Kinnear Banks On Taylor To Tighten Up Defense


One thing that Joe Kinnear has to do to get Newcastle back on track is to improve our defense.

Steven Taylor – needs to improve form

Apparently Joe has already talked privately to Steven and let the England Under-21 captain know what he expects from him.

Kinnear told the Evening Chronicle today:

“I think Steven Taylor’s got a great future.” “He is so whole-hearted. He is Newcastle United through and through and he could be captain one day.”

“He has all the right ingredients.”“We need to stop giving goals away – we need to be better defensively.” “I know there are four center-halves playing, as we haven’t had a full-back available.”

“At Wimbledon, we were very rarely beaten on crosses, and we’re going to have to work on it here.”   “Samba and Santa Cruz are very powerful, and won 90% of the aerial battles against us on Saturday, and we will have to make sure that does not happen again.”

One thing we need to start improve quickly, before it gets too bad, is our goal difference, which stands at -6 and is the worst in the league. But we’ve only played 6 games so there’s lots of time for us to get a lot better, which we must do this season.

It’s harder for our younger players not to be affected by everything that’s gone on at Newcastle these last few weeks, but in the past Steven has shown he can tighten up his play, and if he can do that on Sunday, that will give us a good chance of a result.

We must still try to get into Europe next season, or this be the longest time without European competition ever, which is not what we want right now, or anytime in fact.

Comments welcome.



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49 comments so far

  • Nick C

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:02 PM

    Comment #1

    If he wants to bank on anything, it will be Taylor prancing around like a showpony, then giving the ball away or passing it to a colleague two yards away and telling him what to do with it.

    Following that, lots of diving in giving obvious free kicks away, perhaps an assist or two for the opposition, followed by lots of clenched fists at the crowd and a pious faced slow hand clap thing at the end.

    Yeah, I reckon u can bank on all of those things, Joe!

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  • Stay Ashley and ignore these fans for NUFC sake.

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    Comment #2

    Well, he’s gone again, at least for the time being. To pose the question that we have asked ourselves many times over the last few seasons, in the wake of yet another managerial casualty – where did it all go wrong?

    I thought his appointment was a strange and risky one at the time. He had been out of the game for three years, professing a lack of interest in football that extended to him barely watching a single game. Despite his successes, his managerial career had also been punctuated by collapses in confidence and walk-outs, and his last two jobs, at England and Man City, had not ended well. Keegan’s managerial career seemed well and truly over.

    However, the one aspect of his reputation that was still intact was his standing with the majority of our fans, and surely this was the major factor that prompted Ashley to offer him the job. While in ordinary circumstances, this must seem the most flimsy of reasons to offer a man a post, we should bear in mind the situation that the club was in, at the time of his appointment.

    Allardyce’s confidence had slipped under the pressure of the job, and this had transmitted itself to the team. Ours is a club where the atmosphere in the stands can have a powerful effect, for good or ill, and it was important that any new manager should get the crowd on his side early on. We didn’t have a team of stars, and so an early turnaround was not likely. The new man could easily find himself in the same kind of firing line as Allardyce.

    I suspect that Ashley reasoned that, compared with other managers, Keegan would be cut a lot more slack by an anxious crowd. In this particular aspect, his judgement turned out to be sound. Despite an initial run of 8 league games without a win that saw us sinking further into danger, the fans kept faith and Keegan was eventually able to turn things around and ensure safety.

    But right from the start, there were signs of the division that would eventually rip the Ashley-Keegan partnership apart. In his first press conference, Keegan said that his first priority on being offered the job was to speak to the owner and make sure that their ideas were compatible. He spoke of having money to spend, and how important that was. He seemed to be talking about a partnership that mirrored the previous one that he had enjoyed with Sir John Hall.

    And yet, a short while later, an entirely different management structure was in place, in the form of Wise, Viterre, and Jiminez. Keegan was going to work to a Director of Football, with the owner and holder of the purse strings very much in the background. Keegan acknowledged that he had been aware of the proposed DOF system at the time of his appointment, but in so many respects he seemed an unlikely candidate for a subordinate role.

    What’s more, it emerged that the new regime’s strategy was a long-term one, based on the Arsenal model of identifying young players who could be developed, rather than established stars. Ashley was prepared to slash the debt, but not indulge in a short-term spending spree on established stars, unless there was a reasonable hope of recouping the expenditure towards the end of their contracts. Money for transfers would be available, but only within certain conditions and limits.

    The success that Keegan had enjoyed before had been based on his ability to persuade his Chairman to release funds. Ambitious managers will inevitably regard the overall financial well-being of the club as someone else’s concern, but Keegan had always shown a contempt for this issue that mirrors that of the success-hungry fan, rather than the professional with insider knowledge. He had never had any record for developing young players, or for over-achieving on limited resources. He was a larger than life character, who could galvanise others by his desire to reach for the top by the shortest possible route, not a technician who is prepared to achieve in small, patient steps. Above all, he was an idiosyncratic leader, not a conventional team player.

    I think we know why Ashley offered him the job – he knew that Keegan could get the fans on side. Keegan’s motivation is more difficult to pinpoint, because it seems clear that he knew what he was letting himself in for. There may well be substance in the rumours that he was under some financial pressure to accept, due to the poor performance of his business venture.

    However, what seems equally likely is that he felt he could bring the owner round to his way of thinking, in the same way that he had done with an initially reluctant Sir John Hall. With hindsight, Keegan’s comments in the first press conference may have been a statement of intent, rather than a statement of fact. It also seems to have been the first, small indication that Keegan was prepared to use public statements, addressed to the fans who were his power base, to try and put pressure on the owner.

    What he may not have reckoned with was the determination of Dennis Wise, not to be railroaded out of the way. Keegan found himself up against a character as stubborn as himself, and furthermore one who was as indifferent to public criticism off the field as he had been on it. Wise had the owner’s confidence, and in the months ahead, he never surrendered it.

    The next indication of trouble was Keegan’s rumoured unhappiness at the club’s failure to sign Luka Modric. This led to the unusual step of Chris Mort issuing a statement in the match programme, to the effect that the club had in fact outbid Spurs in terms of both transfer fee and salary. It was an attempt to nail the rumour that the club had not acted with sufficient determination, but to Keegan, it may have seemed like a shot in a PR war.

    Soon afterwards, following the Chelsea game, Keegan’s unhappiness spilled over into the public domain. After a run of better results, a team of genuine class had put us in our place in a way that would have brought home to Keegan just how large a gap he had to bridge. Always prey to speaking from emotion, Keegan railed against the futility of the club’s efforts at team-building and, what was more significant, hinted strongly that his relationship with the owner was a damagingly distant one.

    There was a disturbing recklessness about Keegan’s behaviour. If you want to remain in a job, you don’t publicly declare that it is beyond you, or take a public swipe at the owner. It felt to me that Keegan was indifferent as to whether or not he kept the job. He seemed to want to bring matters to a head, no matter what the consequences. Bearing in mind that there was apparently an agreement that Keegan should not comment publicly on transfer matters, it seems very likely that he knew how provocative his outburst would be.

    Most fans, as could have been predicted, rallied to Keegan’s side. The prevailing view was that he was trying to dampen down the fans’ expectations, and the prevailing hope was that the subsequent meeting would lead to Ashley being pressured to release greater funds in the transfer market. If, as seems likely, this was Keegan’s intention, it backfired. He was summoned to a meeting in London, and Ashley reinforced the message that both his long-term strategy, and his Director of Football, were here to stay.

    It was likely to be an uneasy truce, but in the weeks ahead, there seemed to be grounds for optimism. Wise and his team recruited a number of players with whom Keegan seemed quite happy – Gutierrez, Guthrie, Coloccini, and Bassong. In the first two games of the season, the performance of the team had noticeably improved. Things seemed to be moving forward again, and few people foresaw the impending collapse.

    However, the cracks were certainly there, most notably on the issue of the renewal of Taylor and Owen’s contracts, where Keegan seemed far more eager to secure the players’ futures than Wise. In the case of Taylor, Ashley intervened personally to settle the matter, perhaps fearful of another open rift. Rumours continued in the case of Owen, with the club finally taking the unusual step of publicly declaring that, despite what had been reported, he had been offered an improvement on his current contract. It was very reminiscent of the PR battle over Modric. There also seemed to be a stand-off between the club’s willingness to sell Alan Smith and Joey Barton, and Keegan’s determination to keep them both.

    Following Keegan’s departure, a confidently detailed story appeared in a Sunday Tabloid, outlining the degree to which Keegan was supposedly trying to pursue his own agenda of snapping up expensive, well-established players, contrary to the plan that had been agreed with Ashley and Wise. Coming from an unofficial source, we can’t be sure of its accuracy, and it’s likely that there’s a degree of exaggeration. However, its basic premise is compatible with the events that were subsequently to unfold, and with the facts that we can be more confident about.

    In the end, it was the issue of Milner that seemed to ratchet the tension up by a decisive notch. When the rumour of Milner’s sale first surfaced, Keegan publicly declared his determination to keep him as the ‘last player’ that would go, and then added that he had the support of the owner in his stand. In reality, this exaggerated praise for Milner can be seen as a provocation. It was also a public declaration of a supposed alliance that excluded Wise and his team, and they were not slow in issuing a response. In a highly unusual move, it was publicly revealed that Milner had made a written transfer request, in response to being denied a pay rise, one year into his contract.

    Common sense was on Wise’s side, and Keegan had no choice but to back down. If a player has issued a written transfer request and a generous offer comes in, it is pointless to stand in the way. But the two men were now battling things out in the papers, albeit in a way that wasn’t completely obvious and transparent to outsiders. It can’t be a surprise that, under the pressure of transfer deadline day, the relationship between them completely disintegrated.

    All sorts of stories have circulated about what happened that day. Did they fall out over the signing of Xisco and Gonzalez, the rumoured failure to sign Schweinstager and Warnock, or the alleged attempts to sell Barton, Owen and Smith? All we have heard from Keegan is the declaration that a Manager should not be forced to accept the signing of a player who he doesn’t want, and by far the most likely candidate here is Xisco.

    However, Keegan had met Xisco earlier that day, and had clearly played some part in persuading him to sign. Perhaps ‘not wanting’ a player actually meant ‘would have preferred someone else’. Either that, or Keegan, in meeting Xisco, was simply carrying out a decision that had already been made. The latter seems unlikely, as Keegan did appear to have the power to veto the sales of Owen, Smith and Barton.

    But to try to get involved in the detail is to miss the bigger picture. The DOF / Manager relationship demands a high level of trust and mutual respect. The DOF cannot just be the instrument of the Manager’s wishes, as he must hold the purse strings, and is the guardian of the overall club strategy. Similarly, the Manager cannot be simply a glorified Coach, as he must work with the players that come in, and be satisfied as to their ability and compatibility with the needs of the team.

    There is overlap between the two jobs. Neither has the final say, in the sense that both must be happy about any moves in the transfer market. What is apparent is that, by the time of deadline day, the working relationship between Wise and Keegan had reached the point of paralysis.

    What we do know is that there was a row, followed by Keegan’s dramatic exit. It bore some of the signs of a resignation, in that Ashley and the management team seemed eager to persuade Keegan to return. However, the indications are that Keegan is resolved to interpret the events as a dismissal. The fact that he will then obtain compensation rather than have to pay it, can’t be dismissed as irrelevant. The whole messy business is now in the hands of solicitors.

    Wise won the contest for Ashley’s backing, but inevitably lost the PR battle hands down. The idea that Keegan had stood firm on a matter of principle against an interfering and undermining management lackey took firm hold, not just among the majority of fans, but within large sections of the press and various spokesmen within the game, including other managers. Ashley very quickly realised that he would never recover his lost ground, and that the fans who wanted him ousted were powerful and meant business. To prevent further damage, he decided to go. But all the same, the blame for the whole fiasco seems to have been unevenly distributed, to a quite disturbing degree.

    Ashley is at fault in selecting a Manager who, by his record, was clearly unsuited to the strategy and the management structure that he had in mind. We could say that both he and the team needed a popular choice of manager at the time of crisis, but all the same he could have been braver in his decision. It was based on the idea that Keegan would be able to sell Ashley’s piecemeal, long-term plan to the fans, but this was a flawed concept as, throughout his career, Keegan has always followed his own ideas and ambitions. Similarly, Keegan was at fault in accepting a role that he would not have tolerated in the past, on the apparent assumption that he could, in time, re-write his job description.

    But nevertheless the bulk of my anger and exasperation is directed at Keegan. Once it became apparent that Ashley was not going to budge from his plan, he had the choice of either knuckling down or resigning. It seems to me that he did neither. Perhaps subconsciously, he opted to carry on the battle and make himself the victim of the new regime, thereby retaining the loyalty of the fans and leaving with financial compensation. Indeed, some of his actions indicated a desire for confrontation rather than compromise. Unfortunately, in the process, the club has been left in a mess.

    The prospective new owners may well be very tempted to bring Keegan back, but unless they are prepared to back him with major amounts of money and give him a free hand in how it is spent, they must consider that history might well repeat itself. The whole episode is further evidence that, if things do not go Keegan’s way, his enthusiasm for the task can drop very suddenly.

    Keegan might well regard the whole episode as Mike Ashley’s failure to deliver the tools that he needed to do the job, not his own failure to accept the task in hand. This is certainly the view of the majority of fans. But his experiences with England and Man City, with the periods of exile that followed, show that there is also a strong element of self-doubt within the Keegan psyche. He appears to have got out of this job with his self-image intact – rather undeservedly. Unless the situation in his next post is completely to his liking, he may be well advised to quit while he is ahead.

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  • Terry

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #3

    There is no way in hell I’m reading that massive, massive wall of text.

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  • magpie6699

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #4

    Stay Ashley and ignore …
    That’s easy for you to say..

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  • geordielad1232

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #5

    Agreed with magpie6699

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  • Tom_Toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:42 PM

    Comment #6

    Taylor is shocking!

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  • Marty-TOON RISING

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:42 PM

    Comment #7

    Are you gonna write your life story next MR STAY ASHLEY
    DRIBBLE

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  • AO

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    Comment #8

    i never thought i would see tighten up defense and taylor used in the same sentence

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  • Silence of the Llambias

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #9

    When Ashley took Keegan on, he should have fully understood the kind of man he is. Keegan is open and honest to a fault, we all know his weaknesses, and his amazing strengths.
    Keegan is 100% positive, when he gets into gear, he sees no limit to what he can achieve, any form of negativity is a massive irritation to him.
    We all suffered 3 months of massive irration, speculation and silence, bouyed up only by the existence of this site. Finally we endured, with Keegan, the huge disappointments leading upto the transfer deadline. We were left gobsmacked by the lack of ambition and good sense.
    Keegan and the Fans, Newcastles greatest strengths, had been insulted and arrogantly ignored.
    Ashley takes all the blame. No excuses. He deserves everything hes getting, apart from the inevitable profit on sale.

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  • ObaFan2

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #10

    Pro Ashley tripe, not really worth reading AGAIN.

    As for Taylor, this is the season he should step up and make a fine future for himself but so far so bad IMO.

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  • AO

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #11

    tom toon- who should we replace him with using your encyclopedic knowledge of world football? you must know of a few africans or israelis who could do a job. Or maybe you could just coach taylor. i am sure the club could pay you in panini football stickers.

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  • Micky Toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #12

    AO – Stop posting like you are one of us you are a spurs fan. You must have a sad life if you feel the need to spend time on a NUFC blog pretending to be a toon fan. You are a five star numpty.

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  • Robby Bobson

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #13

    Tom_Toon…i wouldn’t go as far as saying he is shocking but is nothing to base our defence around. I like him as he loves the club, but watching him it seems like he thinks he is better than he actually is.

    I think Bassong is more capable and ill give credit where its due, the “recruitment” team did a great job on that one.

    I also read Kinnear is going to use Ameobi as a part of his plans…long ball wimbledon tactics going to be used? At the stage i wouldnt mind, as long as we win games.

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  • Tom_Toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:03 PM

    Comment #14

    Bassong is far better than Taylor and i bet Kadar is better!

    AO – You are Fernando, now, die slowly.

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  • Wallsend Will

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:03 PM

    Comment #15

    The “Stay Ashley” thing was copied and Pasted from the “Newcastle-Online.com/author/Bob-Yule “. Some of it makes sense, but for all his faults Keegan is a winner and given the money and time he would have got the team we all wish for. Ashley should have seen that and backed Kevin against the likes of Dennis Wise. Anyway if Joe Kinnear can make any kind of success over the next six games or so, he will become the hero and likely to be offered a more permanent role. Who knows?

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  • AO

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #16

    tom toon- if they were the managers would pick them. stop acting as though you know more than managers paid to manage the club. you are a know nothing kid

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  • The Sloper

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #17

    That picture is interesting. Taylor certainly has more future in the game than the glorified sprinter who lacks a footballing brain next to him!

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  • Tom_Toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #18

    AO – Are you thick?!? Bassong had to play LB because of injuries and Kadar is injured so they cant play CB atm.

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  • Rasko a.k.a Hadji

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:22 PM

    Comment #19

    AO……You dont make sense,Derek Liambias and Denis Wise are paid aswell,that doesnt mean they’re doing a good job.

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  • tommytrouble

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #20

    taylor is useless, he’s heading in the bramble direction; putting in a good performance but being odds on to give a goal away every game regardless. He can’t have potential forever, good luck to him somewhere else I reckon.

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  • neeraj

    Oct 2, 2008 at 4:35 PM

    Comment #21

    #

    Stay Ashley and ignore these fans for NUFC sake. // Oct 2, 2008 at 15:08

    Well, he’s gone again, at least for the time being. To pose the question that we have asked ourselves many times over the last few seasons, in the wake of yet another managerial casualty – where did it all go wrong?

    I thought his appointment was a strange and risky one at the time. He had been out of the game for three years, professing a lack of interest in football that extended to him barely watching a single game. Despite his successes, his managerial career had also been punctuated by collapses in confidence and walk-outs, and his last two jobs, at England and Man City, had not ended well. Keegan’s managerial career seemed well and truly over.

    However, the one aspect of his reputation that was still intact was his standing with the majority of our fans, and surely this was the major factor that prompted Ashley to offer him the job. While in ordinary circumstances, this must seem the most flimsy of reasons to offer a man a post, we should bear in mind the situation that the club was in, at the time of his appointment.

    Allardyce’s confidence had slipped under the pressure of the job, and this had transmitted itself to the team. Ours is a club where the atmosphere in the stands can have a powerful effect, for good or ill, and it was important that any new manager should get the crowd on his side early on. We didn’t have a team of stars, and so an early turnaround was not likely. The new man could easily find himself in the same kind of firing line as Allardyce.

    I suspect that Ashley reasoned that, compared with other managers, Keegan would be cut a lot more slack by an anxious crowd. In this particular aspect, his judgement turned out to be sound. Despite an initial run of 8 league games without a win that saw us sinking further into danger, the fans kept faith and Keegan was eventually able to turn things around and ensure safety.

    But right from the start, there were signs of the division that would eventually rip the Ashley-Keegan partnership apart. In his first press conference, Keegan said that his first priority on being offered the job was to speak to the owner and make sure that their ideas were compatible. He spoke of having money to spend, and how important that was. He seemed to be talking about a partnership that mirrored the previous one that he had enjoyed with Sir John Hall.

    And yet, a short while later, an entirely different management structure was in place, in the form of Wise, Viterre, and Jiminez. Keegan was going to work to a Director of Football, with the owner and holder of the purse strings very much in the background. Keegan acknowledged that he had been aware of the proposed DOF system at the time of his appointment, but in so many respects he seemed an unlikely candidate for a subordinate role.

    What’s more, it emerged that the new regime’s strategy was a long-term one, based on the Arsenal model of identifying young players who could be developed, rather than established stars. Ashley was prepared to slash the debt, but not indulge in a short-term spending spree on established stars, unless there was a reasonable hope of recouping the expenditure towards the end of their contracts. Money for transfers would be available, but only within certain conditions and limits.

    The success that Keegan had enjoyed before had been based on his ability to persuade his Chairman to release funds. Ambitious managers will inevitably regard the overall financial well-being of the club as someone else’s concern, but Keegan had always shown a contempt for this issue that mirrors that of the success-hungry fan, rather than the professional with insider knowledge. He had never had any record for developing young players, or for over-achieving on limited resources. He was a larger than life character, who could galvanise others by his desire to reach for the top by the shortest possible route, not a technician who is prepared to achieve in small, patient steps. Above all, he was an idiosyncratic leader, not a conventional team player.

    I think we know why Ashley offered him the job – he knew that Keegan could get the fans on side. Keegan’s motivation is more difficult to pinpoint, because it seems clear that he knew what he was letting himself in for. There may well be substance in the rumours that he was under some financial pressure to accept, due to the poor performance of his business venture.

    However, what seems equally likely is that he felt he could bring the owner round to his way of thinking, in the same way that he had done with an initially reluctant Sir John Hall. With hindsight, Keegan’s comments in the first press conference may have been a statement of intent, rather than a statement of fact. It also seems to have been the first, small indication that Keegan was prepared to use public statements, addressed to the fans who were his power base, to try and put pressure on the owner.

    What he may not have reckoned with was the determination of Dennis Wise, not to be railroaded out of the way. Keegan found himself up against a character as stubborn as himself, and furthermore one who was as indifferent to public criticism off the field as he had been on it. Wise had the owner’s confidence, and in the months ahead, he never surrendered it.

    The next indication of trouble was Keegan’s rumoured unhappiness at the club’s failure to sign Luka Modric. This led to the unusual step of Chris Mort issuing a statement in the match programme, to the effect that the club had in fact outbid Spurs in terms of both transfer fee and salary. It was an attempt to nail the rumour that the club had not acted with sufficient determination, but to Keegan, it may have seemed like a shot in a PR war.

    Soon afterwards, following the Chelsea game, Keegan’s unhappiness spilled over into the public domain. After a run of better results, a team of genuine class had put us in our place in a way that would have brought home to Keegan just how large a gap he had to bridge. Always prey to speaking from emotion, Keegan railed against the futility of the club’s efforts at team-building and, what was more significant, hinted strongly that his relationship with the owner was a damagingly distant one.

    There was a disturbing recklessness about Keegan’s behaviour. If you want to remain in a job, you don’t publicly declare that it is beyond you, or take a public swipe at the owner. It felt to me that Keegan was indifferent as to whether or not he kept the job. He seemed to want to bring matters to a head, no matter what the consequences. Bearing in mind that there was apparently an agreement that Keegan should not comment publicly on transfer matters, it seems very likely that he knew how provocative his outburst would be.

    Most fans, as could have been predicted, rallied to Keegan’s side. The prevailing view was that he was trying to dampen down the fans’ expectations, and the prevailing hope was that the subsequent meeting would lead to Ashley being pressured to release greater funds in the transfer market. If, as seems likely, this was Keegan’s intention, it backfired. He was summoned to a meeting in London, and Ashley reinforced the message that both his long-term strategy, and his Director of Football, were here to stay.

    It was likely to be an uneasy truce, but in the weeks ahead, there seemed to be grounds for optimism. Wise and his team recruited a number of players with whom Keegan seemed quite happy – Gutierrez, Guthrie, Coloccini, and Bassong. In the first two games of the season, the performance of the team had noticeably improved. Things seemed to be moving forward again, and few people foresaw the impending collapse.

    However, the cracks were certainly there, most notably on the issue of the renewal of Taylor and Owen’s contracts, where Keegan seemed far more eager to secure the players’ futures than Wise. In the case of Taylor, Ashley intervened personally to settle the matter, perhaps fearful of another open rift. Rumours continued in the case of Owen, with the club finally taking the unusual step of publicly declaring that, despite what had been reported, he had been offered an improvement on his current contract. It was very reminiscent of the PR battle over Modric. There also seemed to be a stand-off between the club’s willingness to sell Alan Smith and Joey Barton, and Keegan’s determination to keep them both.

    Following Keegan’s departure, a confidently detailed story appeared in a Sunday Tabloid, outlining the degree to which Keegan was supposedly trying to pursue his own agenda of snapping up expensive, well-established players, contrary to the plan that had been agreed with Ashley and Wise. Coming from an unofficial source, we can’t be sure of its accuracy, and it’s likely that there’s a degree of exaggeration. However, its basic premise is compatible with the events that were subsequently to unfold, and with the facts that we can be more confident about.

    In the end, it was the issue of Milner that seemed to ratchet the tension up by a decisive notch. When the rumour of Milner’s sale first surfaced, Keegan publicly declared his determination to keep him as the ‘last player’ that would go, and then added that he had the support of the owner in his stand. In reality, this exaggerated praise for Milner can be seen as a provocation. It was also a public declaration of a supposed alliance that excluded Wise and his team, and they were not slow in issuing a response. In a highly unusual move, it was publicly revealed that Milner had made a written transfer request, in response to being denied a pay rise, one year into his contract.

    Common sense was on Wise’s side, and Keegan had no choice but to back down. If a player has issued a written transfer request and a generous offer comes in, it is pointless to stand in the way. But the two men were now battling things out in the papers, albeit in a way that wasn’t completely obvious and transparent to outsiders. It can’t be a surprise that, under the pressure of transfer deadline day, the relationship between them completely disintegrated.

    All sorts of stories have circulated about what happened that day. Did they fall out over the signing of Xisco and Gonzalez, the rumoured failure to sign Schweinstager and Warnock, or the alleged attempts to sell Barton, Owen and Smith? All we have heard from Keegan is the declaration that a Manager should not be forced to accept the signing of a player who he doesn’t want, and by far the most likely candidate here is Xisco.

    However, Keegan had met Xisco earlier that day, and had clearly played some part in persuading him to sign. Perhaps ‘not wanting’ a player actually meant ‘would have preferred someone else’. Either that, or Keegan, in meeting Xisco, was simply carrying out a decision that had already been made. The latter seems unlikely, as Keegan did appear to have the power to veto the sales of Owen, Smith and Barton.

    But to try to get involved in the detail is to miss the bigger picture. The DOF / Manager relationship demands a high level of trust and mutual respect. The DOF cannot just be the instrument of the Manager’s wishes, as he must hold the purse strings, and is the guardian of the overall club strategy. Similarly, the Manager cannot be simply a glorified Coach, as he must work with the players that come in, and be satisfied as to their ability and compatibility with the needs of the team.

    There is overlap between the two jobs. Neither has the final say, in the sense that both must be happy about any moves in the transfer market. What is apparent is that, by the time of deadline day, the working relationship between Wise and Keegan had reached the point of paralysis.

    What we do know is that there was a row, followed by Keegan’s dramatic exit. It bore some of the signs of a resignation, in that Ashley and the management team seemed eager to persuade Keegan to return. However, the indications are that Keegan is resolved to interpret the events as a dismissal. The fact that he will then obtain compensation rather than have to pay it, can’t be dismissed as irrelevant. The whole messy business is now in the hands of solicitors.

    Wise won the contest for Ashley’s backing, but inevitably lost the PR battle hands down. The idea that Keegan had stood firm on a matter of principle against an interfering and undermining management lackey took firm hold, not just among the majority of fans, but within large sections of the press and various spokesmen within the game, including other managers. Ashley very quickly realised that he would never recover his lost ground, and that the fans who wanted him ousted were powerful and meant business. To prevent further damage, he decided to go. But all the same, the blame for the whole fiasco seems to have been unevenly distributed, to a quite disturbing degree.

    Ashley is at fault in selecting a Manager who, by his record, was clearly unsuited to the strategy and the management structure that he had in mind. We could say that both he and the team needed a popular choice of manager at the time of crisis, but all the same he could have been braver in his decision. It was based on the idea that Keegan would be able to sell Ashley’s piecemeal, long-term plan to the fans, but this was a flawed concept as, throughout his career, Keegan has always followed his own ideas and ambitions. Similarly, Keegan was at fault in accepting a role that he would not have tolerated in the past, on the apparent assumption that he could, in time, re-write his job description.

    But nevertheless the bulk of my anger and exasperation is directed at Keegan. Once it became apparent that Ashley was not going to budge from his plan, he had the choice of either knuckling down or resigning. It seems to me that he did neither. Perhaps subconsciously, he opted to carry on the battle and make himself the victim of the new regime, thereby retaining the loyalty of the fans and leaving with financial compensation. Indeed, some of his actions indicated a desire for confrontation rather than compromise. Unfortunately, in the process, the club has been left in a mess.

    The prospective new owners may well be very tempted to bring Keegan back, but unless they are prepared to back him with major amounts of money and give him a free hand in how it is spent, they must consider that history might well repeat itself. The whole episode is further evidence that, if things do not go Keegan’s way, his enthusiasm for the task can drop very suddenly.

    Keegan might well regard the whole episode as Mike Ashley’s failure to deliver the tools that he needed to do the job, not his own failure to accept the task in hand. This is certainly the view of the majority of fans. But his experiences with England and Man City, with the periods of exile that followed, show that there is also a strong element of self-doubt within the Keegan psyche. He appears to have got out of this job with his self-image intact – rather undeservedly. Unless the situation in his next post is completely to his liking, he may be well advised to quit while he is ahead.
    #

    THIS QUOTE IS AS BIG AS ASHLEY’S STOMACH, NOT INTERESTED…

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  • Obafan

    Oct 2, 2008 at 5:17 PM

    Comment #22

    First thing which Kinnear says that I don’t support. Taylor has got so many chances and he still gets chances, but he doesn’t learn from his mistakes at all. On the contrary his mistakes are getting worse and worse.

    I hope a manager comes in who is honnest and put Taylor on the bench and finally up for sale. He is overrated and that is a FACT!

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  • sirjasontoon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 5:42 PM

    Comment #23

    Taylor=Poop

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  • happy toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 5:42 PM

    Comment #24

    taylor is kak….i would rather put smith in defense…..smith aint talented but he’s a hard worker and gives it his all and he would probably do a better job there than scoring goals….

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  • sean667

    Oct 2, 2008 at 5:45 PM

    Comment #25

    Stay Ashley and ignore these fans for NUFC sake.
    while imight agree with some of what you have said in your opus i do believe that MA biggest problem was how immaturely he has behaved and allowed his cronies toprovok the fans if he was serious in building the club he could have taken a leaf from KK`s book and stood on the steps of st james`s andand talked to the fans when KK walked he might well of gained at least some respect then.

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  • sean667

    Oct 2, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    Comment #26

    p.s taylor is sh*t

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  • happy toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 5:52 PM

    Comment #27

    taylor is overated…he wouldn’t last a sec against a good forward….they’ll tear him to shreds than p*ss on him. i think bassong is light years better….

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  • sean667

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:02 PM

    Comment #28

    Stay Ashley and ignore these fans for NUFC sake.
    provocative name don`t ya think?

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  • sean667

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    Comment #29

    Robby Bobson i agree mate

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  • I want Steve Bruce in, Along with Amir Zaki, Valencia and Palacios(GG7)

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:15 PM

    Comment #30

    fernando- go and f**k a thai bird and catch HIV, and die

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  • Jude

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:19 PM

    Comment #31

    Keegan is shite…we shd never have hired him back..u can blame Ashley for that

    But why did ashley bring keegan back…because some sorry fools who call themselves that just wanted that….what else cld he do…get a manager and win the trust of the fans at the same time….I blame these same fans…who when this crock of manager gathered his balls up and split stood behind him to threaten the owners

    ofcourse i wish Ashley will stay cuz i know..I KNOW…if u r an idiot and u think otherwise, i really dont care….but i KNOW that’s the sure way of havin an assured-future as a club and who know’s what great things can come out if it..

    sometime i just wish u sorry lot will get exactly what u wish for…u think whoever comes in will just keep on spending and spending..what happens when the team doesn’t have success on the field…will the foolish lot shout again…and for what…parochial thinking, sorry individuals, in ma opinion.

    I’m out u can say any shite u want aba what ive written. Don’t give a F**K….

    And just in case u didn’t get ma whole drift, here it is simplified… YES I THINK ASHLEY SHOULD STAY AND IGNORE THE CLLUELESS NEWCASTLE UNITED FANS FOR NUFC SAKE….REALLY THAT’LL BE THE BEST THING TO EVA HAPPEN TO THE CLUB…

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  • neeraj

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:23 PM

    Comment #32

    actually i like taylor a lot…..

    its just that he has been playing with bad defenders…

    and when he has a great partner there is crisis…

    i can generate a whole list….

    the problem is, that your nidfield needs to support your defense and that’s exactly what’s not happening and when u have a guy like butt it adds to ur fortune….

    i remember fabregas and nasri winning atleast 20 tackles in middle against us….

    i believe he would improve when barton and guthrie are back and this takeover completed….

    lets face it not all football pundits can be wrong

    best tactics that newcastle can go for against everton is 5-3-2 with two wing backs…..

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  • Guinea Mag

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:28 PM

    Comment #33

    I still think Taylor can come good but needs to be in a more settled team with some decent players around him. He has been shocking of late, but being an optimist, I’m putting it down to the understrength, injury prone squad we have at Newcastle United….

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  • happy toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:28 PM

    Comment #34

    taylor couldn’t keep a door locked, let alone our defence…..he’s crap and should rejoin the academy till he learns some basics like not using your hands in the penalty area….sometimes i think he thinks he’s the goalkeeper….

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  • happy toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:32 PM

    Comment #35

    ashely when you leave to forget to take shamebi, llambias and co….we all by now should know the list

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  • neeraj

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:38 PM

    Comment #36

    happy toon

    i’ve generated a whole list

    ameobi
    smith
    viduka
    cacapa
    edgar
    butt
    geremi….

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  • happy toon

    Oct 2, 2008 at 6:50 PM

    Comment #37

    nice one neeraj….but with viduka i’m gonna say he’s worth keeping….yes he’s injury prone and probably knows every doctor in the hospitals first names….but he is quality when he’s fit and on his day he’s one of the best strikers in england and arguably europe.

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  • sean667

    Oct 2, 2008 at 7:02 PM

    Comment #38

    wow jude take achill pill.
    neeraj; colo =bad ……….mmmmmm

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  • Tore Torell

    Oct 2, 2008 at 7:05 PM

    Comment #39

    Taylor should be dropped, throw in Bassong and let him and Curly create a great defense for the future.

    Bassong’s pace together with Curly’s experience will prove to be a hit.

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  • neeraj

    Oct 2, 2008 at 7:08 PM

    Comment #40

    sean667

    when did i said colo= bad

    i said finally he has a good partner(in defense) and club is in crisis

    bad def= bramble, boumosong, cacapa, rohzenal etc etc

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