The Keegan years: Player by player guide to the signings that transformed a club By Liam James

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The Independent Online
Kevin Sheedy

From Everton (Feb 92) free

To Cardiff (93) free

Keegan's first outright signing, the Welsh-born Ireland international wove the odd bit of magic in fight against relegation from old Second Division and in championship-winning team in the new First Division.

Darron McDonagh

From Luton (Feb 92) pounds 90,000

Retired through injury (94)

Keegan's first stab at a Batty-type midfielder, the veteran of two League Cup finals with Luton was an unqualified flop. Could not stay the pace on debut, played two more games, and was hampered by injury thereafter.

Brian Kilcline

From Oldham (Mar 92) pounds 250,000

To Swindon (Jan 94) pounds 100,000

Getting the cash to sign him was a reason for Keegan's early walk-out. The rugged centre-half was rated by Keegan as the main reason Newcastle avoided relegation to the old Third Division.

Peter Garland

From Spurs (Mar 92) pounds 35,000 To Charlton (93) pounds 50,000

Another of Keegan's early duds. Possessed neither sufficient pace nor power. The young midfielder played twice before returning to London.

John Beresford

From Portsmouth (Jun 92) pounds 650,000

An England B left-back, is Keegan's longest surviving signing. Was lured to Tyneside after Liverpool pulled out of a deal because of injury fears. Known as "dodgy Barnet" by David Ginola.

Paul Bracewell

From Sunderland (Jun 92) pounds 250,000

To Sunderland (Jun 95) pounds 60,000

Midfield anchorman in promotion side and in team which finished third in Premiership two seasons ago.

Barry Venison

From Liverpool (Jul 92) pounds 250,000

To Galatasaray (Jun 95) pounds 750,000

Another dodgy haircut and another snip for Keegan. Starred at right-back in First Division, sparkled at the centre of defence in Premiership. The former Sunderland captain's part in a wine bar incident at a Bournemouth hotel stayed inked in Keegan's black book.

Robert Lee

From Charlton (Sept 92) pounds 700,000

"He was a corporal when he came here but now he's a general," Keegan said of the Eng;land midfielder he rates as his best-value buy. While he pondered an offer from Lennie Lawrence, Keegan famously told him Newcastle was closer to his native London than Middlesbrough. Worried that new signings might edge him out this season, rang Arsenal's Club Call line after reading reports linking him to Highbury.

Scott Sellars

From Leeds (Mar 93) pounds 700,000

To Bolton (Dec 95) pounds 700,000

Newcastle fell apart last season after he was injured. Knee injury threatened his career and, even though he returned, wanted first-team football at 30 rather than covering for Ginola.

Mark Robinson

From Barnsley (Mar 92) pounds 450,000

To Swindon (94) pounds 500,000

Made bright start as forceful right-back/midfielder but lost some pace and bite after cruciate knee ligament damage.

Andy Cole

From Bristol City (Mar 92) pounds 1.75m

To Man Utd (Jan 95) pounds 7m

Save for final barren run, seemed (as the chant went) to score every time he got the ball. Scored 68 goals in 84 games, a club strike rate bettered only by Hughie Gallacher.

Peter Cormack

From Meadowbank (Jul 92) pounds 10,000

To Morton (94) free

Son of Keegan's former Liverpool team-mate never made it beyond the reserves.

Nicodemus Papavasiliou

From OFI Crete (Jul 93) pounds 125,000

To OFI (Dec 94) pounds 25,000

"People think I signed a Greek waiter but he's a quality international," Keegan said of the skilful Cypriot, who impressed in midfield in the opening weeks of Newcastle's first Premiership season but whose individualistic streak did not suit Keegan.

Peter Beardsley

From Everton (Jul 93) pounds 1.35m

Sir John Hall wouldn't part with so much cash for a 32-year- old until Keegan told him the white lie that Sunderland were preparing a bid. Undoubtedly Keegan's most satisfying buy. Keegan says he could play on to "a Stanley Matthews type age"; Colleagues jokingly refer to Keegan's head boy as the next manager of Newcastle.

Alex Mathie

From Morton (Jul 1993) pounds 285,000

To Ipswich (Feb 95) pounds 500,000

Scottish striker only started three Premier games for Newcastle but scored four goals.

Malcolm Allen

From Millwall (Aug 93) pounds 300,000

Retired with injury (Dec 95)

Signed as a stand-in for the injured Beardsley, the former Welsh international scored seven goals in 12 games but was only a fringe player.

Mike Hooper

From Liverpool (Sept 93) pounds 550,000

A keen ornithologist, has spent most of his time at St James' Park watching the Magpies. Keegan threatened to quit when the goalkeeper received hate mail after falling victim to a Matthew Le Tissier free-kick in January 1994.

Mike Jeffrey

From Doncaster (Oct 93) pounds 60,000

To Rotherham (Jun 95) pounds 100,000

Midfielder/striker now with Fortuna Sittard, impressed in the three full first-team games he played but had no long-term place in Keegan's plans.

Chris Holland

From Preston (Jan 94) pounds 100,000

Labelled the new Gazza by Keegan. Would not stay at Preston because of John Beck's love of the long ball. Has had operation to improve 75 per cent vision in right eye since a random ammonia spraying incident in a New- castle bar last summer. Was called up to train with senior England squad before match against Portugal in December. Still only 20, and could prove to be one of Keegan's best investments.

Ruel Fox

From Norwich (Feb 94) pounds 2.25m

To Spurs (Oct 95) pounds 4.2m

England B international, a favourite with the Toon Army. Led assists table in Newcastle's flying start last season, but didn't want to wait in the wings when Keith Gillespie and Ginola became Keegan's first-choice wide men.

Darren Peacock

From QPR (Mar 94) pounds 2.7m

By his own admission was a less than proud performer last season. His form this term, however, has justified his fee. Keegan calls the Bristolian his "Steve Bruce".

Marc Hottiger

From FC Sion (Jul 94) pounds 520,000

pounds 700,000 move to Everton has been agreed pending a work permit. A swift counter- attacker and excellent crosser, the Swiss right-back did have holes exposed in his defensive game last season. As a part-time player in Switzerland, organised pop concerts with the likes of Sting and Michael Jackson in Lausanne.

Jason Drysdale

From Watford (Aug 94) pounds 425,000

To Swindon (Mar 95) pounds 300,000

Failed to make the first-team grade and never looked like challenging Beresford for the left-back spot.

Steve Guppy

From Wycombe (Aug 94) pounds 150,000

To Port Vale (Nov 94) pounds 225,000

Keegan made pounds 75,000 profit on the one-time bricklayer, despite deeming him not quite good enough to replace the injured Sellars last season. Only first-team appearance was as a substitute in Coca-Cola Cup.

Philippe Albert

From Anderlecht (Aug 94) pounds 2.65m

Likened to Ruud Krol by Johan Cruyff, who balked at Anderlecht's pounds 3.75m asking price two seasons ago. Elegant central defender has become a favourite son of the crowd. Christened "Prince" by Beresford, scored winner for Belgium against Holland in the 1994 World Cup. "There's no one else like him in English football," Keegan says.

Paul Kitson

From Derby (Sept 94) pounds 2.25m

A better link man than leader of the forward line. Struggled to follow Cole last season. Injuries haven't helped him and the signing of Asprilla has pushed him down the pecking order.

Keith Gillespie

From Man Utd (Jan 95) pounds 1m

So-called "makeweight" in the Cole transfer. In excellent form at the start of the season, Belfast prison officer's son has struggled with injury and loss of form of late.

Jimmy Crawford

From Bohemians (Mar 95) pounds 75,000

Chicago-born, Dublin-raised, Ireland under-21 midfielder has made only one senior appearance to date.

Warren Barton

From Wimbledon (Jun 95) pounds 4m

Rejected after an apprenticeship with Orient, the Londoner is now an international and English football's most expensive defender. Jim Smith wanted to sign him from Maidstone in 1990 but Newcastle's directors couldn't afford the pounds 300,000 fee.

Les Ferdinand

From QPR (Jun 95) pounds 6m

With 25 goals this season, former painter and decorator has already banished the ghost of Andy Cole. FA Vase final loser with Southall in 1986 and Turkish cup winner with Besiktas in 1989. Keegan bid pounds 3.3m for him in 1992.

David Ginola

From Paris St Germain (Jul 1995) pounds 2.5m

Son of a submarine missile manufacturer. A semi-finalist in European competition with PSG for the past three seasons. Signing for Newcastle was delayed because of a modelling assignment for the Italian designer Nino Cerruti. Known as "legend" to his team-mates.

Shaka Hislop

From Reading (Aug 95) pounds 1.575m

Born in London, raised in Trinidad, educated in Washington, the mechanical engineering graduate spent part of his university course working for Nasa. Played with Dwight Yorke and Brian Lara in the Trinidad under-12 football team. The giant keeper has adopted the name of a Zulu warrior but was christened Neil. Injury cost him his first-team place after an impressive start.

David Eatock

From Chorley (Sept 95) pounds 25,000

Formerly a pounds 90-a-week fork-lift truck driver, the baby-faced forward is seen as "one for the future" by Keegan.

Darren Huckerby

From Lincoln (Nov 95) pounds 500,000

An instant hit with the fans on his debut as a substitute in January.

Faustino Asprilla

From Parma (Feb 96) pounds 6.7m

Has caused problems for defenders with his pace and superb close control in his two and a quarter games to date. Keegan, unfortunately, has to handle his temperament.

David Batty

From Blackburn (Feb 96) pounds 3.75m

Might not fit the Keegan flair mould but is the type of grafter Newcastle have lacked away from home.

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