South Africans reveal Keegan meeting
The businessman heading a South African consortium bidding to take over Newcastle has confirmed he has spoken to Kevin Keegan about returning to the club as manager.
Johnathan Cleland met the 57-year-old, whose resignation last month led to protests which sparked Mike Ashley's decision to sell the Magpies, in Manchester on Monday evening and was encouraged by what he heard.
Cleland told the city's evening newspaper, the Evening Chronicle: "My meeting with Kevin went very well. I am hugely impressed with him and I got the sense there is a good chemistry between us and there is a strong mutual interest in working together.
"He is our preferred option, but we can't make any concrete decisions on the management position until negotiations on our planned takeover are further advanced.
"I think he understands and supports our concept of developing the club organically."
Cleland's comments came as the group he leads stepped up their attempts to buy the club.
He revealed his consortium is "80 per cent confident" of managing to push through a deal as up to eight prospective buyers jockey for position.
It is understood Ashley actually valued the club at around £300m and that the South Africans propose to pay half the money up front and the remainder over the following 12 months.
Latest in Sport
England vs New Zealand second Test match report: England’s bold boast turns into hot air and humiliation
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
England 'favourites' to host 2018 World Cup after Sepp Blatter resignation - Qatar and Russia under pressure
Michael Schumacher: Bernie Ecclestone reveals why he can't visit former F1 champion because he 'doesn't want to see him like that'
Brendan Rodgers' job safe for now but Liverpool owners plan for improvement
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers