Our faith in Keegan shows realism in the Toon goldfish bowl

By Lee Ryder on May 26, 08 08:01 AM

When it comes to enduring stick Newcastle United fans are usually first in the queue when it comes to getting walloped off the national media.

But after the sacking of Avram Grant it's clearly evident that there is more than just one soap opera going on in the Premier League at the moment.

Yes look no further than Chelsea.

OK, we know they have spent squillions to get where they are and that they should probably do better.

But imagine any Newcastle United manager leading his side to two cup finals and second place in the table?

For a start a new contract would be getting drawn up more or less straight away.

Sacking the guy would be the last thing on anybody's mind.

It just goes to show that while people love to stick the boot in at Newcastle, perhaps we forget we live in the real world more than many other clubs.

Minutes before Chelsea scored a last minute winner against Newcastle over the festive period last year, there were Stamford Bridge fans screaming abuse at their manager and that stupid mentality seems to have continued until Grant's board reached breaking point.

Looking around the Premier League it wasn't that long ago that certain sections of the Liverpool fans wanted to get rid of Rafa Benitez because of the lack challenge for the title.

And while Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson seem bulletproof in the Premier League (and rightly so) the lunatic behaviour of boards up and down the country hopefully won't extend to St James's Park.

Yes, Mike Ashley got rid of Sam Allardyce but he wasn't his appointment and the club was certainly in danger of relegation, unless anyone can tell me otherwise and support Big Sam?

Now the hope is that Ashley sticks with his man and backs him as heavily as possible this summer.

Should Newcastle bag an eighth place finish next season, play some good football and challenge in the latter rounds of the cup - will you be calling for the manager's head?

Surely that would be a positive step forward and mark some progress?

Where do you draw the line at failure these days?

Outside of the top four almost every club, apart from Everton, has tinkered with their manager in recent times so when it comes to this soap opera syndrome, it isn't just us.

And Chelsea have just shown that when it comes to stability they're just as bad as the majority of the Premier League.



HarryHill said:

Spot on mate! And the media are not ripping into those clubs like Newcastle. Have you noticed that, whenever someone is shown scoring a goal, on Sky, it's always against Newcastle!

Paul Patterson said:

After sitting through the managerial reigns of Souness and Allardyce (I forgive Roeder because he simply isn’t a top class coach) I think under Kevin we should be banging on the UEFA cup door and having a crack at the cups.

Sam Allardyce and Greame Souness were perceived as really good managers, more so in Allardyce’s case (But mainly by the man himself) Souness came to Newcastle with a bit of history behind him, he won trophies at most clubs he managed. All Allardyce did was keep Bolton in the league a few times and come runners up in the League cup.

Compare to Sir Bobby Robson, Kenny Dalglish and Ruud Gullit and we have three seasons in the top 5 or the Premier League, second group stage of the Champions League, first group stage of the Champions league, two runs in the UEFA cup (One leading to the semi-final) Two F.A cup finals and a semi final appearance between them. Add that to Souness’ semi-final appearance’s in the F.A cup AND UEFA cup and you realise that Newcastle haven’t been as unsuccessful as some people make out over the last ten years or so.

Even Roeder did well in the UEFA cup, Roeder- a man who Sam Allardyce was happy to hound out of a job when in charge at Bolton simply because he didn’t have a bit of paper.

Now I know what people will say- It’s still ended up in no trophies, but we have been on the cusp of something, plenty times. Even Spur’s, Aston Villa and Blackburn can’t say that in the last ten years- Even though they have won trophies.

Where every manager in Newcastle’s recent past has been let down (Including Sir Bobby Robson) is in the transfer market,- they all bought a variety of stinkers, compared to the stonkers they bought, Where Souness had his Boumsong, Faye and Babayaro, Robson had his Bramble, Viana and Carr, Roeder had his Duff, Allardyce had his Smith. Dalglish has a list too long to mention here and Gullit will always be tied with the Marcelino deal- Nuff said!!

Anyway enough of the history lesson- The point is Kevin Keegan always had the best of successes in the market, even his bad buy’s weren’t too bad- Scott Sellers was never a great player, but he wasn’t a complete disaster, Ruel Fox wasn’t great, but he did a job for a while.

This is where Kevin needs to be backed by the owner and not skimped around because Dennis Wise fancies an Icelandic defender on a whim- Kevin must do the dealing and the team upstairs do the scouting- Results WILL follow.

To answer your question Lee- What would progress be? Less mistakes in the transfer market would be the answer, this would lead to better results on the pitch- how many times did Boumsong and Bramble cost us games single handed? When was Duff’s last productive game, How many times was Carr caught short or Babayaro actually bother to turn up? Recently we have had Smith, Duff, Rozehnal, Viduka and Emre- would you trust these lot ‘In the trenches’ as one Scotsman currently working for Sky and probably still living off his Newcastle pension (Sorry - Payoff) once put it?

Would you fairly cakes! I’ve been saying it all season since he arrived ‘I trust Kevin Keegan’ and it still stands.

I just hope the board and Mike Ashley keep their end of the bargain.


Pete said:

HarryHill: you know why so many goals shown on Sky were against Newcastle? Because there are so many to choose from, that's why!! The Toon will win nowt until we get a proper defense.

Sy said:

Spot on, Lee. The Chelsea saga has definitely brought to light the blinkered 'look north' effect of the nation when it comes to ridiculing Newcastle.

I think I'm in the same camp as most when it comes to my hopes for next season. That is to regain our Uefa cup place. I see this as the major hurdle in getting us back to being Premier League big-guns on the pitch rather than just off which I mean stadium, support, etc.

If we reach this Uefa Cup goal next season, I see it as being a major building block towards our next two or three seasons.

The good thing is that I don't believe we're a million miles away from being able to contend 5th or 6th. Our defence improved towards the end of last season and with the squad strengthened, this must be a realistic target.

The key to it being feasible I suppose, is for us to have a stable campaign, unlike last seasons rollercoaster which seemed to be all over the place with no two weeks alike.

If we could make a fist of it with a cup run too, (and maybe avoid Arsenal away...) it'd really put into perspective what a shocking state we've been in for the last couple of years.

Here's hoping.

Sav said:

Most of the comedy reporting on the Toon is self-inflicted: Joey Barton, Ashley standing in the stands while the supporters call for Allardyce's head, and we are unsure if the Dennis Wise appointment that shook everybody is not about to blow up in our faces with Keegan storming off. Now we hear there's a 21 year old Spanish internet anorak and Championship Manager buff employed to scout for talent....Struth!
After a great run, 2 defeats against decent opposition and the KK - Ashley summit meeting have managed to deflate our expectations. Now it looks like the transfer kitty will be a kitten and we may be more likely to lose Owen or Martins than sign Thierry Henry. Expectations at the minute? - 12th.

Darran Shaughnessy said:

I agree with everything Paul Patterson has stated in his post. Spot on.

Trust in Kevin Keegan !

Dave Mac said:

It seems there is a never ending stream of abuse coming from certain quarters of the media, Steve Brennan (the Bun) loves nothing more than slagging off Keegan and Ashley. Even the Mirror yesterday dragged out the old 'Ashley to sell Newcastle' story, the Mirror has never actually had it's finger on any pulse but this was especially old drivel written up by an informed female writer (ha !) The fact is that the Toon are not actually doing anything at the moment and this upsets the media as they have to rely on dragging pieces out of the journal and chronicle, rearranging a quote or two and publishing it in the daily's the next day. I'd like us to finish around 7th to 5th but let's just see the summer out, see who we get in and try - hard as it is - to be a little patient.

M Simpson said:

Any truth in the rumour over the weekend about KK being replaced my a Spaniard by the unfortunate mame of Marcelino? I sincerely hope not! Someone know anything more on the matter?

BRIAN of Durham said:

Agree with all comments, regarding the millions spent by various managers since KK, but let me ask this....
Of all the players signed by this club, who actually went on to improve as a player after signing and arriving at the club????
I think we have to go back to KK days, and say Andy Cole and Rob Lee.
Isn't that a dreadfull record of so called top managers??? We sign players who never go on to reach the top, they just seem to lose all desire to improve. Coaching rubbish perhaps????

Hadrian said:

Depends on investment doesnt it ?
i mean you can only judge on what he has to work with , a team that has finished in the bottom half of the league two seasons running , a team to drop 4 points to derby the prem's record breakers .
and yet , when you look on paper all you see is international players (with a wage bill to match ).
is this set of players really as poor as some of our performances would have us belive or can kevin get something more out of them .
with little ivestment id hope for a top 10 finish , ive no faith in a group of players who have failed to finish in the top half .
i have faith in keegan tho, a guy who has got teams to punch above their weight .

with decent investment and 3 major signings like kev wants , id go for 6th !
but i get the feeling the current regime doesnt share the mentality of our manager & (lets be honest) geordies in general .
we wanna have a go .

this was 'unfinished business' a few month ago , now its a case of lets see what happens, it seems .

Teddy The K said:

Holding on to Martins, Owen, Beye, Harper, Enriquez, Given, Nzogbia, Milner, Faye, Taylor and Butt must be a priority.

Then we need cover for left and right back, a proven centre back, a foward who's good on the ground and good in the air, and a midfielder with flair, skill and vision.

Then we might finish as high as fifth.

Stephen said:

What are you talking about Paul Patterson? To describe Scott Sellars as never being a great player is tantamount to Geordie treason. Salty was an excellent player for us and in my opinion, as instrumental as Cole, Pedro and Bobby Lee. Who will ever forget THAT free-kick?

STEVE said:

TO be fair,i was initially on a downer regarding allardyces reign,then overjoyed to witness the return of the king,then wounded when we lost modric and things yet again appeared to be conspiring against us.Now i cant fathom whats going on at the toon;are we in the market for stars?is MA gonna sell oba and reduce owens wage?why did mort leave(although i knew his heart wasnt here as i prev mentioned on this blog)This is THE most bizzare closed season ever for me,if we dont strengthen,we finish the same as this year,if we do,then 8th and a decent cup run would please me.......HOWAY THE TOON....AND SPLASH THE CASH ASH!!!!!!!

Mal said:

To get challenging for the top 6 would be real progress in my view. However it seems to me that all is not well at the moment - the Wise/Keegan partnership looks flimsy and we're losing a very good chairman plus the owner wants to reduce the wage bill. It just doesn't feel right. Hope I'm wrong.

Guy Maxwell said:

As things stand right now, I don't think any of us have a clue how to feel.

On the evidence of the end of the season we can probably expect to improve on 12th, to beat teams that we sshould beat and have a few good surprise results. That suggests 10th spot in my eyes.

However, we don't yet know who will stay, who will go and who will come in.

If the likes of Duff and Smith depart, then big deal - they made no impact last season anyway.

If Martin and Owen (or even one of them) left then I would be seriously concerned.

For now, let's enough the break from football and wait to see who we actually sign.

Siomi said:

Success has to be seen as qualifying for Europe. That’s it. That’s all that counts.

If we qualify for Europe, then that immediately makes the club more attractive to players we would like to bring in to the club and sets up the following season as big one.

So Kevin needs to get 5th spot, win a Cup or nab that Fair Play spot Man City managed to get this year.

Kevin should have the Fair Play issue in mind anyway. Allardyce liked his players to be aggressive and mean and Bolton under him always had a poor reputation for sportsmanship. We want Newcastle United to be competitive and combative, but not mean or unsporting. With the departure of Smith, Barton and perhaps Butt and some positive direction from Kevin, we might have a chance of winning that Fair Play award.

The FA Cup is possible, but I am sure we will draw Arsenal
 Maybe the League Cup?

5th place is going to be a big ask next season. In addition to Arsenal (who will be better than this year), Man United and a Hiddink managed Chelsea, there will be a very impressive Spurs, a perhaps less impressive Liverpool and that collection of well managed and well organised teams including Everton, Blackburn, Villa etc. I imagine 6th or 7th will probably be where we will end up, but that isn’t guaranteed European football.

Which brings us back to Fair Play

Philip said:

I agree that the measure of success in modern football is qualification for Europe, which can create a reinforcing cycle of success: qualification brings in more revenue through TV, gate, and gear, which in turn helps fund future transfer market moves to strengthen the squad even further. Wealth begets wealth, if managed properly.

It is important to be realistic about the other teams with which we are competing for 2 UEFA spaces (KK was spot on about there being a two-tiered league): Tottenham, West Ham, Everton, Manchester City, Blackburn, Portsmouth and Aston Villa. Whether or not you want to give credit to any of these teams as being competitive, all of them can give Newcastle trouble, and they will all be in the market to improve this summer, too.

Bringing KK in made the team more competitive and entertaining, but MA needs to invest in personnel in order to rise above these other squads. A playing system and manager can only take a team so far if there are not quality players out on the pitch.

Frosty said:

i would just like to be proud to be a geordie again in the last few years we seem to have lost our way as a club,there is no one better than keegan to pull us round very much like robson did but he will need backing we have some good players beye faye taylor milner emre barton nzogbia martins owen we also have soem bad ones enrique geremi duff smith ameobi it will take 3 years for keegan to assemble the squad he wants he isnt as easy now with the current window. what wud we give now for a robert bellamy woodgate or even lua lua some great buys cant change a stagnating team like ourselves.

Deaco said:

To be challenging for the UEFA Cup position is progress enough next season. If we are in amongst thos teams and don't make it, it is still acceptable (that would mean 8th, 9th) the next year if we don't get in Europe then questions will have to be asked re: Keegan, but only if the investment in the team has been made! If there is no investment Mike Ashley has NO RIGHT of sacking Keegan

Paul said:

Progress and probably the least acceptable next season would be 7th, depending on signings which Im not expecting superstars as I dont think ashley wants to dip into his pocket, maybe we could push for 5th, I think it will be a good 3 years before we see us getting anywhere near 4th or above, our best chance for europe will be the Portsmouth route. To be honest if we were to finish 6th or 7th and qualify for europe by winning the FA cup would anyone be complaining? I certainly wouldnt.

M. Sebastian T. said:

Being from the North East but now living elsewhere and only coming back for visits I can see totally why Toon are poked fun at by the national (and international) media, and by fans of other teams. Basically unlike a lot of other clubs NUFC are always seen as repeating the same mistakes and never living up to hopes, expectations or promises. Also the constant claims of latent greatness make people elsewhere amused. Bring back KK did nothing to remove smiles either. They will respect the return of Bobby next time the job is vacant!

The only solution for avoiding being the butt of jokes is to shut up until you actually achieve something. Even Boro actually have a more legitimate claim to having done something within the span of an elephant's memory.

People laugh at fools, and yes they are laughing at Toon. What goes on at SJP on and off the pitch is not just Soap Opera it is farce.

phil garnett said:

I have watched the American player Michael Bradley for the last two years. He is the best young American player and would be a good aquistion to our midfield. A long term replacement for Nicky Butt. He will play for the USA today so readers will be able to make their own opinion.

P. D. said:

OK Mr Sebastien so what your saying is because we geordies are a hopeful bunch and at the beggining of every season we find ourselves saying this is our year and never giving up on the small chance that just maybe one day we will see our team play good football and maybe just maybe actually win something were a laughing stock? Well Im glad I dont support the team you do mate, I couldnt fancy being a supporter that gives up on my club and doesnt get spurred on by a legend returning hopefully to lead us to long overdue glory, yes the mistakes are there and will more than likely never be forgotten (take a bow Mr Souness and co.) but am I the only one on the northeast who actually believes that were finally going somewhere for the 1st time since Robson was sacked? Now that i doubt very much. Go home Sebastien before I start a corus of "Are you Keano in disguise".......

OLD Tom said:

I am a 77 year old ex miner.I was lucky enough to go on a cruise in Feb. On deck I wore my Newcastle shirt and hat.Comments were made,Keagan no good,you are going down. I ask one of them. Where do you come from. He said just outside London. Who do you support. Arsenal, Chelsea.No I support Man U. I looked at him and laught.Your one of them.Oh I do go to the home games.Prat. Good Season,and Beat Man U


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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