Fans back Keegan but Shepherd has doubts

On the day both the caretaker manager, Glenn Roeder, and long-term heir apparent, Alan Shearer, confirmed they had no immediate desire to take control of first-team affairs full-time, no obvious queue of possible successors to Graeme Souness had formed.

However, in the pubs, clubs, offices and betting shops of Newcastle, one name, above all others, emerged as the popular choice to revive this sleeping giant of English football for a third time. Available, local and possessing a cute sense of public relations savvy, Kevin Keegan's name is never too far away when it comes to assessing the future, past and present of the Magpies. No wonder, therefore, that his odds to become the next manager of the club were slashed from 33-1 to 12-1 overnight.

Time is a great healer and the Toon Army would be prepared to forgive Keegan his ignominious exit in January 1997 for the opportunity to relive the days when Newcastle's "entertainers" were every opposition fan's favourite second team. Two of Keegan's former players, John Beresford and Robert Lee, wasted no time in mentioning their one-time mentor's name when quizzed on the best man to replace Souness, but Shepherd remains sceptical.

United's chairman cannot afford to make another mistake following the hasty dismissal of Sir Bobby Robson and the disastrous appointment of Souness. For now, it seems, Keegan remains the romantic, rather than the realistic, choice.

"I don't know what type of person I want to come," said Shearer, who signed for Keegan in a £15m transfer from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 1996. "I'm not thinking about it and we've just got to see how we get on. I'm not sure if there will be an appointment in two days, weeks or months. But I'm not ready for it. I don't have the experience.

"I've had a title of player-coach since signing the extension to my contract. Glenn, I'm sure, will want to bounce ideas off me as much or as little as he likes. The best way to assist him is with performances that will put us up the table.

"Glenn will do the majority of it and he's not coming in without experience. He's got the respect of the boys and spoke to us on Thursday to make it clear what he expects. He's honest and open and can sleep at night because of that."

Roeder, the antithesis of Keegan, is a quiet and considered coach completely in control of his emotions. While recognising the raw passion and wild expectation which underpins Newcastle's very existence, the former Newcastle centre-half and current Academy director boasts a canny knack of keeping his personal and professional life firmly in perspective.

After recovering from a brain tumour, diagnosed during his spell as West Ham United's manager, Roeder has no desire to thrust himself back into the Premiership limelight long-term and would prefer to groom the next generation of St James' Park favourites. The immediate future, however, excites him. "I didn't need any persuading to take the role, the void had to be filled," explained Roeder. "It's a disappointment when managers lose their jobs and Graeme's been good to me.

"But the only constant in football is change and the wheel turned again. The chairman needed a caretaker and I was the obvious choice. I've been here before, in terms of working with top players, and I'm confident in my ability.

"When caretakers are asked if they want the job they answer 'no' when they mean 'yes'. But I don't want to manage Newcastle full-time and that's the truth.

"After my health scare it was a family decision to pursue putting something back into the game by unearthing young talent. Nothing has changed in that respect." Roeder was still celebrating guiding Newcastle's juniors into the quarter-finals of this season's FA Youth Cup when he was approached to oversee first-team affairs. Now he must leave the club's youngsters in the capable hands of Peter Beardsley and Kenny Wharton and focus fully on overcoming fellow strugglers Portsmouth at St James' Park this afternoon.

As a capacity crowd nervously anticipates the dawning of yet another new era today, Roeder expects the race to succeed Souness will quickly gather pace.

"For somebody, there's a chance of being the first United manager to win the FA Cup and FA Youth Cup in the same season," he said. "For that young motivated manager, with a track record, this is a great opportunity. If you've got something about you, this is a job to die for."

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
arts + entsJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Life and Style
tech

Did she really send it? And if so, what on?

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin married in Venice yesterday
peopleAmal and George Clooney 'planning third celebration in England'
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley at the premiere of Laggie at Toronto Film Festival 2014
theatreActress 'to make Broadway debut'
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker