Thursday, January 17, 2008

I would love it if they win something

Eleven years ago last week, I travelled up to Newcastle to take up the job of Political Editor of its morning paper, The Journal. The idea was that I would spend my first week up there quietly getting to know the region and its key personalities before starting in earnest at Westminster the following week.

Three days later, Kevin Keegan resigned as manager of Newcastle United, and the whole of Tyneside went crazy.

I found myself pulled off some worthy feature about what Mo Mowlam would do if she became Northern Ireland Secretary to do a ring round of local MPs for their reaction to the Geordie Messiah's shock departure. It was clear that very few people were going to be interested in reading about politics that week.

So the equally unexpected return of King Kev to St James' Park yesterday has brought back a few poignant memories for me.

KK was lambasted at the time for having lost a 12-point lead in the 1995/96 Premiership race - and for "losing it" with Sir Alex Ferguson during a TV interview, although I've always though that clip showed him in his best, most passionate light.

But the club has meandered terribly since he left, and Kenny Dalglish, Ruud Gullit, Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder and Sam Allardyce have all failed not just to bring in the silverware, but also - equally important to Newcastle fans - to replicate the excitement of Keegan's reign.

The gap between the Premiership's so-called Big Four and the rest has widened during his time away, but he will enjoy the challenge, although he will have to strengthen that rather porous defence that leaked five goals to Man U last weekend.

Keegan? Defence? Well, maybe not.

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12 comments:

Toque said...

I'd love it if only to break up the Premier League triumpherate of Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal (honourable mention to Liverpool for winning the European Cup).

There needs to be a strong NE team too, and a decent team from the South West wouldn't go amiss (Bristol, Southampton?), or from Yorkshire for that matter. It's too heavily weighted towards London and the NW.

Womble On Tour said...

Newcastle's fans deserve some success, not particularly for their numbers, but for their loyalty and passion.

Sadly, I doubt whether Keegan can bring that success. He doesn't exactly possess a fantastic track record.

Womble On Tour said...

Newcastle's fans deserve some success, not particularly for their numbers, but for their loyalty and passion.

Sadly, I doubt whether Keegan can bring that success. He doesn't exactly possess a fantastic track record.

tyger said...

5?

Wasn't it 6?

As a Mackem, I think this is a wonderful appointment. Inspired, as they say.

:)

Anonymous said...

the glory days are coming back

Willy D said...

an unexpected and inspired appointment - for us Mackems.

Kafka said...

Southampton!??!!!

In case you hadn't noticed, Portsmouth is not a suburb of London.

Still, from down here, Sunderland & Newcastle look like the same place ......

Blue moon said...

As a Man City fan who had qualms about him as our manager, what price on him leaving with the job not finished? If I was a Newcastle fan I'd also be worried about his relationship with Michael Owen.

ourman said...

I'd love it too and by the way I left the same newspaper a couple of years before you joined - to make my way in PR.

But I've hung on to my season ticket through thick and thin and I welcome his reappointment. It will end in tears, of that I have no doubts, most managerships too. But it promises to be a lot of fun in the meantime.

UK Daily Pundit said...

He'll be gone by the end of the year.

RedEye said...

In which case, maybe Moyes or Hughes will get the job.

spread bet said...

Being a Newcastle fan was never meant to be this hard! just when i thought things were looking up, after the return of legendary Geordie, Kevin Keegan, i go and read this article on some online sports spread betting company (follow link to see the article) that is already writing off his chances of turning round the clubs fortunes. This got me thinking, after seeing managers sacked after relatively short periods of time and new gaffer’s chances being talked down before even one game in charge, along these lines...

Are the football managers of today given enough time? I personally believe time is the answer - look at fergie at man u and Wenger at arsenal... My beloved Newcastle will never improve unless a manager with reasonable knowledge of the game is given time to put structures in place... I know its a cliché, but these people in the media and at this spread betting company site are putting the pressure on Chairmen and club owners to sack managers without thinking about long term managers. It angers me intensely reading the kind of stuff i saw on sporting index this morning! Read it for yourself and let me know what you think...

Click Here to read the article in full...