Friday, 5 September 2008

Sorry Geordies: Keegan's exit is a positive for Newcastle United!

I know this is unpalatable to Toon fans but Kevin Keegan is a proven loser and totally ill-equipped to lead a Premier League team in the 21st century. Newcastle, you're best off without him. The next thing for the Toon to pray for is a Manchester City-style change of ownership and rid themselves of Oyk Ashley too.

It's time for Newcastle United to extricate itself from the past. The last time Kevin Keegan led Newcastle to (near) glory in the 90's, he was merely pitted against Arsenal's Bruce Rioch, Liverpool's Roy Evans and Chelsea's Ruud Gullit.

Who beat Keegan to the title? the ultimate football winner, Alex Ferguson. Aside from the total one-off that is The Govanor, the game's moved on.

Now Arsenal are led by Arsene Wenger, at Liverpool it's Rafa Benitez, Chelsea have a World Cup winner in the shape of Big Phil and it's still SIR Alex Ferguson of United. Then there's Martin O'Neill at Villa and Tottenham's Juande Ramos. Keegan can't hold a candle to any of them.
"We cannot possibly understand the fabled north-east football mentality", we're told as outsiders.
It's that mentality which propels Kevin Keegan to its summit as some sort of messiah. A romantic figure, a Pied Piper leading Newcastle to Wembley wins and open-top bus celebrations around Sid James' Park.
WAKE UP!! If Newcastle played Blyth Spartans, Hartlepool(s) and Darlington every week, the north-east mentality would be all that was required. But Newcastle doesn't operate in isolation.
In fact, the fabled north-east mentality comes off the rails every time its pitted against the north-west mentality; clubs from there win big pots every year - and have done so for 50 years.
Keegan was never the man to lead Newcastle out of the mire. Even with a supportive Geordie board rather than Ashley, he'd have found a way to quit.
Not that Ashley's any better. He's even worse to be honest; he has a track record of division and riding roughshod over anyone in his way.
Newcastle need a strong man the fans recognise and who they'd get behind - BUT someone without the baggage of a triumphant return. Someone to wipe the slate clean, to look to the future not the past. To really be in charge without board or middle-management interference.
Jose Mourinho, Martin O'Neill and Fabio Capello fit the bill. They're not available and would never be under the current circumstances. Who'd work for Ashley? The severance clause would be the most important part of the contract!
Keegan's Long Walkout of Fiefdom is hardly going to encourage a top coach to replace him. It might even leave Dennis Wise in the boxseat for the hotseat.
Still, as indigestible as that might be to every Toon fan, at least it would simplify the lousiest management structure in the Premier League.
And until they sort that out, there's no future for Newcastle United at all.

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