Kevin Keegan has talked about the game until the end of the season and what it means to him and the players.
Keegan – remainder of season is test of character
Keegan said today:
â€œIt is a test of character for all of us at the club. I cannot say to the players, â€˜ Come on, we can finish in seventh or eighth placeâ€™, although we probably would if we went unbeaten until the end of the season.â€
â€œBut in reality, our season is now just about how high we can finish, and how close we can get together with each other and get the very best out of ourselves.â€
â€œI would not say they are on trial but I think at a club, every training session, players have the chance to show what they have got. You learn about character of players, how much the little games are important to win. You need all that at a football club.â€
â€œSo it is a great time for us to get really close-knit and start to turn this club round. It starts now. It does not start at the beginning of next season.â€
It’s interesting that right now we have 27 points out of 24 games played. Two years ago on this day (Feb 2nd, 2006) Souness was sacked after we lost 3-0 at Manchester City the night before.
Glenn Roeder took over the next day and we then had 26 points from 23 games – very similar to today. In fact last year at this time we also had 26 points from 23 games, so we’ve had about the same points total these last 3 years at this time – which is not good. By the way, we’ve had Souness, Roeder, Allardyce and Keegan as managers in these last 2 years.
Glenn Roeder , with the help of Shearer in the last 15 games, won 10, drew 2 and lost 3. That’s 32 points from the last 15 games. The goals were 27 scored and 14 conceded during that time, and we captured 19 points out of the last 7 games, dropping the 2 points away to Birmingham, who were relegated that year.
We finished up 7th in the league with 58 points, just edging out Sam Allardcye’s Bolton in the last game, when we beat Champions Chelsea 1-0 at St. James Park, with a cracking goal by …. Titus Bramble, after 73 minutes from an Emre corner. We qualified for the Inter-Toto Cup and then qualified through that (we won it), for the UEFA Cup the next season.
That’s why Roeder was appointed manager.
It will be interesting to see how we do this year. although to expect two miracles in three years will probably be asking too much.
But as Keegan rightly says, the players have everything to play for, because it’s an absolute certainly that around 6 players will be coming in during the summer. Some of our current players will be superfluous to requirements at the end of the season, and will be moved out. So they are playing for their futures at the club. That’s something to play for surely.