Update: Newcastle United have denied reports that Keegan has left the club, saying:
“Kevin has raised a number of issues.
We’d like to stress Kevin is extremely important both now and in the future and want him to continue to play an instrumental role as manager.”
Kevin Keegan isn’t happy with how Newcastle’s transfer window shopping went. To be fair, he has had little control over the moves (or lack thereof); Milner’s transfer happened against his will and higher management (Wise) has failed to offload the deadwood or bring in fresh blood as promised.
Today’s reports suggest that Keegan is in talks with Ashley and some reports suggest that he’s already quit, although I think that’s premature. Keegan may feel that he’s being asked work miracles (especially in light of the City takeover) but if he walks out now, I’d be disappointed.
He’s a better man and a better manager than that. The fans and the players respect him, and everyone associated with the club realises that he’s doing the best he can and unlike Big Sam before him, the respect will carry him through the lows that come as part of any football season.
Running a football club is a difficult business, transfers as we saw yesterday equally so, but the timing of this ‘discussion’ is very suspect. Keegan could have seen at the start of August where this was headed – and although Newcastle have been moderately successful in the opening clashes (1 win, 1 draw, 1 defeat with two of those games away to United and Arsenal), it’s clear that Newcastle do not have the squad to do what the fans and the owner expects them to do.
If Keegan can play this smart and either get control of transfers or work with Wise in offloading the fringe players in January or next summer, then there’s space to move for Newcastle next year. As far as this season is concerned, Newcastle need to work on getting a top-10 finish, a decent cup run and some momentum going with players performing consistently.
If Keegan can do that, and if the board backs him, then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be manager next summer and why he can’t get the players in next year. If Ashley wants more, or if Keegan finds it impossible to work with Wise, he’s going to be out of Newcastle United by sundown, and that’s going to be a bloody shame.