Newcastle continue talks with Keegan

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Newcastle today confirmed that talks between manager Kevin Keegan and the club are ongoing.

After a day of intense speculation over the 57-year-old's position on Tyneside, the Magpies have reiterated that the former England boss has not been sacked, nor has he resigned.

A club statement said: "Newcastle United Football Club can confirm that discussions are ongoing between the board and Kevin Keegan.

"Both the club and Kevin would like to reiterate that Kevin remains as manager.

"He has not resigned nor has he been sacked, as has been confirmed in respective statements made by Kevin and Newcastle United Football Club."

The latest statement, which followed one released last night amid reports that Keegan was no longer the manager at St James' Park, will simply serve to increase the intrigue over a situation which is remarkable even by the standards of a club with an astonishing capacity for attracting headlines.

Keegan is understood to have taken legal advice and contacted the League Managers' Association over his plight.

Keegan is known to have been unhappy with the way summer recruitment plans were handled with owner Mike Ashley implementing a policy which targeted up and coming players rather than the statement signings for which Keegan had hoped.

In addition, Newcastle's efforts to reduce the wage bill by attempting to offload some of their highest earners, and James Milner's £12m switch to Aston Villa, did not go down well with a man whose squad was already under great pressure because of both a lack of numbers and injuries.

Some reports have suggested Keegan's continued presence at St James' Park is simply the result of his need to sort out a compensation package ahead of his inevitable departure.

That prospect attracted a furious response from supporters who gathered outside St James' as the rumours grew yesterday, and there was little doubt on which side of the fence their loyalties lay.

Ashley and executive director (football) Dennis Wise, the man the billionaire employed to head up the club's recruitment department, bore the brunt of the anger, and the club can expect more of the same if Keegan does eventually sever his ties with the Magpies.

Keegan arrived back on Tyneside to a hero's welcome in January after Ashley sprang a major surprise to appoint him as Sam Allardyce's successor.

At the time, the fans settled back and waited for the millions to start flowing and the big names to arrive.

However, that has not happened - indeed, most of the noises coming out of St James' since have suggested a new frugality.

Harry Redknapp suspects Keegan's second spell at St James' Park is over and urged the Newcastle boss to walk away if he has been shown a lack of respect.

Portsmouth boss Redknapp, who was approached to take over Newcastle when Allardyce was sacked, claimed Keegan's "pride" is at stake.

"Only Kevin would know if he's been undermined. From an outsider's point of view we don't know what's happened," said the Portsmouth boss.

"But Kevin knows. He's a proud man and if he feels he's been undermined then he must make a decision over his future.

"Pride's at stake and if he feels he's not been treated with the respect he deserves then he'll have to walk.

"Only Kevin knows if players have been sold without his knowledge but it has happened to a few clubs recently.

"Hopefully there's a way of getting everything back on track but I wouldn't bet on it now."

Redknapp admitted he was surprised by the rapid deterioration of Keegan's relationship with the club following reported clashes over Newcastle's transfer policy.

"It's been an amazing turnaround in football so far this week," he said.

"If you're a Man City fan you're probably delighted by what's gone on.

"If you're a Newcastle fan you're probably very disturbed by what's happened.

"Suddenly yesterday Kevin seemed gone and no-one really knew what had happened. Only he and the chairman truly know.

"The owner's a nice guy who has put his money in and bought the club.

"So is Kevin - he's a popular and passionate guy and everyone loves him."

Former England midfielder Jamie Redknapp insisted Keegan's position had been rendered "untenable".

"The situation at Newcastle is a little bit of a worry because Kevin is someone that everyone has a lot of respect for," he said.

"The sooner it gets resolved the better because Newcastle is a fabulous club that shouldn't be getting the press it does.

"What's happened makes it difficult for him - his position is almost untenable now.

"I hoped it gets sorted out as soon as possible because Kevin Keegan is a fantastic football person and he deserves better than that."