It took about two months for Kevin Keegan to sort out the players and team at Newcastle, before they started to play well and in Kevin’s all out attacking style.
Kevin Keegan - got great display out of his team in London
The first signs of a new team was when we played Blackburn off the park on Saturday 1st March, but we just couldnâ€™t put the ball in the net, even though Michael Owen on that day, by his own admission, had five good chances.
But that was a sign of what Kevin and his staff were doing in training behind the scenes, which was putting a new shape together for the boys and getting them to forget all the defensive views of former manager Sam Allardyce and start to play positive attacking football.
Steve Harper, whoâ€™s played great for Kevin since he came back, feels it was just a matter of time before the ideas Kevin introduced and the positive atmosphere he and his staff created behind the scenes at the club, turned into performance like that of Sunday.
â€œWhen the manager returned to the club I was quoted as saying fasten your seat-belts because it was going to be an exciting ride,â€ â€œIt has taken a little while to get going.”
“Itâ€™s been a difficult time for us all and difficult for the manager because he wasnâ€™t able to bring anybody in during the transfer window. He has been looking at what he has got and how best to use it, but we feel it is coming together.â€
â€œWe went behind at Birmingham City as well. But we responded to that in the right way, we came out and turned the game around in the second half and got the point.â€
â€œMaybe that was when things began to shift and the momentum came our way. Weâ€™ve followed that up with two back-to-back wins against Fulham and Tottenham and the confidence has returned.â€
â€œPeople might have thought he was mad to go to Birmingham with a formation like that, but that trio of Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka and Michael Owen will worry anybody and that is what they have done.â€
And Steve Harper is also hoping a few quality signings in the summer will add even more momentum to Newcastle second Keegan revival.
â€œWeâ€™ve shown what a good team we could be with the right additions in the summer. That is what the manager had challenged us to do and hopefully this is only the beginning.”
“You know, weâ€™re not safe yet, weâ€™ve got some work to do, but the whole place feels a lot better than it did.â€
More performance like that on Sunday will quickly make Newcastle one of the most popular teams to watch in the Premier League again. The attitude of the players on Sunday was first class, and we tip our hats to them. Right until the very end they were challenging for every ball, even though they had already, by that time, decimated a good Spurs side.
We don’t think we’ll be far off having an excellent side next season, and with the way Kevin plays the game, we’ll have to fasten our seat belts next season – we could very well be the surprise team of the season.
Although Mike Ashley’s appointment of Kevin Keegan was a calculated risk, and drove us more into the relegation mire than we wanted, it’s turning out to be the masterstroke that was needed.
Certainly to see Mike after the game on Sunday, he seemed as happy as anybody we’ve ever seen, as he was smiling and singing along with the fans. He’s just another fan on game days, but he’s also starting to see the fruits of his brave decision in January, and with displays like this we think he’ll be only too willing to fund Kevin’s transfer activity in the summer.
Roll on next season and the summer transfer window.
What do you think?