Keegan adamant over City departure

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Kevin Keegan has defended his decision to give two years' notice of his Manchester City departure - and confirmed there is no chance of the exit being delayed.

Kevin Keegan has defended his decision to give two years' notice of his Manchester City departure - and confirmed there is no chance of the exit being delayed.

Keegan announced in the summer that he would not be seeking an extension to his current contract, which expires in 18 months time, a move that has returned to prominence over the last fortnight after the coach Stuart Pearce made an early bid for the job.

While welcoming Pearce's interest, City officials have been keen not to embrace it too wildly, for fear they may back themselves into a corner.

Keegan has sent out counter signals, claiming he did not want to play any part in finding his replacement, while at the same time revealing he would be prepared to take a backward step and guide Pearce through the job if it was given to him before the end of next season.

The chairman John Wardle added a further twist to the saga following City's annual general meeting, indicating he had not completely given up all hope of persuading Keegan to stay.

However, the former England manager has firmly quashed any suggestion of a new deal for himself and insisted he is right to reveal his long-term plans even though it has left the Blues with the impression of a club marking time.

"I am cool about my decision to leave, if other people aren't, they need to get their heads round it," he said.

"I will not stay beyond the end of my contract and that will not change, even if we won the FA Cup this season and the Champions' League next.

"It is better for the issue to be in the open because it gives the club plenty of time to look for a successor.

"If, in the meantime, I start to lose my grip on the players, I will lose my job, but that would be the case even if I had a 10-year contract."

Some pundits have been surprised by Keegan's unwillingness to get involved in discussions over his successor, considering he is one of the most experienced football people at the club.

Keegan insists he is responsible for the fortunes of City and is so concerned about the club he would consider leaving early if in the best interests of all.

"If they come to me with three, six or eight months left on my contract and say 'this guy is available' then they just have to sit down with me," he said.

"My only thoughts are for this club and ensuring that when I leave it is in a better state than when I arrived."

Comments