Kevin Keegan, by Ian Ridley

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The Independent Culture

"I'm the mongrel who made it to Crufts" is how Kevin Keegan once described himself. What he lacked in natural talent he made up for with hard work, rising from Doncaster reject to captain of England, European Cup-winner and twice European Footballer of the Year. Along the way, his financial shrewdness established him as football's first personal brand.

That he is now principally remembered as a quitter has everything to do with his career in management, culminating in his latest departure from Newcastle United, yet in this timely reappraisal, Ian Ridley is careful – and right – to give those illustrious playing days due weight. But the bad times can't be avoided.

There are no startling revelations but it seems the ailing finances of his Soccer Circus in Glasgow were a major factor in Keegan's return to what became a circus of horror at St James' Park. The picture emerges of a man too thin-skinned to cope with modern management. Not the worst manager by any means, but ultimately not best of breed.

Published in hardback by Simon & Schuster, £16.99