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A night spent walking in a Keegan wonderland

By Lee Ryder on Nov 30, 07 09:42 AM

keegan1.jpgEvery now and again we are all guilty of sticking on the rose tinted spectacles but when it comes to reminiscing the Kevin Keegan era in Newcastle, you will not find too many people that have too many bad memories.

They are mainly all good, the feel good factor couldn't have been any higher for much of his tenure.

OK there were ups and downs, we nearly went into Division Three and we lost the title by a whisker but if most of us had the choice we'd go through it all again.

Keegan to a lot of people will always be Mr Newcastle.

And although we are still trying to deliver what even the Messiah could not - a trophy - you can't stop people from remembering the good times.

After a miserable week on Tyneside following the 3-0 defeat against KK's old club Liverpool, the former Toon manager raised the roof at the Lancastrian Suite in Dunston and just like he'd wooed the crowds of the 1990s, he managed to do it all over again last night.

Before Keegan and Beardo started the talk-in alongside the evening's host Graeme Forster of www.grass.uk.com many fans reflected on some of the greatest performances by KK.

There were too many to mention Man U 5-0, Spurs 7-1, Liverpool 3-0 or 2-0 at Anfield, 3-2 at Highbury, 6-1 v Wimbledon, 3-1 Nottingham Forest, 5-0 in Royal Antwerp the list went on and on.

keegan2.jpgOn our table was Rob Lee the man who had netted a hat-trick of headers in Belgium and who had made the journey from London just to hear the great man speak for a couple of hours - which summed up just what he meant to so many different people, Lee sat engrossed in the talk in all of the way through.

And John Beresford was happy to be on the end of the Micky taking when it came to the Aston Villa game back in 1996 when KK famously hauled off Bez following a bust-up.

Keegan rattled off plenty of old stories and could do little to stop cries of: "Come back Kev" and "We were brilliant Kevin" but after walking on stage to a rip roaring applause that could have been heard at St James's Park, it was if Toon fans were trying to start a new revolution.

Indeed supporters seemed to be in every nook and cranny of the 850 seater centre with many standing on their seats in order to get the best view.

Geordie legend Peter Beardsley was there too and wasn't left out with chants of: "There's only one Peter Beardsley"

Yet even Pedro - as much of a true Geordie legend he is - knew only too well the pulling power of Newcastle's most charismatic manager.

Keegan was open enough with the crowd and spoke of how a madcap plane journey to Bristol resulted in the signing of Andy Cole.

Cole of course the scorer of 41 goals in all competitions as Newcastle were christened The Entertainers by Sky and romped to a third place finish in their first season in the Premier League - would that happen today? I doubt it look at the state of Derby County and Sunderland to work that one out - but that was the sort of thing that KK was capable of.

Keegan also spoke of how he would not of changed a thing in 1996 as United watched a 12 point lead slip, the ex-Toon captain felt had he switched to a defensive style in the closing stages and lost the title the fans would have been furious.

And besides there is no comparison when it comes to playing crisp attacking football or watching 10 men behind the ball is there?

Only Sir Bobby Robson has come any where near re-capturing the type of football Keegan produced and by introducing the Entertainers KK raised the bar extremely high - too high for some of the biggest names in football.

keegan3.jpg

KK was joined by not only one the greatest players to don the black and white shirt but also Entertainers like Lee, Paul Bracewell and Beresford on a night of thrills and spills for the supporters who were lucky enough to get into the building.

KK and Beardo must have signed an autograph or posed for photo with everybody that turned up and left the stage to a standing ovation.

And after confirming he would have "loved it" if we had have pipped Man U for the title in 1996, Keegan was gone again.

And while he may have gone back to his Soccer Circus in Glasgow, he was gone but not forgotten.

For most Toon fans we just can't stop remembering.

*WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE KEEGAN MEMORY?

13 Comments

Alex Brett said:

The football!! plain and simple, yes we hammered Man U, we battered Spurs but we done it playing the best FOOTBALL I have ever seen in the Premiership!!

Jim Riley said:

KK calming the masses outside the reception of SJP when Cole was sold. Have faith in us was the message - Shearer was the next step!

Happy days!

Paul Patterson said:

Best Keegan era moment: Talking to the fans on the steps at St James’ Park has to be a moment that will quite rightly go down in Newcastle United folklore.

Worst Keegan era moment: The infamous one, slumped over the advertising hoardings at Liverpool in the 4-3 in 1996, tragic moment when the title was all but lost.

Best Keegan Match: Two- Liverpool away 4-3 and Man Utd home 5-0

Worst Keegan match: Sadly see above, both had the most breathtaking football and in the case of the Liverpool game, had the worst possible outcome, the Man Utd 5-0 is a strange on for worst game, because I cringe every time it’s mentioned, the performance was so polished and the goals so sublime (Minus Peacock’s) and yet if that result had been placed in the corresponding picture in 95/96 (Only four months earlier) we’d have had a title.

Best Keegan signing: Good lord, where to start!! My favourite player is Alan Shearer, but best bargain has to be a combination of Robert Lee and Phillipe Albert, the players were so attacking then and with Beardsley, Ferdinand, Lee, Gillespie, Ginola, Shearer, Cole, Asprilla.

Best Keegan quote: At the press conference to announce Alan Shearer’s signing ‘You have to give these fans what they want and this is the guy they wanted’ Sums up everything about what was right with the club then and what’s wrong with it now.

Paulie'sWalnut's said:

Just the honesty of the man, be it playing "proper football", talking to the fans after selling Andy Cole or the way he left, Kevin Keegan was always 100% honest with Us, when he was manager of NUFC I really did think anything was possible, the man was inspirational, A LEGEND !.

Alan Curry said:

The day we clinched it at Grimsby in 1993 when the whole town was a mass with Geordies and the atmosphere inside the ground was beyond belief with hundreds locked outside.I told my mate that night to enjoy every minute as this might be the best it was ever to get.Fifteen years later I think those words may continue to haunt me.The man was simply a legend...................

hadrian said:

Come back Kev!
if only it was our current owner and chairman in chanrge when keegan and bobby had reign over the toon , i doubt we would find ourselves in this mess we are now .
toon fans have taken a bit of stick lately , but anyone who has stood in our shoes these years would know exactly how we feel .
allerdyce is getting my support cos i feel sorry for the situation he's found himself in , but truth be told "i would LOVE it" ... to have king kev back , and bobby to alongside him .
the current owners could have the chance to wright a few wrongs starting with our biggest in sacking those two (bobby and kev) .
imagine if sheperd wasnt such a tool , and keegan had stuck around as long as fergie has at manure .... almost makes me wanna cry.

iggystinger said:

i was at the newcastle game on saturday and i dont think ive ever seen a worse performance by a team for along while. Why geremi was made captain ill never know enrique was bad but geremi was the worst player on the park by a mile hes not played one decent game since arriving at newcastle and is not captain material.As for big sam well what can i say his tactics were terrible when we had numourous chances to break there was not one player busting a gut to get forward they were all sitting camped on the edge of the box apart from viduka and martins who had no support all game something needs to change quick hes playing to many players who cant handle it and needs a settled team which i think should be

given
taylor faye rozenhal nzogbia

milner barton emre

smith

martins viduka
this is the best team for the geordies cmon SAM

Ross said:

Big sam will never live up to King Kev or Grandad Bobby. The football was beautiful to watch. Even when we got beat you still felt a sense of pride with the way the lads played. We talk about Kev being a legend. If Mr Ashley is the buisness man we know he is then he must know the kind of effect bringing Kev back to Newcastle would have and the fell good factor brings more revenue. Big sam is a good manager but I think we should move heaven and earth to bring the King back.

Phil said:

Best Keegan memory:
I was watching Newcastle train at Maiden Castle while on a visit from my new home in Canada. I spotted Kevin coming out of the dressing room after practice. I was using a crutch,after having knee surgery. I asked if I could have my picture taken with Kevin. Without hesitation, he went one better, and posed with his arm around my shoulder, giving the thumbs up sign. He really cheered me up. I love the man and what he did for Newcastle!

Duncan Baines said:

My best memory has to be Man City away in 1996.Albert was just unbelievable! Compare that to now!

BSA - you've got to be kidding said:

Interesting that Beardo has said that the only recent player in a NUFC team that's worthy of playing with the Entertainers (barring those who date from that era anyhow) was Nobby.

mazis yiannis said:

i am nufc fun from Aghios Nikolaos Kreta Greece for more than 20 years.Only with KEV and BOBBY we had a good team.A lot of money for nothing(OWEN)and always the same sh...Get keegan back because we dont deserve that.With a lot of money not always the best players.Dabizas cost 1m pounds and haved seen any one better last 5 years.Keegan must came back.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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