In selecting Kevin Keegan as the next Newcastle United manager, Mike Ashley went for the guy with passion and experience (with passion playing a major role here) – and the last man to bring Newcastle United within touching distance of winning the Premier League.
If Kev is going to do a repeat (or do one better), he has one helluva task ahead of him – the league is tougher, the top four (or top 3, rather) are impenetrable and a host of rising clubs (with years of team-building behind them) stand between Newcastle United and a European place.
The expectations will be ridiculously high and that’s a shame because KK, and Newcastle United, deserve better. Here’s a club that needed massive rebuilding from the ground up, a club where the most recent rebuilding process was uprooted and thrown away because Mike Ashley wanted his own man in (Kev is probably better than Sam anyway, but only time and future Newcastle United performances will tell us for sure), and now the rest of the season will be spent rebuilding again.
With Keegan, Newcastle United fans will be more tolerant – they’ll give him time to rebuild, at least this season and this summer, but come 08/09 and the pressure on the new Newcastle United manager will be massive. He will be expected to put out a team that fights AND entertains – two traits that Sam Allardyce’s Newcastle United lacked. If he can do one of the two, he can expect more time. If he can pull off both, then he’ll get more time from the fans.
Keegan is also the one person whose position would not be overly threatened by the fans’ support for Shearer – but already there are reports that Shearer may be brought in some sort of advisory capacity or perhaps as a second to Keegan with a view of him taking over in the long run (and that would create a whole new set of speculation).
At the end of the day though, Kevin Keegan needs to deliver results, and that means Uefa Cup qualification – and that’s the only question people will be asking: can he bring glory to Newcastle United?