Terry McDermott was again the coach at Newcastle when Kevin Keegan signed on for us for the second time as manager back in mid-January of 2008.
That was after Sam Allardyce, now the former England manager, was fired in early January.
And Terry today has talked about Newcastle selling James Milner in August of that year to Aston Villa for £15M – at the time the figure mentioned was £12M and even that was a lot for James at the time.
Kevin Keegan and Terry McDermott in 2008
He had been on a season long loan to Villa a couple of years before that under David O’Leary and they seemed very keen to sign him with Martin O’Neill being the manager in 2008.
Terry has revealed the reason they sold James Milner to Aston Villa was the club wanted to buy Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and at the time we were certainly linked with the top German midfielder.
Kevin did not want to sell one of his best players and as it turned out it was just a few days after that when Kevin Keegan surprisingly resigned from Newcastle.
This is what Terry McDermott has said today about Milner:
“We were actually at the club when we sold him, myself and Kevin Keegan.”
“We sold him for £15M.” “The story goes – and this is a true story – we didn’t want him to leave but we needed to get other players in because we’d had a bid of 15 million quid.”
“Kevin said ‘if we sell him for 15 million quid, how are we going to replace him?”
“They said ‘we’ve already got one – Schweinsteiger’. He’s at Man United now but seven or eight years ago he was a superstar and they said we could get him.”
“The idea of accepting the bid of £15M for Milner, which was a lot of money then, and then we’re looking to get Schweinsteiger – it’s a no brainer.”
“But after he’d signed for Villa – the day after – we’re trying to sign Schweinsteiger and the answer was ‘absolutely no chance, it will cost you £50M if you wanted to buy Schweinsteiger’”
“So we had no one to replace him.” “But he was irreplaceable anyway because he could play anywhere.”
That’s really poor management by Newcastle and before they let James Milner go to Villa how come they hadn’t approached Bayern Munich for Schweinsteiger and knew they were unwilling to sell except for a crazy fee?
That shows that then Director of Football Dennis Wise was ill-equipped for the job and was naive with little or no experience of how to get deals done.
On September 1st of 2008 there were rumors that Kevin had resigned from Newcastle and it turns out that was true when Kevin released a statement to the effect on September 4th.
Kevin had fallen out with Managing Director Derek LLambias and Dennis Wise over two players coming in he knew nothing about – and that’s another (long) story.
That coming a couple of days after the Schweinsteiger folly makes it no surprise that Kevin wanted out of a club that was being incompetently run by those above him in the organization.
What a mess we were in then – and of course we ended that season being relegated.
That’s when Newcastle were incompetently run like we’ve been over the last couple of years and we again have ended up being relegated.
The good news is that we now have Rafa Benitez in charge of all football matters and he’s running the club quite brilliantly with help from Managing Director Lee Charnley.