‘Never go back’ might an adage ignored a certain Portuguese coach but Kevin Keegan has highlighted the perils of returning to manage a football club by claiming that his second stint at Newcastle was “an absolute living nightmare”.
The former England coach brought the Magpies to the brink of the Premier League championship in 1996 before a dramatic collapse gifted the title to Manchester United, but his reign in 2008 was something of a false dawn as boardroom struggles hindered the club’s chances of achieving similar success.
And Keegan, who has been out of football since his acrimonious departure, hold the current board entirely responsible for subsequent failures.
“I thought it (the return) could be good, but it was an absolute living nightmare,” he revealed. “Until they (Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias) leave that football club, it has no interest for me.
The two-time boss’ return was heralded by the Geordie faithful, but the appointment turned sour after promised investment wasn’t forthcoming and he was left out of key player deals like the loan signing of Ignacio Gonzalez. Keegan left soon after and won £2million after the Premier League’s arbitration tribunal found that he had been unfairly dismissed - decision that he insists was not against the club but the people in charge.
He said: “I saw it as Mike Ashley, Dennis Wise, a guy called Jimenez and Derek Llambias. They are just custodians who are in for a few years. But Newcastle will go on after Mike Ashley.”