Another excellent interview today in the Newcastle Journal with Kevin Keegan, and he talks about one of our favorite players at the club – Obafemi Martins.
Martins – passion personified – what it’s like scoring for Newcastle – great
Kevin spoke today with the Newcastle Journal:
â€œI knew a bit about Oba because I had seen him when he played in Italy but, youâ€™re right, I did not see him properly until I had been here three-and-a-half weeks.â€œHe gives us something else. As a manager, when you have a squad, you do not want 18 players all the same and the players who can make this squad different werenâ€™t here. â€œ
â€œMark Viduka was injured and Oba was away (at the African Cup of Nations) and then injured so when you start to get them all around, you think â€˜right, that could work quite well.â€
â€œSometimes you see something in training and you think ooh, you know. I am sure it happens at other clubs. Iâ€™m sure it has happened at Liverpool this year, I donâ€™t think Rafa (Benitez), in his wildest dreams, was going to play Steven Gerrard behind one front man at home.â€
â€œIf we had lost, it would have been foolish and if we had won it would have been very brave. Because we drew, it was okay,â€
â€œAs a manager you do not make decisions on what others think. You have got your players, you have your box of toys to play with, if you like. You can play in lots of different ways and on that day, that is what we decided and I think it was the right decision backed up by a good second half.â€
â€œI can see why people say that the team had the Keegan mark, as it were. Weâ€™ve now got to the point where I have a good hang on everyone at the club. When I first came in, there were four not here away on African Nations duty, there were a couple of players out with injuries, stuff like that. It was a team sent out to do a job, but it had a goal threat to it and I think that is what people mean.â€
â€œThe team I put out at Liverpool, although it was there to do a job, I never felt it had a goal threat against them. We had reasons for doing that but I just made up my mind that the next team I sent out would have both the ability to score goals and the ability to hold on to something because you have to have that.â€
Kevin was happy with the way his three strikers played on Monday night, but Martinâ€™s reaction to being substituted on Monday, will not affect him from making the necessary changes he deems necessary. Thatâ€™s Kevinâ€™s job, and the players know that.
â€œLike a lot of people I could not understand why Oba was so upset but I just laugh it off because you have to. I joked with him the next day, I heard that Robbie Keane had been fined two weeksâ€™ wages for doing the same thing at Tottenham. I donâ€™t know if he understood me properly, but I think he did.â€â€œYou know, it did not bother me, to be honest. It bothers other people. With Oba, I could not quite understand it but I was not going to let it spoil the night. I think he felt he could damage Birmingham and maybe get the winner.â€
â€œYeah, that is what I would put it down to. He was not out of order for what he did. Itâ€™s just that, at the end of the day, if the manager fetches you off, he isnâ€™t going to change his mind by your reaction or anything.â€
â€œMaybe he is fortunate with me in that I do not think anything big about it. I just laughed it off at the time and just sort of joked with him since then, but it wonâ€™t stop me fetching him off again if I think it is right.â€
We think Kevin reacted to the situation on Monday night superbly. Of course the TV people were hoping he wouldn’t, but he was right to do exactly what he did. His embrace of Oba when he came off took the tension right out of the incident – and the TV people wouldn’t have liked it one little bit. 😀
But if Kevin is nothing else, he a leader of men, and that is starting to show up now big time at the club. He can’t even help it or take credit for it, because you’re either born with it or you aren’t. Kevin was born with it in spades, and his charisma is there for all to see.
That’s just one reason he has been so successful in almost everything he’s tried in life, and yes he’s had some failures, but that’s because he was brave enough to try new things, with no guarantees of success. Come to think of it that’s what he’s doing right now.
But back to Oba and he cannot do that piece of theatrics again. Once is OK, but that’s it – no encores. He can feel the frustration of being substituted, but he shouldn’t ‘t show it openly.
Oba is well aware that Kevin is only doing his job, and what’s best for the team. But in a nice way it all worked to Newcastle’s advantage on Monday night, because here was a guy who had passion written all over his face for the Newcastle cause.
We thought at the time he was annoyed because he thought he could either get the winner himself, or create it for someone else. So did we, and he had already done that for Owen’s goal.
Bottom line – it’s great to have Oba Martins at Newcastle United Football Club, and we hope he’s here for a long long time – we love the guy.