Tuesday, 2 September 2008


This is another post unsuitable for those people not a fan of football...

Back in January, I wrote about the possibility of Sam Allerdyce leaving Newcastle, and the problems I had with the way the club and in particular the media were handling the situation. Allerdyce, of course, left the club, and Keegan was brought in. Now, less than nine months later, it's being reported that we're in the ludicrous situation of being managerless again.

I don't have as much to say this time, because really there isn't much to be said. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding about the role Keegan was expected to play, or the power he was expecting to have, but for a club like Newcastle to lose a manager who was adored by the fans, who had begun to shape a team and who had barely 20 competitive games in charge, and to do so because they wouldn't allow him to have control over the players he was managing is not only ludicrous, but also shameful.

There is quite simply no way for a manager to get his team playing well week-to-week if he cannot guarantee that he will have the same players available a week later. And a manager cannot be expected to improve a team if he is not in control of who is bought and sold. And if a manager is not in charge of which players are playing for the club, then he can't be held responsible for the team's performance.

If that was the situation at Newcastle (and it is a situation that has been rumoured to be present many times over the last decade), and it was this situation that caused Keegan to walk, then good on him, because to work under those restraints is not to manage, but to simply be a coach and a figurehead for media attention. Keegan is a better manager than that and a better man than that, and if that was the choice to be made, then leaving was the correct decision.

Frankly, I'd be concerned about the credentials of any manager willing to step into that kind of position to replace him.

Of course, if he was sacked, then it's almost more ludicrous, since we've now had four managers in the four years since Robson went (taking any recent chance of competitive success we might have had with him), and none of them appear to have been given any freedom at all. Someone needs to be given two or three full seasons to shape a team, irrespective of league position. If that cannot be guaranteed, then I wouldn't be surprised if Newcastle continue to finish low-mid-table and churn through a manager a year for the next decade.

I thought Keegan was the perfect person to take on that challenge, and for him to be forced out in such a short space of time leaves me angry and disillusioned.

UPDATE: Ok, so in actual fact, no one seems to know what the hell's going on...

UPDATE: For a worrying few days there, it looked like I might have been ranting aout a resignation that never happened, but no, he's gone.

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