Milner, Owen Update – Keegan Cannot Be Happy

It doesn’t looks too good this morning, and it may even be that Kevin Keegan has lost his fight to keep James Milner, after Kevin was in lengthy talks with owner Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias yesterday.

Kevin Keegan – seems to have lost his fight to keep Milner

It seems thet Newcastle manager had wanted two things on the contract front at yesterday’s meeting. The biggest one was to get Ashley to give a new contract to Michael Owen, his captain, who has been outstanding in the two cameo appearances he’s made this season.

The second objective, and probably the reason the meeting was called in the first place, was to keep James Milner, after he asked for a transfer a week yesterday..

But the fact that Newcastle issued a statement yesterday around mid-day saying that Milner had asked for a transfer (he asked for it on 20th August), which completely shocked the Newcastle fans, suggests Ashley will not give in to the wage demands of the 22 year-old.

There was an agreement with Milner’s representatives from the PFA and the Newcastle club itself, to keep the request a secret, but surely the best case scenario and why the transfer was being kept secret, was to potentially agree a deal yesterday, so the fact he had asked for a transfer didn’t have to be revealed.

The secrecy request was made by Newcastle United, as was angrily stated yesterday by Mick McGuire, from the PFA, who is representing James.

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, has been a long time admirer of the youngster, and news yesterday is that Villa will make an increased £10M offer for the player, with Liverpool also potentially interested, although £10M may be higher than their own valuation.

News being reported by the Daily Mail said that Kevin met immediately with Derek Llambias, after the fabulous Coventry Cup tie, and was not in a good mood after the meeting.

We suspect he may have been told the bad news about Milner, (and maybe about Owen), but that is just speculation.

But we did report yesterday that Kevin said:

“I haven’t got enough players and my optimism gets less the nearer that you get to the deadline.”

“I’m still hoping that we’ll get a couple in, but if we don’t, we’ll just have to soldier on.”

And he also talked about Michael Owen and appeared frustrated when he said:

“I am not trying to be awkward. Michael is a very special player. He is very important to this club and my vision for it.”

“If other people do not share that, it is their problem. I do not say these things publicly for any other reason than I believe it.”

It appears Newcastle have already turned down £8M from Villa for Milner, and we think Newcastle are ready to now accept a £10M bid, with Gareth Barry further boosting the Villa fans, when he pledged to stay at the club yesterday.

But we are more worried about things now with our manager Kevin Keegan, than just Owen and Milner.

If both players are not offered improved contracts, or contracts that will see them want to stay at Newcastle, we are concerned that Kevin Keegan will not only lose two of his key players, but he will begin to see the light.

That light is that Ashley does not share the same ambition as Kevin, and we know Keegan will not want to work in an environment of too much penny pinching – not when it results in two of your best players, by your own admission, being allowed to move on.

Aren’t we trying to build a good team at Newcastle?

If we put ourselves in Kevin’s current position we’d hardly be happy about the situation.

That’s our early reading of the news from yesterday, and for the good of the team, we have to hope we are just dead wrong.  🙁

Comments welcome.

161 comments so far

  • Toon1978

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:07 AM

    Comment #1

    The most negative times at NUFC i have ever known. M.Ashley has no interest in NUFC and couldn’t give two monkeys if Milner and Owen stays or goes. He is unwilling to buy players, if you work out how much he has spent and how much has come in you will see very little difference. Our club is in decline i’m afraid European football is a long way off with this idiot in charge. God help NUFC.

  • JonasTheGod

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:08 AM

    Comment #2

    I hope we are way of the mark here but this is a worrying time for us, if Keegan is not happy and feels he is being messed about we know what the outcome will be

  • Paul

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:14 AM

    Comment #3

    NOT HAPPY AT ALL!! I was really begining to look forwrd to this season and just look… not even upto the 3rd match and everything is going tits up already! Keegan knows football, Ashley doesn’t, Lambas doesn’t… why don’t they f**king listen to Keegan and give him what he wants!! We don’t have enough players, he won’t sign new player, he won’t keep our current players!! Makems signed 9 reasonably decent players now, if they finish above us I’m not going to be happy. Another sign, it’s clearly obvious… the set up in Necastle Utd does not work!!!

  • jeff

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:16 AM

    Comment #4

    Ed if that is all true then Ashley hjas got to go….Keegan will walk before too long…Ashley has bought a football club ffs….Its the team that controls the business side of it…if you have a good team the business will be booming…..On the Milner front though….The way Im reading it is he was offered a new contract which he happily signed last year,there seems to be a lot written that it said in 12 months that contract would be reviewed and this is something Milner is kicking up a fuss over….But my view is the toon still have every right not to increase it as well to be honest what exactly has he done to demand an increase??? He hasnt set the world alight in the last 12 months…Just like most people at work,you may or may not get an increase every year…..I just think Milner is being badly advised…….Sell him and get what you can…….

    If I was Keegan Id be beating down Ashleys door and demanding to know what is vision is for the club….If it didnt match Keegans then If I was Keegan Id walk….Im starting to think Ashley has bought into something that is even out of his depth……………Just my opinion though…

  • JonasTheGod

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:18 AM

    Comment #5

    This is a worrying time for the club, lets hope all the speculation is nonsense, we know what Keegan will do if he feels hes not being fully supported by the board.

  • Jeff

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:21 AM

    Comment #6

    the main thing at the moment is bringing in 3 more players
    if milner really want to move on, just let him go

  • WesToon

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:27 AM

    Comment #7

    PLS God let there be some GOOD F##king news today!!
    Ive never been this depressed before 🙁
    My Beloved Newcastle could be in some shite this season…NOT a F##king happy camper Lads


  • JonnyToon

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:29 AM

    Comment #8

    Not happy with how this situations been dealt with atall. Dont think Milners completely wrong to ask for a new contract given how much hes played for us since his last one was created & its a shame its had to come to him asking for a transfer.

    Ashley obviously simply wants to clear up some of that debt he’s spoken about & views milner as being expendable as we have other wingers. But our squad is getting smaller by the second.

    Losing Milner will be bad enough, letting Owen go is ridiculous. Think all every Newcastle fan wants is for Keegan to be backed 100% in what he does & we will all be unhappy with this owner if we find that is not happening.

  • 51times

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:34 AM

    Comment #9

    Why can’t things ever just run smoothly?

  • dingo

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:35 AM

    Comment #10

    Splash the cash Ash!

  • HalftimeBovril

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:37 AM

    Comment #11

    The thing i can’t understand is surley Ashley gave Kev the whole sales pitch back in January when Kev met up with Ashley to discuss his return. I remember reading that one of the main reasons that Kev came back was due to Ashleys vision and plans for the club and that they more than matched Kevs.

    If so why have the goal posts moved so dramatically in six months!!!

  • Sandy

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:41 AM

    Comment #12

    Mike Ashley is an idiot, luckily we’ve managed to hold on to N’Zogbia, but why would you give away Milner instead of giving him a new contract, I reckon his efforts have earnt it??? He is a very good player for someone so young, and if it wasn’t for Owen we wouldn’t have won any games so far this season!!!. It’s great to get players in like Guttierz and Coloccini in as well as some youg kids, but what’s the point if we’re just gonna sell the great players we have!!! Boy, I feel sorry for Kev. 🙁

  • Aussie Magpie Fan

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:47 AM

    Comment #13

    Surely Milner’s agent has released these comments to push Mike Ashley into increasing his wage packet… Does Milner relly want to leave? Or is he and his agent simply calling Ashley’s bluff?. My thoughts are if you don’t want to be at Newcastle and your hearts not in it.. Piss off and go!!

  • Ericles

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:47 AM

    Comment #14

    Another shambles and we can blame media pundits for some of it. What is going on behind the scenes? WE have Ashley blowing hot and cold and this new exec Llambias is now going to. This is not stability, especially as we have certain newspapers waiting to attack NUFC at the drop of a hat. We are too near the deadline. So – we must all put our strongest support behind KK. Stand by our team and show that us geordies are not for being either pissed off or pissed around with!

  • Michael

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:49 AM

    Comment #15

    Kevin should have let Alan Smith go.
    His over-generous wage would have been better spent keeping Owen and Milner.

  • Dave

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:50 AM

    Comment #16

    The Club need to make an official statement on whats going on, all this speculation is no good for the club or the fans

  • keltik

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:52 AM

    Comment #17

    ok, i think its time NUFC supporters staged a protest outside of SJP, we NEED to make this useless owner of ours and useless chairman realise that they are driving us into the ground, we will never compete with anyone if this shower of crap continues.

    Milner is one of the best wingers in the Prem and hes only 22, and we wont offer him a new contract? how much blue cheese have our owners consumed??!!?

    what the hell are these muppets doing that run our club?

    i would not blame Keegan if he walked out, im fed up of our owner who doesnt seem to give a damn about any of our players, im suprised that non of the fans have said anything to him at the game, if i got to my seat and saw Ashley sitting near me and i ask him what hes playing at, i wouldnt be dis-respectufl just question him about his obvious lack of financial commitment to out club.

    When the top flight clubs are buying english players because of the new FIFA rules on the horizon (a minimum of 5 english palyers will be required in the team) we seem to have no desire to keep them, it took Taylor a good 2 months to force them into offering him a new deal and hes NUFC through and through.


    i love Milner, after all the pre-madonna useless bags of turd we have had over the past 5 years Milner is a diamond and a half.

    As says, hes just an average lad, with no criminal record, no car crashes, no on pitch brawls, no bling, nothing, just a great yorkshire lad who loves to play football and a game of darts.

    What will be criminal is if we let him leave, and then replace him with some unknown quantity.

    If Milner leaves it will be the lowest point for us Since FFS sacked Bobby Robson for no reason.

  • matthewT

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #18

    i wonder what make m.ashley not to give new contract to milner and owen. I mean, apart from the salary cost, what other thing stop him from doing so.


  • keltik

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #19

    oh, and another point.

    how we can let Milner go but keep players like Smith, Barton, Duff etc.. is just ridiculous in itself.

  • dave v

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #20

    If Kevin walks, so will a huge number of season ticket holders.
    Ashley you have been warned.

  • Leo Smith

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:56 AM

    Comment #21

    Ed, snap out of it! One little piece of “bad” news and everything comes crashing down, Mike Ashley has no ambition, KK about to walk! Noooo! Rubbish.

    Milner’s done this to get attention – he wants a new & improved contract. This means he wants to STAY. I think the statement is poorly worded, but it also gives the impression that the club wants him to stay. KK wants him to stay. MA has only ever publicly said that KK would be backed… conclusion: no problem.

    The media have been waiting for this; we’ve been quiet as a club the past week or so and no doom news. Suddenly, a player hands in a transfer request and we’re doomed as a club. It’s sickening it really is. You have a bit of a habit of this Ed. This site is fantastic and I’m on here every day for the latest news, but you really really overblow bad news sometimes, especially when there’s not been an update on anything for a while, such as this. You mustn’t take what the papers say as the truth, especially the mail (see for a great article at the top about the mail’s coverage of nufc). They’ve taken the milner news and printed the worst case scenario as fact. Don’t let them get to you; think about the positives. It’s been a great start to the season, and the few transfers we’re going to get in the next few days will make it even better.

    Come on!

  • UTD111

    Aug 28, 2008 at 7:57 AM

    Comment #22

    How well is Ashley running the club? Well I’m still waiting for my season ticket that I paid for months ago….that just about sums it up for me. If Ashley thinks United fans will rally round with Wise at the helm – he’s a bigger fool than he looks….

  • nick

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:08 AM

    Comment #23

    I can’t believe people having a go at Ashley.
    It is KK’s petulant, huffy puffy side that is annoying me.

    Ashley hasn’t got 2 Billion. It’s all paper money (assets) seriously hit by the ”credit crunch”. Sports direct, like a lot of businesses has bombed in the current financial climate of the last 6 months.

    MA has paid off a huge amount of debt. These debts were created by Shepherd putting people on Hollywood wages. Well I’m very pleased we’re not going down that route any more.

    We’ve acquired 4 very good players and some excellent youngsters like Kadar not far off the first team squad.

    From 35k a week, Milner (barely 22) now wants 55k a week. No wonder he wanted it kept quiet.

    KK wouldn’t budge on Smith, Barton et al. A move that would have brought in nearly 30M in saved wages and selling fees.

    Owen is good but hardly ever available and is holding the club to ransom. 2 goals don’t change that fact.

    If Derdiyok and Saviola walked in the door, you’d forget about Milner in a blink.

  • Ericles

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:08 AM

    Comment #24

    If Milner wants to go then let him. If he turns down the chance to part of KK’s vision and achieve something with NUFC, then there is something wrong with the bloke! and the media are stirring it with enthusiasm. It seems there is a too much press speculation here. We must remember what Mark Twain said abut the newspapers. People who do not read them are uninformed. Those who do are misinformed. Rally behind KK and the team. Get Owen contracted and get some players in now!

  • TB

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:11 AM

    Comment #25

    From what I have read, I think you guys are missing the “behind the scenes” part to the story.

    Milner handed in his request on the 20th. That means ashley and KK knew about this a while ago. Is it any surprise that since that date, Keegan has spoke the world about Milner, and given him free reigns anywhere on the pitch to impress other clubs?

    I think keegan is aware of Ashleys plans more than you all think. People respect Keegan’s knowledge of the game, not ashleys.

    I personally believe that Keegan has been using the terrible/stupid/uninformed press to talk up Milner, knowing that milner wanted out. This has caused better teams (which benifits milner) to offer more money (which benifits the Toon) for him.

    If i’m correct, its good business on Ashley and KK’s part, and we can use the 9 or 10 million to get a midfielder that our coaching staff likes in our system… even if it means waiting til january.

    As for Owen, I don’t really understand the business side of it. I would assume that Ashley is hesitant to spend so much on a injury prone player. Yet, i see it as a win win situation resigning him to BIG money.

    For one, if he stays somewhat healthy, we have a world class scorer for the next handful of years, thats the easy part.

    Even if he does struggle with injuries, he still brings in money for the club due to his popularity. He is WIDELY known around the world, and it says alot for a club to be able to attract such a big name player.

    On top of that, if you add up what his earning at 120 or so thousand a week would be over 4 or 5 years, it would be about equal to bringing in a 50 or 60 thousand a week striker once the transfer fee is included as well. And what are the chances of that player knocking in goals like owen? or brining in kit sales like Owen?

    So, now that my novel has been written, my main points are… keegan in using the media to up Milners cost, thus getting us someone he wants more in return… and Ashley needs to bite the bullet and sign up little Mickey.

    rant over.


    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:13 AM

    Comment #26

    wow wow wow, please stop painting only in black! It won’t be the end of the world if we loose milner…personally I rate lualua much higher and we also have more than enough quality on the wings with geremi, zoggy, duff and jonas!!!

    Owen will be sorted out, I’m sure.

    If we get a quality central midfielder in exchange of the horrendus transfer fee of 10m £ for milner I’m happy. Another leftback and we are fine to challenge for europe!!

  • The Entertainers

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:16 AM

    Comment #27

    I’m delighted Ashely took over the club, he has done many things right in my eyes:

    *No debt
    *Brought in Keegan
    *Brought in professional board (Mort)
    *Brought in a recruitment team (Yes i like Wises team)
    *Good philosophy on new transfers
    *Rearranged stadium setup (sing section etc)
    *The cold shoulder given to the national press
    *Looking for more investment

    However there are areas we need to improve on:

    *The stubborn stance on contracts (its not just Milner)
    *The speed at which transfers are conducted (dispite having Wise & co there to do just that job)
    *The poor communications over the summer (they have there own outlet to speak with fans)
    *The appointment of Llambias (compared to Mort)

    I am still happy with the board and team, plus there are still more positives than negatives in my eyes.
    But dont underestimate the negatives, they are what concern the fans the most. The positives are nice touches, but the fans are concerned about:
    1) Results
    2)Current players
    3)New players

    And 2 of those priorities are included in my negatives at least!

    Ashleys doing well, but could do better, as my former teacher would say.

  • geordos

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:16 AM

    Comment #28

    I think we all need to judge MA at the end of the transfer window… By then we will know his intentions for the season… He can only be judged at this stage on the squad he provides Keegan with.

    The press always have a field day on Newcastle United… So it would be stupid to believe everything you read. Who knows, maybe they met yesterday and together decided that the wage demands he is making, versus what they can get in terms of transfer fee (and a replacement) have made the deal a no-brainer.

    The Owen deal will happen. It makes no sense to let him go, as the transfer fee for a player half as decent as Owen will outweigh his wages.

    I like most geordies have concerns and are getting naturally twitchy the closer the transfer deadline gets, but my gut says wait until its over… The we can either thank MA or going mental!!!

    The 4 players that we’ve got so far all look quality… And having watched the likes of Luque, Marcelino, Viana and Guivarch (I could go on!), I genuinely believe that quality is better than quantity in terms of the long term anyway… Surely if we do get a stack of injuries, we’d be better giving some experience to the young talent we are nuturing.

    All the best.

  • Estranged

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:22 AM

    Comment #29

    Worrying times… I for one can’t sleep at night & constantly think about wut players we will buy and wut formation we will play etc.

    Well like i said earlier Milner ain’t nuttin but a hound dog.

    We gotta sign Owen up though coz he is the franchise player as u wud put it in basketball terms.

    Signings will come guyz..Letz all jus be patient. Dun bash Ashley when u dun know wutz goin on behind da scenes…. Hez not stupid.. he knows abt the lack of crowd, lack of players etc.

    Last thing: Dun beleive in paper talk – tabloid.
    I was a journalist n trust me we were supposed to write such ‘juicy’ storis for it to be published..


  • Ericles

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:23 AM

    Comment #30

    According to The Sun Kevin is to seek showdown talks with Wise over the sale of Milner. Why? It is nothing to with Wise. His job is youth recruitment with KK in charge of all other team transfers. If I demanded showdown talks with the Football Editor of the rag paper I know where i would be told to stick my head!

  • lesh

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:25 AM

    Comment #31

    Ok this is the Sun…. ‘Kevin Keegan is on collision course with Dennis Wise as he is seething over the prospect of losing James Milner’!

    Ok the paper may well be trying to stir things up again. But, if there is something in it we need to be worried.

    Not forgetting the big ‘if it’s trus’, let’s put this into context with MA’s supposed willingness to back KK, defining Wise’s role as young player recruitment, wanting success for NUFC, then what on earth’s going on?

    KK seems to be losing confidence in the liklihood of new faces coming in and ‘must soldier on’. Might he be feeling let down, is this a repeat of the ‘not like it said in the brochure’ scenario?

    Come on Mr Ashley, if you’re running the show, please show KK, show the fans, show the Sun et al that all’s going well at the club before its too late. The fans’ll cheer you but rest assured, you’ll see cheers turning too jeers and demos at SJP!

    Think about it eh, before its too late?

  • Mimo

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:26 AM

    Comment #32

    I think an important factor in both the Milner and Owen dramas is surely how much are they asking for? We know of the owners intention to bring the wage structure to one which he feels is right for the club so what is Ashley supposed to do if certain players refuse to accept the situation? Personally I don’t know how much James wants but it seems that Villa and maybe Liverpool are willing to pay him the money and stump up a transfer fee too. If thats the case then maybe we will have to accept that its going to be addios for certain players no matter what their ability. What I have seen so far is some very good players coming in at presumably the right wage levels and if this continues maybe its for the better and we should accept the new order. Mick McGuire is using his position at the PFA to protect his own interests which is plain wrong and for him in whatever capacity to tell Ashley that he can’t tell the public that James has put in a transfer request when James is a Newcastle player is pathetic in my opinion. McGuire talks about the appreciation due for the development of James but I suspect that includes a healthy percentage of the profit for himself and when an agent comes over all affronted and sensitive I have a tendency to reach for the smelling salts.

  • ToonEskimo

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:29 AM

    Comment #33

    TB and Nick, good points, KK like a used car salesman:

    “Superb runner, reliable, won’t let you down,
    1 careful owner”
    “Wouldn’t touch this with a barge pole, failed it’s mot, probably need scrapped”

    If you want to flog something you talk it up y=to get a better price as TB says.
    Milner’s performance against Coventry probably stuck an extra £2million on the price tag……..

    Jonas and Collo’ ( 2 full Internationals) seem quite happy with their wages, Taylor has just been put on what Milner is on now……
    Is Milner one of our top 5 players to warrant extra cash? I think not.

  • Toon Graeme

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:31 AM

    Comment #34

    Lads, come on lets put this into persepective and look at the big picture.

    MA is a successful business man. He didnt get where he is without some savvi.

    NOT one person knows what was discussed so anything will be pure speculation.

    DO NOT let all the negativity take control. We have a huge game on Saturday to play and we need our players 100% focussed.

    If MA looses or wont offer to MO then he is a fool. Without him – to be blunt – we will be f*ckd!

    Its simple as we have no one else near his calibre.

    Sure people will agree and disagree.

    Keep the faith!!

  • ToonEskimo

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:32 AM

    Comment #35

    I’ve just spent 20 minutes writing an essay style post and it’s vanished……

  • Bosck

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:37 AM

    Comment #36

    ED I’ve got to say that i am disappointed that you have gone so negative about Mike Ashley all of a sudden. I agree we need to get the Owen contract sorted but in my opinion Milner should not get a new contract until he earns it. He got a new one last year which means he is level with Zogs and Taylor.

    Keegan may want to keep Milner but i doubt even he is willing to pay him over the odds wages. Milner is supposedly on around £30k a week so it is an absolute joke for him to say this is not enough, thats £1.5m a year, more than enough for a player with milners current record of achievement.

    Paying whatever wages a player demands does not equal ambition it equals spineless stupidity which will never take you anywhere as a club in the long term. milner currently earns as much as he deserves and should be happy with it, I am personally happy that we are not bowing to this demands unlike shepherd would have done.

    and since when has the daily mail been a reliable source of information about the behind the scenes affairs at newcastle. it is just the usual anti toon press speculation as we have had a good start to the season so they cannot attack our on pitch performances.

    if we can get £10m for milner take it, he is worth £7m max. we have guttierrez and geremi for the right and zogs and duff for the left so we have plenty of cover.

    why does us not bowing to milners demands mean we wont to owen. one is world class the other has some potential so the approach to each will be very different.

  • 9 Shearer

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:37 AM

    Comment #37

    Hi hi hi………. MA knows whay he is doing and KK is never scared of losing any one if it will benefit the club look at Andy Cole he did it then what.

    Milner was never going to improve if you cant cross that ball you cant cross. so sell him. he has done nothing to get a pay rise. He wasnt even in the team that saved us from relegation.

    Bring in Tiago,Fellaini,Huntelaar and Poco/Tiawo. we have enough wingers.

  • The Entertainers

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:39 AM

    Comment #38


    Have just written a very good and balanced article on the Milner debacle.

    And to boot sums up my current feelings

  • WesToon

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #39

    @ Estranged // Aug 28, 2008 at 8:22

    Mate i agree with you,i havent been able to sleep for days now 🙁
    Thats how much this football club means to me,i can’t bear to see whats gone on in the last few days!!
    I will ALWAYS support the Lads…ALWAYS
    But im SCARED… They still have till Monday though….PLS PLS PLS

  • Ericles

    Aug 28, 2008 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #40

    There seems to be a delay on posts via the server methinks ToonEskimo. Mine vanished and then appeared. Is Dr Who in town?

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