Looks Like Redknapp Was Ashley’s First Choice

As we started to understand yesterday, Kevin Keegan was always in the frame to be Newcastle United manager, and he was approached a week last Thursday by the club. But it looks like he wasn’t owner Ashley’s first choice.


The leaders of Newcastle United, Chris and Kevin shake hands

Chris Mort has clarified that situation with the Shields Gazette today. Chris told Miles Starfworth:

“He was always on the list of people to talk to, and we started taking soundings from Thursday last week from the people who are close to him, and some mutual friends.”

“We asked them what the prospects of getting Kevin back here were, and at that stage they didn’t think it would happen.”

“We made the call and it didn’t take long to realize that Kevin had massive enthusiasm for this club.”

“He wanted to meet us, and tell us how he wanted to take the club forward.” “We’ve got on well this week, and we’re delighted to have him back.”

“Although I haven’t been at this club as long as others, it doesn’t take long to know that the way Kevin turned this club around means he is held in such high regard by the people of Newcastle.”

“It was no surprise we’ve had such a positive reaction from the fans.”

But the problem we have with all of this is why was Harry Redknapp ever offered the job?

From all reports, it looks to us like if Harry had said yes, the job was his last Saturday morning.  So we have to believe that Harry was owner Mike Ashley’s first choice, otherwise he wouldn’t have got the job offer in the first place.

It may have been that Mike Ashley was convinced by his friend Paul Kemsley to go for Harry Redknapp first. But in retrospect that would have been a massive mistake if Kevin was indeed willing to take the job.

The puzzle here is why did Newcastle United ever offer Harry Redknapp the job if indeed Kevin had said he was willing to take the Newcastle job?    Offering Harry the job after all, has never been denied by the Tyneside club.

Comments welcome.

36 comments so far

  • Hammy

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #1

    Ashley will realise at 5.15 why he’s made the right choice….

  • Phani Tikkala

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #2

    Where in that statement doe’s it mention anything other than they had a list of names to contact. Nowhere does it mention Redknapp was their first choice or even offered it to him?
    Personally, I think HR was approached to see if would be interested in the job (i.e. in the mix for the job), but never offered it. As Mort has stated earlier “there is a difference between an interview invitation and a job offer”. Redknapp used this contact with NUFC to his advantage to get more pay and a fel good factor with his supporters.

  • Gilly

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #3

    Well said Hammy

  • Ant

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #4

    If Harry Redknapp had come I’d not be posting on this blog yet again…I read all the articles but posting is something I don’t bother with. But I can’t get KK out of my head, was out in Whitley Bay last night and there were girls dancing and people doing daft things…but there’s only one thing on my mind…and that’s the return of the King!

  • Hammy

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #5

    I heard the full interview with Mort on 5 live, the interviewer was trying always to get Mort to say Keegan was second choice, like Phani says they were just sounding out who actually wanted the job before making a decision, evertything was above board.

  • Adrian Swall

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #6

    Phani. Could it not simply be a case of Terry Mac telling Mort “I tink Kevin is interested, lah. Do you want me to give him a ring?”

  • Adrian Swall

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:17 PM

    Comment #7

    Do we really need a post MORTem anyway?

  • ObaFan2

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    Comment #8

    Sorry Ed but I can’t see where he says Redknapp was his 1st choice?

    “there is a difference between a job interview and a job offer” was said last week.

    HR made as much as he could out of the situation and reading this statement where they sound out KK’s friends first is interesting because they were able to keep it quiet and not let the press OR bookies know.

    KK is and always will be no1 for the Toon.

    Great move by MA for every reason.

  • Adrian Swall

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #9

    Well said Oba. Ed’s got this one totally wrong. Let’s close this particular blog.

  • ObaFan2

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #10

    Yeah it’s history now and it’s his loss but how much is it our gain………. Go on the TOON.

  • James

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #11

    Ashley always wanted Keegan but was told by friends of his last summer that he would never come back. They approached him again before anyone else this time. They were still unsure if he was coming so they spoke to the reps of other managers to sound them out should Keegan say no. Then twat face Harry makes this big claim that he turned us down, when in fact Mort said he was never offered the job and didn’t even meet him.

  • wsq

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #12

    again.. this web site is quickly becoming tabloid-ish!

  • Yorkie Dave

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #13

    who cares really, anyway Harry who…….
    somebody Redknappp…… dont know who he is. We’ve got the MESSIAH back thats all we need

  • stantos

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    Comment #14

    off subject guys but take a look at this. It appears his Elmander dude can play a bit. A modern day Sir Les, with a bit more skill lol



    KK will be in for him like a shot, looks perfect to play alongside Owen or Oba, with crosses flying in there’s no way he wont score!!!!!

  • James

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    Comment #15

    Manure have slapped a £14 million price tag on Carrick. Perhaps they know Mort is preparing to bid for him….

  • KKDisciple

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #16

    Nothing sums it up better than this http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A31226005

    KK brightens my day. Give it up for ashley

  • Ant

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #17

    Watching the Keegan news conference again on skysports http://www.skysports.com/video/0,20285,12603_2627949,00.html watched it live yesterday but I mean come on it has to be watched again and again!!

    I love the King and I love what could happen under this absolute legend.

    One of the biggest footballing men of all time. No-one can try and say different!

  • Greg B

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #18

    I was also of the understanding that the job was never actually offered to Redknapp, he was just approached to see if he would be interested in the vacant position, he eventually said no, possibly after wangling a pay rise from Portsmouth, allegedly…..
    Anyway, whatever happened with Redknapp who cares, Keegan is the best choice – had someone else (Jol, Hughes, etc) taken over it would still have been a gamble. Even with Keegan there is no guarantee of us improving however just the buzz and enthusiasm (something I dont think any of the other candidates would have brought) is enough to suggest things may be on the up.
    Howay the Toon!

  • Drago

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #19

    damn Carrick would be great buy, and i think 14 is normal price, because he’s a Geordie 🙂

  • Hadrian

    Jan 19, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #20

    honest whats the point in starting post like this with that headline ?
    u make me wonder at times ed ,

  • Steeley

    Jan 19, 2008 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #21

    Ed, I dont think this article clarifies anything relating to th HR line to be honest. Where from the quote given from Mort does it mention anything about MA’s mate at Spurs saying anything about HR??

  • stjames

    Jan 19, 2008 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #22

    Who was first and who was second? Does it matter? I don’t think so. This speculation is purely academic for me.

    In past situations you had the feeling Shepherd couldn’t get anyone from his short list and had to pick someone way down on his long list.

    Not so this time. 🙂 🙂

  • Victor Meldrew

    Jan 19, 2008 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #23

    Anyone else notice that AS was holding a gun to Mort’s head on Tuesday night. If it hadn’t have been KK, AS statements would have made it very difficult for whoever took the job. I don’t think Mort trusts AS. Shame really. Then again AS says that MA has never ever spoken to him.

  • ChrisL

    Jan 19, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #24

    I agree, this web site is quickly becoming very tabloid-ish!
    Which is a shame.

  • Victor Meldrew

    Jan 19, 2008 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #25

    Let’s get one thing straight guys. Ed is a fan. Ed runs this site. Ed makes a lot of money from this site. Tabloids make money. End of.

  • Paul

    Jan 19, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    Comment #26

    You assume an awful lot from reading the wire services Ed.
    If you don’t know the facts don’t make them up, just makes you look like that Manc you used to play with.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jan 19, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #27

    Becoming Tabloidish – aghhhhhhhhhhhh.
    The point I was trying to make and probably didn’t was that Redknapp was offered the job first – and if he had taken it we wouldn’t have had Kevin Keegan in place.
    I think that would have been a huge mistake – not saying he was Mort’s first choice – but Mike owns the club so why would he offer the job to Harry first?
    That was the “evidence” I may not have stated too clearly in the article. 🙁

  • Ed Harrison

    Jan 19, 2008 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #28

    Paul – who is that ???

  • Hadrian

    Jan 19, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #29

    quick tip , never have kids !!!!
    or adopt them when they are old enough to take to the match .
    or dont let the wife work weekends !
    thank god for setanta.

    ps , ed this post format is wierd , names of posters needs tobe bigger at least , my eyes aint what they used tobe . we only bug you cos we care !! 🙂

  • Ed Harrison

    Jan 19, 2008 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #30

    We’ve tried to clarify the reasoning behind the headline in the last couple of paragraphs.

  • Paul

    Jan 19, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #31

    Ed can you not remember ‘Bile’
    The guy you used to run the site for ????

    RedKnapp wasn’t offered the job at all, never mind first.


    Jan 19, 2008 at 4:19 PM

    Comment #32

    Poor article Ed. You summised. The board made it imperative to have a new man in NOW relative to the January transfer window. They had a VERY limited time to conduct interviews, so they had already made arrangements and meetings. Houllier, Hughes etc. Rednapp just made it official. Probablies surfed the betting market, made himself a few million. Keegan was a longshot, you dont focus all club internal efforts on such incase it doesnt work out. Remember, the deal was raw when it was announced and more importantly, at the way it was announced which would suggest MA and CM were DELIGHTED. Like a child at xmas having got just what he wanted, needed to call his pals.


    Jan 19, 2008 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #33

    Infact Ed, as not only a Nufc supporter, but a blogger Im surprised and abit disapointed that you chose this day of all, Kevs return, to willingly put out this article. You dont work for the daily mirror do ya.

  • Steeley

    Jan 20, 2008 at 2:39 AM

    Comment #34

    Ed, I see you changed the article a bit, but it still has absolutely no proof AT ALL that HR was offered the job before KK! Of course it is more than likely that is what happened, but your article makes no sense, or reference to that point other than your own thoughts on the issue.

    Some of the guys are right, it is very tabloidish and I must say that having been a big critic of yours recently (your unstinting support for Allardyce was sickening – especially in light of how much you’re creaming over KK now!) that I thought your articles have at least become more representative now – but this one should be removed really…..it’s like one of them little columns in the NOTW which states something completely untrue just coz they need to fill a gap in the page!

  • Ed Harrison

    Jan 20, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    Comment #35

    BW Positive – your comments are noted – thanks.

  • stjames

    Jan 20, 2008 at 9:33 PM

    Comment #36

    Wow wow. Slow down a little fellow toons.

    You may agree with this article or not but there is no reason to attack Ed personally because of it. He does certainly not deserve that. No reason at all. 🙁

    He has every right to write anything he wants on this site, which is his and his alone. I for one am very glad and grateful for how energetic he is. I don’t always agree with him but I would miss his site terribly if it wasn’t there.

    Thank you Ed. 🙂 🙂 🙂


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