Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kevin Keegan quits - Newcastle takeover likely?

Kevin Keegan has resigned as manager of Newcastle following more than two days of speculation about what was actually going on at St James' Park. The former England boss has suggested he could not work at a club where players he did not want in his squad were forced upon him.

In a statement on the League Managers Association website, Keegan said: "I’ve been working desperately hard to find a way forward with the directors, but sadly that has not proved possible. It’s my opinion that a manager must have the right to manage and that clubs should not impose upon any manager any player that he does not want.

"It remains my fervent wish to see Newcastle United do well in the future and I feel incredibly sorry for the players, staff and most importantly the supporters. I have been left with no choice other than to leave."

Few will deny Keegan made the right choice. That a manager of his standing had Dennis Wise as his superior (or whatever the relationship was) never made any sense - a manager has to be allowed to manage, and that includes deciding which players to try and buy and which ones to sell.

Wise, the former Leeds United boss, is joint second favourite, along with Toon legend Alan Shearer, to replace Keegan on a permanent basis at 5/1. Gus Poyet has emerged as favourite at 9/4, but the prices are bouncing around all over the place as the news of Keegan's resignation is so recent.

Given Newcastle fans are among the most vociferous in the country, it will be interesting to see how owner Mike Ashley deals with the backlash (perhaps with a pint in hand?). There must be a chance he'll get out as soon as possible and the club, if they ever managed to sort themselves out, could still be a powerhouse. The new Man City owners are thought to have considered buying Newcastle, will some other mega-money consortium actually go the whole way?