Newcastle will never flourish under Ashley, claims Keegan

Club's 'Messiah' hails sacked Hughton for his success in 'impossible environment'

Just about anyone who's anyone has had their say on Newcastle's latest self-inflicted turmoil this week, apart from Kevin Keegan.

Tyneside's "Messiah" put that right yesterday, and considering his acrimonious history with Mike Ashley, his conclusion as to where the root of the problem can be found was somewhat predictable.

"You'll never get stability when you have Mike Ashley and [managing director] Derek Llambias running the club," Keegan insisted as Alan Pardew prepares to take charge for the first time with this evening's Premier League visit by Liverpool.

In a no-holds barred verbal assault on the Newcastle owner, Keegan added: "Ashley has made no secret that he wants to sell Newcastle, and the best day will come when someone buys it from him and runs Newcastle like the club should be run."

Keegan's passion for the club he played for and managed on three separate occasions is seemingly undiminished in the two years since he resigned in protest at the club's transfer policy under Ashley. He added: "The club can never go anywhere under them, it can't go anywhere, I promise you that." Many would disagree with claims of inertia. It threatens to go backwards.

Keegan was Ashley's first managerial appointment at St James' Park, the populist choice to replace Sam Allardyce in January 2008. Just eight months later he was gone, amid claim and counter claim, the upshot of which saw him awarded £2m for constructive dismissal in October 2009. The £25m he had wanted for lost earnings and "stigma" damages, suggested some supporters, betrayed his true feelings towards a club which risked going into administration had the 59-year-old's claim proved wholly successful.

His experience puts him in a position to sympathise with Chris Hughton, sacked as manager earlier in a week that has also seen Newcastle turn down West Ham's £1.25m bid for midfielder Joey Barton. "I don't understand the decision to get rid of Chris," Keegan said. "I lived with these same people for eight months, I didn't understand them then and I don't understand them now. I don't think many of the fans do.

"When a man buys a club like Ashley did and he knows as little about football as he does, he's likely to make these sort of mistakes and still think he's doing OK. When you get the fans saying it's the wrong decision, when you get the players saying it's wrong and the press saying it's wrong, it tells you that the decision is the wrong one.

"The news won't have come as a total surprise to Chris, having worked with the people he had been working with for the best part of two and a bit years. He knew what he was dealing with. It's almost impossible to work in that environment, and that's why I take my hat off to him for getting on with it for as long as he did. He hung in there, and did a great job under difficult circumstances, with very little investment."

Keegan has more than a passing acquaintance with Pardew, who he expects to be given a fair hearing by supporters, who he insists should grind their axe with Ashley and Ashley alone. He added: "Alan's a good lad, I know him well. He's dedicated and he works very hard. The sad thing is he's getting off on the wrong foot through no fault of his own.

"Any criticism will be levelled at Llambias and Ashley, because it's their decision. The fans would be wrong to pick on Alan. If results don't go well then they may start to voice discontent, but Alan is just the meat in the middle of the sandwich."

The departed Hughton, who turns 52 today will be in the players' thoughts as they look to stem a five-game winless run that has seen them drop into the bottom half of the table.

"We've accepted what's happened and we're concentrating on getting a good result against Liverpool," captain Kevin Nolan said. "I speak for all the players when I say we're disappointed to see Chris leave, it's no secret that everyone was saddened to see him go. It's been a tough week but we have to put it behind us and move on." It's advice Keegan would do well to follow.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
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

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum