devote himself to his lovely wife Jean and daughter Laura-Jane, 12, and Sarah-Marie, nine.

The watersheds in his life are invariably well defined.

At 17, he chose wholly unfashionable but utterly professional Sc**thorpe United at which to serve his apprenticeship. It was the honest kind of player-producing club to which Bill Shankly, the legendary manager of Liverpool, was in the habit of taking his wife on their anniversary nights out in the hope of finding himself a hidden jewel as a present.

Three years later, Keegan was on his way to Liverpool, to European Cup glory, to England's World Cup teams, to stardom.

And to riches.

It was on the eve of his England debut that he and I first talked at length. En route to playing Wales in Cardiff the team camped, like invaders-in-waiting, at a hotel overlooking the Severn Bridge.

He spoke of how his father had toiled for a pittance down a Yorkshire pit, of how he started his own working life at Pegler's steelworks in Doncaster, of how those privations had nurtured the self-made footballer.

And he said how grateful he would always be for all the bounties bestowed on him by the game.

The compliments flowed along with his football. But then, when England in the person of Don Revie dropped him just once to refocus that mind, he walked out on his country.

It was the same then as it is now and he knew that at least one of his own idols knew it.

`I like Kevin,' said Bobby Moore, captain of England's 1966 World Cup winners. `But this raises a question mark about how great he might become.

If you want to play for England you don't run home to mum if the going gets tough. But if you want an easy life that's exactly where you belong.'

He is not afraid to court controversy - or go to court for that matter, as he did to help convict three men for assault after the bizarre incident in which he was struck with baseball bats while sleeping in his car in a lay-by.

Such affronts bring out the defiance in him. Two days after being beaten up by Communist border guards upon arrival at Belgrade airport, he pulled his England shirt over his bruised face and sore ribs and ran Yugoslavia ragged.

Kevin Keegan usually gets the last laugh. And whether or not he finds it amusing to return to managing his money, feeding his horses and paring his single-figure golf handicap, football will be the poorer for this loss.

Having twice revived the pride and the passion of Newcastle - as both player and manager - he suspects he can take them no further.

Keegan senses his moment has passed.

Passed imperfect.

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KK is a decent man and I have no reason to dislike him.

He done the right thing when he walked away from the England job,he was honest and held his hands up.

Cant fault him for wearing his heart on his sleave.

He understands supporters.

Fair play to him!!

Good luck to him!

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I'm delighted to see him back in the game because he's great entertainment though I think he should be someone else's sidekick. As a motivator he is tops but as a tactician he is the pits.

Shame Jose isn't still around cos if Fergie made him talk gibberish imagine what Jose would have done to him.

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the beeb's coverage tonight made me want to pUKe.gif

all the camera shots of ashley (what an idiot for all his cash), their chairman and keegan celebarting an easy win over championship side stoke as if everything is ok now...the beeb should be ashamed having also made the game the main event on radio five...the real story of tonight was havant and waterlooville...as a fan of the fa cup that's the tie I wanted to see and that's the tie that is the romance of the competition...keegan is a newcastle affair, the fa cup is for the nation

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KK is a decent man and I have no reason to dislike him.

He done the right thing when he walked away from the England job,he was honest and held his hands up.

Cant fault him for wearing his heart on his sleave.

He understands supporters.

Fair play to him!!

Good luck to him!

here here.

i like him, hes a decent bloke. limited manager but a decent bloke, he is going to find it tough but i wish him well

as nibs said, he has always been nice to us in the past too.

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KK is a decent man and I have no reason to dislike him.

He done the right thing when he walked away from the England job,he was honest and held his hands up.

Cant fault him for wearing his heart on his sleave.

He understands supporters.

Fair play to him!!

Good luck to him!

Well said Rob.

I hope he says to Duffer - "Go out there and enjoy yourself son".

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the real story of tonight was havant and waterlooville...as a fan of the fa cup that's the tie I wanted to see and that's the tie that is the romance of the competition

I wish we had drawn them in the 4th round. Oh well we might still get them in the next round.

As for Keegan at Newcastle I only say "what’s wrong with them?"

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