Arsene Wenger, the great Arsenal manager, seems to have spoken out in support of Kevin Keegan at Newcastle, and said he would never work under a Director of football at Arsenal.
That’s an interesting comment because when Chris Mort reorganized things, the model the club wanted to copy was that of Arsenal, who continually bring in youngsters and then develop them, often into world class players.
It was Mike Ashley’s goal to create a structure at Newcastle to mirror the Arsenal model, and that led him to create a hierarchy with Director of Football Dennis Wise.
It’s always been confusing exactly what Dennis is in charge of, but is presumably in control of who comes and goes at the club. Although it was always said that Kevin would have the last say on players, which seems to have turned out not to be the case.
Keegan of course has left the club and blamed the management structure for his resignation, since it left him with little or no influence over the club’s transfer policy.
However, that doesn’t mirror the Arsenal model, which Wenger is now pointing out – don’t say the Board have got that wrong too.
Wenger said yesterday:
“If I go into a job and someone says to me that you have a director of football who buys and sells the players, I accept or don’t accept it. If I accept it, I cannot complain,” “I would personally not accept that – but I can understand as well that some people don’t want to deal with that and they feel comfortable getting the most out of the players they have because they have come from a different country.”
Most English managers are used to being fully responsible for the playing side of things, and that means they have the final say on players, and it seems that unless Kevin Keegan gets that responsibility under Mike Ashley, he will not return on Tyneside.
But one thing we would say to both Ashley and Kevin, is if they talk about their differences again, put the Newcastle United Club first.
If they do that, we think some personal compromise agreement can be reached, and the club can continue to move forward under Kevin’s great leadership.
Is that too much to ask?