The Keegan dream is only just beginning

By Lee Ryder on Jan 20, 08 12:58 PM

In the end it was a cake without the icing on top or very much the fairytale night that lacked the fairytale ending.

But Kevin Keegan's dugout didn't turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

And nobody woke up this morning to find that Sam Allardyce was still in charge waxing lyrical to the amount of times the ball ended up in the penalty area or pointing to the fact the ProZone stats tell everyone that 0-0 with Bolton at home was a good result.

Instead Special K accepted straight away we'd all have preferred a win, things will get better shortly and then his mentor Arthur Cox - who is set to return to the club - followed it all up with talk that a top six place is still possible!

It's great that we have people in the fold who are prepared to reach for the skies again.

Let's be honest, we've done realism and it's depressing plus not only that but it appears to hold you back and give you an excuse when things go Pete Tong.

In some ways you have to look at the light hearted side of things.

Here some of us were, and I don't mean all of you experts out of there, dreaming of a 4-3 win with a last minute winner!

It didn't happen but given the fact we've got a paper thin squad that's hamstrung by seven absentees, 0-0 wasn't a bad result and the fact that United stayed focused to actually bag a point isn't a bad thing.

A double header against Arsenal is next up for the Geordies and even the dreamers out there won't be forecasting two wins out of two.

But hey things are a lot better than they were two weeks ago and Kevin Keegan knows that better than anyone.



Paul Patterson said:

The names Keegan- Kevin, Keegan.

I think that the (Southern) media need to take a good, long, hard look at themselves over the course of the next few days and ask themselves quite why they are in the job they are in. Are they in the profession to report, or assassinate?

Over the last few days, Newcastle United have been a private comedy club to the southern press, taking turns to knock and chip away at unrivalled joy witnessed on Tyneside.

We Newcastle supporters are now evil, reptiles, ready to jump on the backs of any manager who dares to lose a game. Well Keegan said it himself in his press conference, we like going to our St James’ Park theatre and watching the wit, wisdom and artistry of the performers on show.

And we pay a hefty price for the privilege, to ask any journalist ‘daarn sarf’ the question- Would you pay £45 to watch a side influenced by Sam ‘Percentage football’ Allardyce?- the response would be very interesting, baring in mind they actually get paid to watch and assassinate the club.

The media seem to be highly defensive of Allardyce, but lets not forget, Allardyce was nearly in a very public viewing gallery, for if he had been offered the England job, how long would it have been before Fleet Street’s finest, turned there PPK’s in his direction?

Kev seems to want to bring Arthur Cox back to St James’ but one person who should be brought back is John Carver, who I thought was a decent guy to have around the place, he seemed to have a good track record as a coach and a position must certainly be found for him- Things certainly seem to be progressing with the old Anfield ‘Boot Room’ philosophy as Peter Beardsley is also being linked- They are all Geordie’s too.

Against Bolton, we actually had the rare opportunity to watch two side’s brought up on the Allardyce brand of ‘spoiling’ football, two sides that are so stuck in the realms of obscurity, it’s actually beggars belief that both sides are not in deeper trouble than they are already.

Bolton are further on the journey, where as we have just set ourselves a different course, hopefully to steer us away from they head on collision that Bolton have only just woke up to.


mag in boro said:

No it wasnt the result we were hoping for and yes if it wasnt for a great save at the death we could have lost it.
But we kept a clean sheet and saw a great improvement in effort if not clear cut chances.
We looked as if we wanted to play passing football and tried to attack when possible whereas we saw the legacy of Sam still in bolton stifle the midfield get 10 men behind the ball and in mssrs macann davies and nolan(god i thought smith moaned)a try to kick anything but the ball mentality

A midfield comprising of 3 wingers and a centre half done as well as could be asked

there were a lot more positives from last night than negatives unless you reading southern press

Van buyten has been rumoured and would be solid still not convinced by Rozenhal or Cacapa

I would love to see Carrick in black n white if he was available but Deco would be a suitable alternative

Things are a lot better at SJP than a fortnight ago and the mackems lose again so not a bad weekend after all

Anonymous said:

I wathced a clip of Beardsley. He took a shot from the left facing the goal and put the rebound off the keeper from the right side of the goal. If the King can bring back that kind of effort, they will win.

STEVE said: we need pace and movement,i hope kk sees beyond this......throwback of a city and sentimental drivel......PLEASE.


Hi lee. My 350 round trip to watch the lads and see the homecoming of you know who was the best day I have had in a long long time. OK the Bolton result could have been 3 points instead of 1 but with such a small squad in the end it was a fair result-without a true midfield we found it difficult to advance and hard to penetrate a Bolton side that did not really want to advance-and one can see Gary Megsons point of view-he has little alternatives other than the ones he is presently exercising i.e. stop the opposition from scoring-and if you can lads -nick one at the death-which had it not been for Shays foot- they might have done.Garys plan is stay in the premiership at all costs. Mr.Allardyce though should have had a different philosophy-but having spent years perservering with his previous methods -he seemed incapable of change-goodbye Sam-you really wont be missed.We now have KK back who we have all missed-not just the tyneside faithful -but the football world.Strange how the media moguls still perceive this state of events-as though KK and we poor misguided Geordies are somehow going to all break down in tears-when it all turns sour-most of the wonderful media writers -many who have never kicked a ball are even trying to outshine one another by predicting the date of KK s going when our sense of reality returns. I have news for them -that is not going to happen-We have a lot to live down none more so than the viscious tag that was recently applied to us{this may be hard for us all to forget-and was not the most sensible allegation to level at your fee paying customers-any business I have managed in my time would have gone bust if I had gone around blaming my customers }However the fans will move on -we are just delighted that KK is back -like I have said many times on this blog -He never bought rubbish.. The task now is to convince Mike that success-even relative success does not come cheap in todays premiership-either buy quality -or waste your money -and our club has wasted more than most the last 10 years -it does not mean we forget about our youth and we must carry on with our youth development -more so than ever before. In order to make some sort of instant real progress Kev should try for Berbatov and also Bentley from Blackburn-the cost would be enormous -but we would still get a price for some of our current crop and offset the cost a little . I SAID LAST WEEK KEV WOULD ONLY EVER GO FOR QUALITY-IS MIKE UP TO THE SPEND?I dont see the point in bringing in more players who will never fit the football bill at St.James-so this could be the acid test. THERE IS NO GAIN WITHOUT SOME PAIN MIKE-BUT I AM PRESUMING A MAN AS SUCCESSFUL AS YOU ARE UNDERSTANDS THAT PRINCIPLE.-BERBATOV AND BENTLEY WOULD DO FOR STARTERS.

Charles said:

If were to see it, it will be Defoe that we need and they are willing to sell him so I don't see why we can't get him. He got pace, mobility on ball and a deadly accuracy for scoring.

Maybe he wasn't suited for Newcastle, I won't know, but we really need a midfielder who can take things and score a little as well. The most important thing needed by him is the ability to PASS!!!

Yes, we need good passes from out footballers and on Bolton that day, our pass is only on par in the middle.

I think defenders are not needed. For some reason, Sam did a good job there. But what he didnt do is get midfielders and it is that we need the most.

Lualua getting better, I can see him battling with N'Zogbia in pace and tricks.

Phil said:

Nice to hear Wor Kev is after some decent players...Micah Richards would be great. In time he'll shape the (full) squad, and bring in quality players where needed. I hope everyone keeps giving Kevin the boost he gives everyone else. The man is brilliant, and the Southern press will soon see Revolution Part 3.

Duncan Baines said:

I didn't like how KK never came into the centre circle just before kick-off. I couldn't see him from Level 7!

Mike Ashburn said:

Playing a patched up team,with no real battle plan in mind(hardly surprising when you think of the time available) ,was never really going to be a roaring success,but a failure it certainly wasn't.
The crowd(indeed the whole area)was galvanised by the return of one man to his spiritual home,and,by the second half of the game,the lads on the pitch upped their tempo and whilst never threatening to over-run a ten man defensive midfield,gave their all,AND,lets not forget,kept a clean sheet(thanks Shay).
He's got a lot of work on his hands,but he knew that was going to be the case anyway,so with the right kind of back up,and signings,things can start to look up again,no matter what certain sections of the media say.
Looking at some of the crowd,after the match,I just want to be around when our first victory occurs.
KK isn't the Messiah,but he's got that feelgood factor which has rubbed off onto the Mag faithful over the years,and which of course has been handed back to him in spadefuls by a supporting public.
In summary,getting the public on his side,was never going to be a problem,so he's got to get the team (present and future)talked around to his ideas and philosophy.
In this respect,we're all going to have patience,but that trait is going to be a lot easier than with BSA at the helm.
Keep the faith,

Marky Mark said:

Well not the all conquering brand of football and swashbuckling style we were told we would get....hang on a minute! Keegan mania had struck big time but he had less than 48 hours with a team depleted by injuries, suspensions, parole clauses and international call-ups against a team with little to no intention of getting anyone pushing forward except at the very few opportunities from set-pieces. Once again we see why the Premiership has changed since Keegan's first stint in charge, something the press have been oh so quick to point out. Namely the fact that teams go out looking not to lose a game first and foremost and scoring or a win is just a bonus if it happens. It will be a refreshing change of pace and viewing pleasure to watch a team finally going out to win games.

I agree with the first poster here who has had a go at the Southern Press getting the knives out immediately for Keegan's head. But what shocks me more is the amount of fans from other clubs who have also seen it there duty to get stuck in to giving this club, manager and it long sufferring fans some harsh treatment. Maybe it's jealousy, maybe it's just sour grapes. These are the same fans who 11 years ago thought Newcastle were their second club due to the great football on display. The player speculation isn't going down well with Keegan supposedly targetting some very key players from other clubs but how much of this can be believed i'm not sure, but this hasn't stopped the fans of these clubs from getting very defensive about such talk and then proceeding to put down this club and it's fans.

A big talking point has been the unrealistic expectations placed on Big Sam to produce immediately. Results are important but can anyone say they were willing to give him time in order to watch what was clearly going to be Boltonesque long ball football?? he had to go because he didn't win games but didn't attempt to win games either. Away at Derby and playing defensively to 'not get beat'??? Even if Keegan doesn't put it right straight away and the results don't improve overnight he will be given time. Why?? Because every Geordie knows he WANTS to get it right and when we can see the passion in the manager and he is at least trying to play the type of football we want to see and having a go at trying to win matches rather than not lose them then we will sympathise if results go badly but in the long term take solice in the fact that at least the intentions are correct and that given time things will turn around. I hope he does succeed, simply to prove to other managers in the league that the continental appraoch of safety first isn't the ONLY way to succeed. Give Keegan money and i'm sure he will prove that attackign football can succeed once again - maybe no silverware will ever come to us but at least we need to try.

Keegan gets the supporters behind the team and gives them something to dream about, something to hold on to. I am along for the ride, wherever it may take us. One thing is for certain, we will all enjoy it, win or lose, it will be entertaining!

Stephen Buchan said:

Ok so 0-0 wasn't what we were hoping for but with so many players missing & KK having only been in charge for a couple of training sessions its fine.

However, what are the tabloids on? We have been linked with about £300 million worth of players since the weekend most noticably Berbatov?! Is there a true Newcastle fan who honestly believes this kind of garbage! The only thing this kind of reporting does is get the backs up of every other fan in the country that doesnt support Newcastle United. I have never heard so much hate pouring out of the radio, the TV, fans forums, websites etc etc. We are suddenly the most hated team & fans in the world by the looks of things. I only hope that KK will do the business & prove every last one of them wrong but I fear that anything less than some silverware will result in the knives being sharpened and howls of derision with more "sad deluded geordies" quotes from the southern press and opposing fans.

We're not fools, we know we need to be patient and a mid table finish this term would not be a disaster, anything higher would be a bonus in my eyes. Let KK get settled in again & bring in some quality signings in the summer and hopefully those very same doom-mongers will be falling onto their own sharpened knives!!

Sid said:

A week of five a sides should see the passing sharpen up. I think tactically the key to the next few weeks is Viduka.

If we are to get forward, we need the midfield getting into the box - Viduka is the best at not losing the ball, and has vision and skill to give lay-offs that can hurt the opposition.

I would be confident with Nicky Butt and Viduka coming into that team and there being real improvement if and when the rest get one and two touch swiftness back through Keegan's training methods...

Arsenal may be too soon, but why not have a real go on Saturday - shake them up with skill not closing down - not gung ho, but our strengths lie in wingers and two great forwards.

Mike Smith said:

Well, when you really sat back and looked carefully, you must admire that the defence played like the old days.

Good short passsing and not the big boot all of the time.

Everything else will come in time.

Keep it up.

Ronnie Lambert said:

Southern was a great result. The football continued from wednesday night, from the back, on the floor, unlike anything we've seen so far this season. Believe it, Kev's back and it will get better. Oh that Marvellous Mike had come here sooner, 11 yrs. ago to be precise. We would have been champions for 11 yrs. now. Even with a few stutters from now until next season, us vicious impatient fans will never, ever boo Keegan's team off the pitch, even if we got hammered. Us Geordies are not like that when we see sincerity from board and team.

bottlodog said:

Saturday was all about enjoying the moment - and we did! Now, hopefully sky sports and the rest of the national media will crawl back into their stinking holes and let us get on with enjoying our football.
What a suprise that the national sports 'journalists' (I use the word advisedly) were already predicting Kevs' demise, what I didn't expect was the downbeat reporting in the Sunday Sun.
Never mind tho', they'll all be re-focussing on the so called 'top four' and leaving us alone until,one day, in the not too distant future, we slide up and bite their collective backsides and shout "told you so"

Carl said:

Well it wasnt the way we expected things to go in Keegans first game, but it was always going to be hard to break down a stubborn(and boring i might add) Bolton team with our depleted squad. A few quality signings should sort this out, wether this be in January or the summer. This rest of the season for me is about Keegan implementing his ideas and putting his stamp on the club once again, i dont feel we will push the top 6 because they are too far ahead in my opinion. But it does seem there will be a giant push for a top 4 spot next season, with Ashleys finance combined with Keegans ability to attract big names to the Newcastle revelution. And who knows, we might just edge past Arsenals reserve team come saturday, but even if we dont I wont complain, im still in dreamland with King Kev back at the helm.

Siomi said:

I think they just didn’t get it. They think Allardyce was unfairly dismissed for a string of poor results, and that we should have given him more time. And they are right, I am sure that given more time we would have started to get more results.

But the reality is that it had very little to do with the results, it was to do with the play on the field. Allardyce proved he only had one trick up his sleeve, and we had seen it before and we didn’t like it. Hopes of him adapting and developing in his role at Newcastle quickly faded. He proved over 8 months that he couldn’t adapt to a bigger and more ambitious club, and he proved that he didn’t and couldn’t understand what Newcastle is all about. That is why he had to go. We could have kept going with him until the end of the season, but it would have been more of the same. Worse, our key players’ creativity and enthusiasm would have been extinguished and many would have left the club.

Newcastle United defines Newcastle and symbolizes who we are. We are NOT what Allardyce was trying to create; and that’s why he had to go. And this is what the ‘pundits’ don’t understand – football at Newcastle isn’t JUST about winning and being successful! It is about how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen. Define a Geordie and you define Newcastle United, or more significantly, define Newcastle united and you define a Geordie. That’s it!

Newcastle Tom said:

Well done Siomi, I am a 77year old Geordie & Newcastle fanatic. I am 111% in agreement.Read It. Remember it. When the Southern press. Man u Wimps comment.Just laugh, as they do not under stand. Above all be proud and True.HOWAY THE LADS

lynn said:

its no good bringing the king back without giving him the money to buy the diamonds he needs to make his crown shine, so come on let the king have what he wants and lets see newcastle back where they belong.


Have this read this article in the Times - it is a scandal its says that the Toon is not special - blasphemy - more southern bias. Terry Mac thinks the Toon is very special because he has made an excellent living for doing nothing!!!

Newcastle? Special? SorryMartin Samuel
Your football club is not special. Sorry. Your football club is not unique, it is not different and is no more distinctive and romantically captivating than any of the little quadrangles with floodlights littered throughout our land. Sorry.

Do not get me wrong, I know you think that it is special. I get that. I understand that, to you, your club is magical and wonderful and no outsider can hope to empathise with its complex and inimitable nature. You believe that no other club exists with the same passion or emotion and your sincerity is appreciated. It is just that, well, you are wrong. Sorry.

Whether blighted by tragedy or blessed by glory, whether filling a stadium with tens of thousands or surviving on a pittance and the devotion of a handful of diehards, just as you feel about your football club, so do millions of others. Everyone thinks that they have the prettiest wife at home, as ArsÚne Wenger said. Everyone thinks that they have the love supreme. But if everybody is special, then nobody is. So, Liverpool: not special. Manchester United: not special. Luton Town: not special. West Ham United: not special. Newcastle United: not special. Sorry.

Kevin Keegan talked a grand game in his opening address at St James’ Park. He divided the country into us and them: the good guys being the hard-toiling, blue-collar communities of the North East – bless them, for they are the salt of the earth – while beyond lie the London-based media and theatre-loving types who are against him, sneering and mocking and never knowing what makes his football club so rare. And at first his words seemed clever.

Related Links
Buzz quick to disappear in dull draw
How smart instantly to tap into the shared humanity of the region, the vain belief that one little square of land is in some way superior to another patch 50 miles away, that its people have different and worthier values and aspirations. But on closer inspection, there is only one conclusion. Keegan had better have more than a chorus of Blaydon Races in his locker or it will be a long road ahead.

A few years ago, Derren Brown, the psychological illusionist, performed a trick in which he interviewed a group of strangers individually for a short period, to build up a distinctive mental profile. He then went away and wrote up these singular reports, handing them at random to the group. There were no names on the envelopes, but the instruction was to read what was inside and if a person believed that he had received his profile he should swap with a neighbour.

To a man, everybody attempted to change. And here is the trick. Each report was the same. There were no individual profiles, just one duplicated study. Brown played on human vanity, on our belief that we are special and different, to prove that we are basically the same. For instance, he wrote that the person in question was such a perfectionist that he sometimes struggled to achieve his aims. We would all like to believe that. We would all prefer to think that it is our quest for perfection that leads to failure, not ineptitude or inadequacy. And that is how it is at Newcastle.

They love the No 9 shirt on Tyneside and this is beguiling, but every club has its quirks, its iconic figures, memories and meanings that set it apart. In truth, the Toon is kidding itself. Equating failure to win a serious trophy since 1969 with a special affinity with cavalier football is just as flawed as the conviction that the best team lost the title in 1995-96, when Newcastle blew a 12-point lead.

In fact, Manchester United, the eventual champions, beat them home and away that season, with an aggregate score of 3-0. Southampton defeated Newcastle, too, as did Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers. Indeed, in his previous time as Newcastle manager, when the team was in the top division and strong enough to win a trophy, Keegan lost domestic cup-ties against Wimbledon, Luton, Manchester City, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Middlesbrough. There were high times and exciting times, yes, but not every moment was perfect. Far from it.

Keegan got a special welcome on Saturday, too, but when the match began, it was not enough to inspire a win over Bolton Wanderers. Newcastle regards itself as a club apart because, in almost 40 years, what else could define it but the intangible? Unfortunately, the Premier League is not school sports day. Everyone is not a winner and nobody is special, despite what King Kev may tell the faithful.

BIG DAVE said:

" at Newcastle isn’t JUST about winning and being successful!..."
Comment from Siomi - can you please remind me when NUFC had a sustained period of winning and being successful???????????????????

Phil said:

Siomi - you are right. As a young boy I stood in the Gallowgate end as the crowd gave an ovation to the magnificent Jimmy Greaves whose four goals sealed our fate of relegation. The Newcastle fans are magnificent. I feel so proud when I see them cheering on their team through thick and thin. They deserve a team to match their commitment. Kevin Keegan brought back the entertainment days of the Gallagher, Milburn, and White eras. It will take time, but with our support, he will do it again.


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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