Robson – Tough Slog Ahead for Keegan

Bobby Robson is an admired football manager, and what he says is usually very close to the truth. And he thinks it’s going to be a real tough slog for Kevin Keegan at Newcastle in the foreseeable future.


Bobby Robson at the BBC Lifetime Achievement Award
with one of his former players Gary Lineker

Bobby has been talking to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and he pulls no punches by stating that the current Newcastle squad is just not good enough. Well that sounds close to the truth.

But some of the current squad will have to be moved out in the summer too.

Bobby told the Evening Chronicle:

“Kevin has a mammoth job all right, a really difficult job because his squad is not good enough,”

“That is the harsh fact of the matter. He has to make do and mend until the summer.“He can then put together his own team. That will mean retaining some, but definitely getting rid of others.”

“They will not win anything this season, but equally, won’t go down. I am convinced of that. However, it is not going to be pretty.”

“It is going to be a tough slog.”

It will be interesting to see who Kevin thinks is not good enough in the current squad. We would think Carr, Ameobi and Rozehnal are almost certainties to go, but there may also be one or two shocks.

Of course Charles N’Zogbia may also go, but that would be his choice, and we really hope he stays.

If we were to be pressed as to who else could leave in the summer we’d go for Alan Smith, if we can get our £6M. Alan hasn’t really looked the part for Newcastle this season, and we believe there are better players out there who could come in and do a better job for the team. Alan could be a good squad player but we’re not sure he would want that.

We’re also not sure what will happen with Peter Ramage, whose contract runs out in June, and he hasn’t played for Newcastle, since suffering that Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury at the start of the season. Not sure if he’ll even have a chance to prove to Kevin what he can do.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

27 comments so far

  • adam

    Feb 17, 2008 at 10:57 PM

    Comment #1

    i hope sir bob comes and helps out at newcastle. we have to use his experience and knowledge of players abroad.

  • AlexW

    Feb 17, 2008 at 11:03 PM

    Comment #2

    who should definatley go:
    CARR – no need for an explanation
    AMEOBI – big, slow, stupid…..nice lad though just doesnt cut the mustard
    ROZENHAL – went on a bender coz e wa playing in diff positions, only here for a pay cheque, get rid
    RAMAGE – i like this lad, but he isnt premiership qaultity, he did a decent job for his last year filling in but i think could do much better in the championship or somewhere like sunderland if they stay up
    VIDUKA – reluctant to put him on, but we should try and bring another striker in in the summer so we dont need his services and theres no point having him in the pay roll if hes sat around

    i havnt put butt and smith on because they are great sqaud players and are always 100% committed and you need these people on the bench especially if we need pulling through tight games

  • Gooderz

    Feb 17, 2008 at 11:03 PM

    Comment #3

    It would be great he was invited for a little chat with Keegan, Wise and Mort about players. If both Keegan and Robson agreed on someone then we couldn’t go too far wrong.

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 17, 2008 at 11:09 PM

    Comment #4

    Out: (Order of haste)
    1. Butt
    2. Smith
    3. Carr
    4. Rozehnal
    5. Ameobi
    6. Ramage

    Then get 6 players in and use reserves and use for squad player to give them experience.

  • Leo*

    Feb 17, 2008 at 11:41 PM

    Comment #5

    well as for ramage i think he will be offered a new contract, a year one just because he has got potential and loves the club

    (i know there is no room for sentiment in the game but he is worth it, and its not much a risk)

    how ever much i despise nicky butt for his exploits on the pitch i dont see us getting rid unless we get a decent bid, due to the fact that he is a experienced SQUAD player.

    so my outs would be

    rozehnal(although i dont want this)
    nzogbia(fear this is going to happen unfortunatly)
    ameobi- he has had enough of that lovely sentiment to last till the end of the millenium

  • Ausgeordie

    Feb 17, 2008 at 11:46 PM

    Comment #6

    Out ASAP
    Carr ( 1m), Ameobi (1.5 mill), Butt (1 mill), Smith (3 mill), Viduka (2.5 mill), Barton (3 mill).

    In wish list
    Timmy Cahill (9mill) or break the bank if necessary, Crouch (9 mill) or Kenwyne Jones (5 mill), Arshavin (6 mill), Bridge (7 mill).

    I hope we can spend some money but looking at who we have to sell I cant imagine any of them fetching us a great deal which just shows their lack of quality.

  • CJ

    Feb 18, 2008 at 12:01 AM

    Comment #7

    Ausgeordie- Agree with that i would get rid of Viduka but only if we could get someone like Crouch in who also is great at holding the ball up.
    As for Carr i think his contract runs out in the summer but i would help pay some of his contract off if i had the money Ameobi we should def get rid of he made his debut for us a long time ago and hasn’t performed well for a long time.
    Smith has been pretty bad and Barton hopefully will get locked up and get bummed.
    Agree try and sign Cahill he is a great att mid just what we need plus he scores plenty of goals and he is a great team player. Bridge is a good player but is injury prone although is better than what we have at the club in that position.
    I haven’t seen Arshavin play enough to say we should sign him and Kenwyne Jones looks a decent player and i would love it if we were to take Sunderlands best player off them as he is there only decent player.

  • Bill F

    Feb 18, 2008 at 12:36 AM

    Comment #8

    Be interesting to see Sir Bobs out list.

    I said from the beggining of the season we were light on strikers and that Viduka was a waste of good money despite some good goals. He just isn’t up to EPL standard anymore. Would probably be great in a lower league similar to the Hull oldie.

    The French guy Gomis looks similar to KWJ and would probably be cheaper.

  • m. stockley (nicky butt is crap)

    Feb 18, 2008 at 12:39 AM

    Comment #9

    maybe we could give licky butt to oxfam!

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 18, 2008 at 12:41 AM

    Comment #10

    Hes got a funny first name too, Bafetimbi. Apparently hes a lot like Drogba. Roma are looking to sign him for 7 mil. I like Cavani, hes quite similar to Gomis.

  • GP

    Feb 18, 2008 at 1:10 AM

    Comment #11

    Sir Bobby is the featured article over on wikipedia. Who needs medals when you have that?

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 18, 2008 at 1:37 AM

    Comment #12

    How about Johann Vogel, hes a free agent and better than most of our central midfielders.

  • KKN39

    Feb 18, 2008 at 2:36 AM

    Comment #13

    if we can stay up:
    i’ll let Smith go for 4m, b4 he gets more aged n worth even less
    byebye Shola he shouldn’t even make the bench for any PL side
    Carr nxt to go – he isnt too bad this couple mths, but we have plenty of young defenders and squad players; Edgar can step in as a RB cover fro Beye at least
    choose ONE from Geremi and Butt – one old slow squad player in midfield already enough
    if Zog wanna go let him go, but pls get an equally talented youngster to replace him, say Aiden McGeady
    not sure why ppl keep saying Ramage should go? he’s not talented but he’s far from being our worst defender – young n always give 110% – worth keeping
    refill the strikeforce with Pandev (Roz a makeweight of 5m euro hopefully?)
    Arshavin to fill the void left by Dyer and Solano
    Bridge as 1st choice LB but don’t give up on Enrique who seems w/ potential
    if Kalouda is good enough snap him up asap; get another young DM to replace Butt OR Geremi in a yr or two
    plus more 1st team actions for LuaLua, Carroll, Kadar pls

  • Zx

    Feb 18, 2008 at 8:40 AM

    Comment #14

    I hope MA sued thesun papers for this. Those motherfvckers have gone overboard this time round.

  • figsdad

    Feb 18, 2008 at 8:58 AM

    Comment #15

    i would get rid of the lot…

    start fresh…

  • steve k

    Feb 18, 2008 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #16

    bobby obviously hasn’t heard kev’s two phase plan.

  • Graeme

    Feb 18, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #17

    Zx, how do we know its not based in some truth?? If MA doesnt sue, does that mean its true??

    Perhaps he’s trying to establish just what the club is really worth, just supposing some of the rumours about people wanting to buy the club are true!! He’s supposed to be a shrewd businessman afterall!! Wouldnt you want to know that your asset was worth more than you paid for it?

    Quite frankly, we could do without the upheaval a change of owner would create, but as fans we are powerless. If its gonna happen, hopefully it will all be done in April/May so everything is sorted without affecting the managers ability to put his team in place. Just another day at the NUFC office eh!!!

  • Chicken

    Feb 18, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #18

    Happy Birthday Sir Bobby 🙂

  • steve

    Feb 18, 2008 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #19

    Smith, Butt, Carr, Ameobi, Rozy, Geremi, Barton, Cacapa – I know this will be unpopular but I’d get rid of Taylor as well, we really need someone who is comfortable on the ball at CB (a bit like Ferdinand) and I’d have them partner Faye – I doubt Taylor will want to sit on the bench next season and he makes to many mistakes at the moment.
    It all depends on who we can get to sign for us in the summer

  • Chicken

    Feb 18, 2008 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #20

    I’d keep Butt, Smith, Rozenhal, Geremi and Cacapa.

    Definitely ship out Barton, Carr, Ameobi, Ramage.

    We have a smaller enough squad as it is – I can’t see us managing to get more than 3 or 4 players to add to that – so I really don’t think it’s in our best interests to get rid of too many just yet.

    I do think that the goalkeeping position needs to be looked at seriously in the Summer, and that could mean Given and/or Harper making way for a true world class replacement.

  • marcus owen

    Feb 18, 2008 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #21

    I think whoever come in at this time will struggled. The most important thing is I prefer struggle with KK rather than Sam. The most Sam can do is to turn us into another Bolton type of team. I really hate that.

    As for Ramage, I think we should give him another season to prove he is capable to do the job. Nobody want to get injured by themselve, it is just an accident.

    Players out:-
    Smith & Butt (If only KK unwilling to drop them).


    Feb 18, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #22

    Ausgeordie i just saw what you said about my recent posts yes ive been pushing ours and the mackems fixture lists, F**k off you c**nt
    no one cares that we still have 12 games before we can start rebuilding for next season.
    I f***cking care because everyone on this blog talks of next season, when we’ll buy this that and the other yet we are six points off the drop. i think people should care that we might end up relegated with a half empty stadium, no manager or coaches and our best players like given, taylor, faye, beye, N’zogbia, milner, emre, martins, Barton, enrique, owen, viduka, duff and probably most of our golden youngsters all leaving
    The remainder of this season is the most important thing you wanker!!!

  • Zx

    Feb 18, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #23

    Graeme, it just doesn’t make sense to sell it now. We are in a terrible state, what value do we have? Won’t it make more sense to sell it when we are in a top 10 placing?

    How many times have thesun reported that Owen is leaving the club? fvck them, he is still here. How many times must Chris Mort come out and say that there is no truth in the report? I hope thesun can substantiate their story with more facts and evidence instead of having “insiders” telling them this and that.

    This kinda report are written to kill the club, it only adds on to the uncertainty and doesn’t help the team at all.

  • Graeme

    Feb 18, 2008 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #24

    Zx, of course it doesnt make sense, but when has anything to do with NUFC made sense? Rarely in the 40+ years I’ve been a fan.

    Unfortunately, because we are in a worse state now, than we were a year ago, its what makes the club more attractive to buy, not less. Our POTENTIAL hasnt diminished, our capacity to generate huge income hasnt dropped in the slightest.

    The club has failed to develop in any way on the playing front since MA took over. Replacing the Manager was a total debacle; hardly the actions of a well run club or business lets be honest. Even his favoured replacement wouldnt touch it, so he had to go to Keegan as he knew the fans would accept him. Even though far better managers were available at the time, which smacks of yet another knee-jerk reaction, which hasnt taken off either.

    What the club does have, is a much healthier financial position from when MA took over, for which he does deserve credit but which in itself makes the club an attractive buy!!

    Any potential buyer knows all this and also knows what it could become, if it was a force in the Premiership. They know, that with a top rate manager and an influx of GOOD players, they will be able to reap huge rewards from TV, Shirts, tickets etc.

    MA knows all this as well, but has failed to make it happen – hence all the interest and speculation. It will only stop when he shows real intent in the transfer market, makes a serious investment in the playing staff of the 1st team. Until then this speculation wont go away.

  • SAM

    Feb 18, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #25

    Robson is right about the squad not being good enough. Why is it that nufcblog and others then talk about getting rid of Ameobi.

    The problem is the first eleven are not good enough – or that they do not play as a team. Our problem is not with our fourth choice striker?

    I am sick of people talking about Ameobi not being good enough. Frankly we have Owen, Martins, Viduka and Smith – all of whom are on 3, 4 or 5 times Ameobi’s salary. It is these players that we need to change if they cannot score goals/keep getting injured.

    The main problems for the team are

    (a) no decent cover for fullbacks – we need two fast /tall left and right fullback who can defend and support the attack. We have potentially two (Beye/Enrique) but these are new players who are still learning about the premiership. And yes Carr should go.

    (b) the midfield is not functioning. It is not supporting the defence and doesn’t create. I think this is more a problem for the manager because in theory Milner/Zog/Barton/Emre should be fast/creative/effective. I don’t really know who would definitely improve the midfield (from the players that would consider joining Newcastle). I don’t think Butt and Smith add anything to the team – Butt is destructive but doesn’t have the speed and stamina for 90 mins.

    (c) Attack – again we have some good strikers. I don’t think we can particularly improve on Owen, Viduka, Martins.

    Summary in theory the players aren’t too bad. It’s just we are not a unit and the players do not know how to play together as a team. Certainly our fullbacks have always been very poor – but with Beye/Enrique we have made improvements. Still no cover so replacements such as carr / ramage wouldn’t get into any other top 10 team (make that top 17).

    Perhaps the single biggest problem is how much speed we have in the team. Certainly through the middle – and especially if we lose Zog. It looks to me that Martin O’Neil has brought in speed into his squad and this has dramatically improved their team.

  • ScottyT

    Feb 18, 2008 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #26

    my outs same as everyone else really:

    Ameobi – 1-2m – sorry sam but hes had enough chances slow doesnt score enough and injury prone
    Carr – free – is simply shite
    Rozehnal – 2-4m? – doesnt want to be here so f..k him
    Barton (Why did we ever sign this thug) – free contract terminated anything
    butt – free? – too old need new exciting talent coming through like bobby brought through in dyer jenas etc
    smith – 1-4m – not good enough in cm or st passion but no quality
    geremi – free-2m – hopefully he can impove after anc but he seems too slow and again is to predictable and no creativity
    ramage – 1m – was always good cover (bit like aaron hughes) but we need higher quality

    as ive sed b4 i think we need a massive clearout starting with these players it does mean we need hell of a lot of players in the summer but thats what it will take imo to make us a decent side again .. there isnt many players in the squad atm who are good enough to stay tbh

  • stjames

    Feb 18, 2008 at 9:07 PM

    Comment #27

    This is what I wrote 10 days ago:

    Sam’ team is simply not good enough. It was not good enough under Sam and is certainly not good enough to play KK’s football, – or Al’s for that matter.

    We have a bitter struggle ahead of us, – the struggle against RELEGATION. Let’ use any means necessary, even if it means ugly football, to gather the 10 point or so we need to stay up. Next summer is the period to start rebuilding, with or without Big Al.

    Seems that I’ve got a soulmate in Sir Bobby. Not bad.


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