Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is Keegan still wanted at Newcastle?

There is an interesting poll being held at the NUFC Blog, asking whether Newcastle fans want Kevin Keegan back or not. Ed Harrison, the blog owner, has received a number of emails from fans of the beleaguered club saying it is time to move on.

The poll currently stands at 416 votes for wanting Keegan back, 235 votes against the idea and 50 "don't knows" (how anyone can not know is beyond me!). While the current standings suggest the majority want Keegan back, it's not as clear-cut as non-Newcastle fans may have assumed.

The comments section of the blog is full of differing opinions, ranging from "Keegan is God" worshippers to others who don't want to hand the job to a manager who has shown a habit of walking away. Some clearly have short memories, as many were begging for him to return to Newcastle - though the current poll standings suggest many didn't want that back then.

Given all of the uncertainty at Newcastle, it may make sense for them to appoint a manager who can offer stability - but, given Keegan's habit of walking away from jobs, can he actually offer that? Appointing a Messiah figure can also paper over the cracks, but that is certainly not what is needed at St James’s Park right now.

New owners may have totally different ideas, too, and some may even have their own "ideal" manager lined-up. Reports yesterday suggested seven groups had expressed an interest in buying Newcastle, and it's likely all will have wildly different views about how to take the club forward, in terms of business structure and managerial staff.

Man Utd and Arsenal impress in Europe

Last night's Champions League games (those involving English and Scottish teams, at least) went as expected - although Arsenal's 4-0 hammering of Porto at the Emirates was impressive.

Manchester United did what they had to do against Danish champions Aalborg, but will be disappointed to lose both Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney to injury. Scholes was stretchered off during the 3-0 win with suspected knee ligament damage, while Rooney also hobbled off.

Celtic, described yesterday as the only underdogs, tried their best to hold off Spanish league leaders Villarreal, but eventually lost 1-0 to ensure their run of not winning away from home in the Champions League continues.

Tonight's games will also be interesting - in terms of the European football balance, if not performances on the pitch. Liverpool should dispatch PSV Eindhoven without too much trouble (the Dutch league is in a bad way), while Chelsea should have no problems away at CFR Cluj.

If Liverpool and Chelsea manage to win by at least three goals, then the four English clubs would have put the ball into the net 13 times in Europe this week - and it would take a brave punter to bet against it happening. Although this year's tournament is still young, there is little to suggest the English domination of the tournament won't continue.

Which, of course, means more cash for the English top-four and a bigger gap in front of the other teams domestically. Sure, it won't worry Manchester City as they will throw money around no matter what, but it will add even more pressure on the other clubs.

Perhaps that is why Mike Ashley is holding out for a top price for Newcastle (if he is, and £300million is still a top price, even though it represents a cut!). The more the top clubs rake in the cash, the more money is needed to try and break their stranglehold. It is possible that Ashley wants new owners who can prove they have mega-money, but who knows?