Keegan Anxious To Test Ashley’s Newcastle Ambitions

Kevin Keegan is getting near to the time when Newcastle will be mathematically safe and can sit down with owner Mike Ashley and Chairman Chris Mort and plan which players they will pursue in the summer.


Chris Mort and Kevin Keegan – transfer discussions looming

Keegan told the Sunday Mirror today:

“Mr Ashley said he wanted to win something in three-and-a-half years. When we sit down in the next few weeks we will see how desperate he is to win something in that time.”

“That will become clear when we see the players this club will go after in the summer. We haven’t had that conversation yet.”

But Keegan thinks the days of Newcastle United battling for the title or beating Manchester United or Arsenal to big signings are a thing of the past right now.

Keegan added:

“It’s a different world now compared to when I first came here as a manager.” “Without showing any disrespect to my players I think you could take any one of the players on the benches of the top four and they would be five of the first six names on the team sheet at most other clubs.”

“You look at Manchester United and their bench is £60M-70M worth of players. You’ve got a Nani or a Hargreaves on the bench.” “It’s not practical or feasible for a manager of Newcastle United to say what I said before, ‘Watch out Sir Alex, we are after your title”. “They have gone on and in many respects we have gone backwards.”

“You hope you could appeal to some of the players who go to the top four clubs and don’t play every week. We need four or five players but if you are clever that doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. You can get Bosmans worth £10M so we will see what we can do there too.” “We can go for the top players but we can’t offer them European football – and we can’t offer them a top-four finish next season.”

It’s reasonable for Kevin to rule out a top 4 place for Newcastle next season, but positions after that are up for grabs, and with 4-5 good signings in the summer the Newcastle squad will be much better than they’ve been this season. So while ruling out a top-four challenge, Keegan believes Newcastle must finish at the very least in the top eight.

Kevin added:

“Outside of the top eight would be unacceptable. We’ve got a group of teams such as Spurs, Villa and Everton we can challenge but not the top four.”

“If you forget ability and look at the size of the club, the turnover, the fan base and take everything into consideration we should finish fifth to eighth.”

The number of players Kevin says he’s after we notice keeps changing. Today he says we need 4-5 good players in the summer and he has yet to sit down with Mike Ashley and Chris Mort to discuss which players they will pursue over the summer.

But we’re fairly certain that now is the time that Mike will back Kevin with big money. Kevin has earned that right, after he has Newcastle United now playing like they did in the 1990s, and winning games easily. Well at least the last couple of games. 😀

We’ll need to keep our feet firmly on the ground, but the way the team has easily won their last couple of games and scored 7 goals in the process, makes that increasingly difficult for Newcastle fans.

What do you think about this situation?

Comments very welcome.

21 comments so far

  • Ausgeordie

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #1

    Thanks god Ash got rid of his smith shirt it was like a bad omen. Speaking of whichMy grand mother made me a geordie doll for xmas…creepy looking thing. I figured she made it a week before xmas when our bad run started and I cut the thing up and tossed it away before the birmingham game. I thought the thing was bad luck and its turning out right cause we aint lost since!!

    Bearing in mind the sort of players not getting enough game time that KK wants. I’d like to see Bridge, Crouch, Malbranque. Brown on the transfer.

  • stk

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #2

    signing veloso would be a start!
    reyes or fabiano im not too keen on, arshavin, bodmer and bridge would be my other signings

  • phoonCK

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #3

    10 goals scored and 2 goals conceded in the last 4 matches. what can i say?

    The King is back! Long live the Messiah!

    Keep the Faith
    Howay the Lads

  • Archie Brand

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #4

    I disagree, Ed.

    I think that another team could break into the top 4 very soon.
    It’s about talent and the money required to buy it.
    Then it’s about getting everything working properly together.

    As more money becomes available for other teams in the league the gap will narrow.

    Then you look at what the money has achieved – Ballack and Schevchenko for example.
    Management of resources is now a major part, and Grant and Benitez are not as impressive as Wenger and Ferguson.

    Anyone care to wager that the “big” 4 don’t take the top for places next season?

    A few beers and a meal says next season we see a change. Not necessarily the Toon, but possibly.

    Of course you’d have to come to Bahrain to collect.

  • Jim

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #5

    But who???

  • wrighty

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #6

    I have just been watching the Sunday Supplement on SKY.

    These guys are f4cking so annoying ! These are the same guys (Brian Woolnough & Steve Curry!) who ridicule the Geordie nation and our team at every chance and now they are saying that us lot will get carried away and say we’re going to win the league because we have won 3 on the trot.
    The next breath they are saying that the Toon Army are either really high or really low and nothing in the middle! Some fans are but so are some fans of every single team ! Whats their point !?!?!? Thats the fun of footy !

    They are the ones that print ridiculous headlines either one way or the other. D1cks !

    Now they want Ashley, not Mort or Keegan, to actually come out and say to them lot that “we’re going to spent big and KK got’s this much and we’re going to buy X, Y & Z”….exactly so you lot can print it and sell papers…instead of earning your crust with a bit of craft like the rest of us!

    Ashley has never come out and said anything like that, why should he – these guys boil my blood (you might have guessed!) 😉

  • Geordie Gerrard7

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #7

    sunday supplement is awful, bunch of c u next tuesdays. that fella steve supports the toon aswell. goals on sunday is qaulity, chris kamara should be a comedian.

  • Bobby Ollox

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #8

    The big difference in how we have played over the last 4 matches (apart from confidence) , has been the use of the fullbacks.
    No coincidence that Happy Day laid on two of the goals yesterday -Keegan has encouraged him and Enrique (who has also come on dramatically in recent weeks) to push forward to support the triple strike force and it works – its how Keegan likes to play – (the down side is that it leaves holes at the back – but so what – I dont mind 4-3 as a result).

    After his forwards these two positions are the most critical to Keegans success – and unfortunately we dont have the players to fill them fully.

    So – How about this for a scenario- big reconciliation for Chezza and Ash Cole – she needs to be close to her folks as they start their own family, and persuades him to settle in the North East. Ash gets a compassionate release from his contract ( and takes up playing the trumpet ??) and looks for a club in the NE.

    Mike Ashley recognises the opportunity to wear a shirt with his own name on it, instead of Smith and dips into his pocket for £20M – and we end up with one of best left backs in world playing for us.

    Works for me….

  • ArtyH

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #9

    IMHO I think KK is understating his ambitions so as to keep the pressure off himself and the team, a bit of reverse psychology for next season. KK will not really want to settle for 5-8th, given the money next season just watch the team go!
    KK knows the underachievement at the club since his last tenure so has to be careful with his words, knowing him he will want to exceed his last achievements not just get near them!

  • hanzemre

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #10

    Winning is contagious & let’s it be long as poss. then 😉 see we’re once again the envy of the press, pundits etc. moreover that in London. They want Ashey to say we gonna win the UCL in 2 years or something like that. yeah for next season surely winning a cup will do even it’s Carling/FAC.
    thump up to ArtyH! yes KK’d once again come to the rescue & gonna challenge the top 4 soon (in 2 years poss.)& winning a cup.

  • AndyW

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #11

    I would agree with KK if he was talking about the top 3. Chelsea,Man U and Arsenal are a class apart but Liverpool are nowt special. If they lost Gerrard for a few weeks they would fall apart big stylee.

  • Spyro

    Apr 6, 2008 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #12

    yes i know wrighty, people love to put us down or highlight our flaws. Did anyone watch MOTD yesterday? in our highlights the commentators highlighted that some fans were leaving a few minutes early. I dont know if you guys have been to many away games but EVERY SINGLE CLUB HAS SOME FANS THAT LEAVE EARLY! They just highlight it when it is Newcastle because they do not like the fact that our fan base is well known and respected by most.

  • Brian

    Apr 6, 2008 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #13

    Andy W – Liverpool showed against Arsenal they can play without Gerrard. They were also without Torres, Alonso, Mascherano,Babel and Kuyt so they have a big squad. If you look for the resuls were Gerrard has not played you will see they are not doing so badly. In Newcastles situation they will have to develop young players like Arsenal do they cant attrack big stars without paying significantly more than other clubs (like Owen 17m when other clubs would pay 8) so go for the youngsters.

  • Leo

    Apr 6, 2008 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #14

    We need four or five players, quality!!! why does it change so often? 1 or two 3 or 4

    whole squad no one, im so looking forward to the summer now.

    its bloody snowing!

  • Spyro

    Apr 6, 2008 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #15

    Cisse – Marseille
    Veloso – Sporting
    Adriano – Sevilla
    Zarate – Birmingham

    would cost around 40 to 45million for all of those but would be great signings

  • Todd

    Apr 6, 2008 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #16

    I especially like a couple of things KK has said. First of all, while rumors have always been hot and heavy, we’ve yet to see Ashley promise the large amount of cash we all hope is coming. KK knows he needs to expand his squad, and I think it’s important he states that.

    Secondly, of course he’s going to try to finish as high up the table as he can. But he’s just trying to inject some reality into the situation. Overnight turnarounds tend to be the exception, not the rule. It’s wonderful to be hopeful for next season – but let’s not get carried away. It most likely will take some time to challenge for the top 4, and it’s important to realize that. If we exceed our goals, hey – even better yet. One thing I’ve noticed on this blog is while there are wonderful people here, some go a bit too far with expectations, etc.

    All that said – I think the club is playing wonderful football right now, and I’m thrilled KK has turned things around.

  • Paul R

    Apr 6, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #17

    Top 6 next season would be great ! but a cup ! i would love a cup run i mean barnsley are playing cardiff today at wembley WHAT ! we shoudl have a serious go next season !

  • david

    Apr 6, 2008 at 7:48 PM

    Comment #18

    KK is deliberately understating our chances of breaking into the top 4, he wants the southern press of our backs.
    Look at Liverpool, would you say they are settled at boardroom level? No there will be major upheaval on merseyside.
    Who will manage chelsea next season, and will avramovich walk if he becomes disillusioned.
    Also how many of the takeovers have been by foreign investors looking for a large profit.
    All of the above can quickly become de-stabilising factors so if only one of them falls off their perch we need to be hovering to exploit this situation and then we can attract the very top players.
    So buy the best we can, who fit into KKs philosophy of free flowing attractive and most important , exiting football.
    Bring the best prospects to the club the way arsenal have done for years under wenger and wait for a slipup.
    But most of all enjoy the ride it will be fantastic.

  • Ross

    Apr 6, 2008 at 9:02 PM

    Comment #19

    too right Geordie Gerrard7, kammy is wasted as a pundit, get that boy to stand up like,haha

  • IanG

    Apr 7, 2008 at 12:02 AM

    Comment #20

    KK allegedly said “We haven’t had that conversation yet” when talking about budgets for next year. I find that very hard to believe – surely the conversation was had when KK was being recruited.

    I agree with ArtyH’s point about KK wanting to keep the pressure off and manage fans’ expectations. But I think KK has proven to MA and the board that he is up to the task of managing any investment which comes his way so there should be no reason why we can’t recruit 6 or 7 top players in the Summer.

  • tian

    Apr 7, 2008 at 12:47 AM

    Comment #21

    BUY me!!! i cost $2 wif $0.50 salary a month.
    im a top ballpicker!!


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