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Keegan exit turns heat on Ashley

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Phil McNulty | 13:15 UK time, Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Kevin Keegan has left Newcastle for the final time - plunging the club's fervent following into mourning once more.

If his first departure in January 1997 sent shockwaves reverberating well beyond Tyneside, this latest parting comes with little more than a minor tremor.

The shock comes in the timing, only three games into the new Premier League season and 24 hours after the signing of striker Deportivo La Coruna striker Xisco and Valencia midfield man Ignacio Gonzalez.

But it could be that the arrival of those relatively unsung players was a catalyst for a split that leaves Newcastle owner Mike Ashley in a hugely vulnerable position.

Keegan's passionate and all-consuming personality, plus his perfectly understandable desire to control his own destiny, made him an uncomfortable fit inside Ashley's management structure at Newcastle.

And Ashley's appointment of Dennis Wise as executive director of football was a poor decision on the owner's part.

The first cracks appeared in May when Keegan reacted to defeat against Chelsea by claiming he would not be able to break into the top four, adding for good measure: "Maybe the owner thinks we can bridge that gap - but we can't."

It was a clear sign that Keegan and Ashley had difference expectations. A bad sign so early in his tenure.

And there were constant suggestions eminating from Tyneside that Keegan was not exercising full control over transfers.

These were not the only issues that led to Keegan's second coming at Newcastle degenerating into an unsatisfactory affair.

Michael Owen has failed to sign a new contract, Joey Barton's future has been a matter for debate after he was released from prison and Keegan was clearly reluctant to part with James Milner - even though he insisted it was his decision to sell him to Aston Villa.

Keegan never looked fully at ease with his role at Newcastle, where he was tugged back by his heart-strings in January after insisting he would never return to management after leaving Manchester City.

Kevin Keegan

And the presence of Wise in the background was always a source of suspicion among Newcastle fans, who felt he was driving transfer policy as opposed to Keegan.

If Keegan felt he was being undermined it would have been tough for him to take, especially given that he has a pedigree as player and manager that is light years ahead of anything Wise can rustle up.

Owner Ashley traded on his man of the people reputation - sitting with supporters at matches and even wearing his Newcastle shirt emblazoned with "King Kev 1" at what turned out to be his manager's final game at Arsenal on Saturday.

But he has never shown a sure footballing touch. If you appoint Keegan as manager, you must let him dictate transfer policy and allow him to stand and fall by his own decisions.

Ashley is being hasty in parting with Keegan. If anyone was going to change policy and approach it should have been Ashley as opposed to Keegan.

And where Ashley goes for his next manager will be a measure of whether he is up to the task of controlling the footballing monster that is Newcastle United.

He may even be tempted to hand the controls to Wise, but this is a temptation he should resist. The phrase "lead balloon" springs to mind instantly.

It would be a bad choice from both a footballing and political point of view. He has no Premier League track record as a manager and the mere mention of his name brought jeers from fans gathered outside St James' Park awaiting confirmation of Keegan's exit.

For Newcastle, it is another sorry episode for a club that paints itself as a giant of the game and yet has not won a major trophy since the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.

They are almost terminally unstable, shifting from manager to manager with monotonous regularity, and shipping players in and out in a ludicrous revolving door policy.

At least Keegan would have been given time by Newcastle's fans to try and get the job done, such is their reverence for the former England boss.

Instead he has gone, probably out of football forever, and Newcastle are stranded in familiar crisis territory again.

It is a sorry end for Keegan. Many doubted the wisdom of his decision to return to Newcastle, indeed some might even revel in his downfall.

This would be desperately unfair. He has his failings (don't we all?) but they are far outweighed by his honesty, decency and his desire to play the game in attacking manner.

Keegan has said many times he knows what Newcastle fans want. He has proved it in the past.

He certainly knows more than Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise and it is a genuine shame that he will not be able to give it to them.


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  • Comment number 1.


  • Comment number 2.

    rotten decision, had Ashley given Keegan the time i.e. 3 years, I think they could have been a top eight side, just look at O'Neill at Villa. But with Wise looking over his shoulder I can't help but think the writing was on the wall a long time ago. Desperate times for the toon.

  • Comment number 3.

    big sam?

  • Comment number 4.

    The day after witnessing Man Citys rocket into the suer league of richness, this is all we need. Like you say a manager we all love at the club and no matter whether he was doing well or bad, you cant help that the fans would be on his side. I for one was waiting up duting deadline day to witness this WOW signing, but sadly was dissapointment with two captures of whom I have never heared of, same old same old.

    If it wasnt fot the financial situation with a fairly good money backing wed be relegated long ago, so now with so much promise at the start for the season, I am gutted to witness the inevitable demise of Newcastle United!

  • Comment number 5.

    Both Keegan and Ashley should have known that money alone won't get them the best players. It will only get them the likes of Luque...... The club needs stability in which players and manager can settle and build for the future, and in which players with ambition can play a part.

  • Comment number 6.

    This "big club" is a complete joke it doesn't seem to matter who's in charge they never get it right. Why anyone would employ dennis wise to do a job for a man the bought anelka to man city, ginola to newcastle and SHEARER to newcastle is beyond me!

  • Comment number 7.

    I feel so sorry for Newcastle fans, for their loyal support they don't deserve to be messed around like this. Get in a decent manager and give him a chance to get the team somewhere!

  • Comment number 8.

    I can't say I'm shocked by this news, though maybe by it's timing. Whoever comes in will be inheriting a side and unable to add to it for 4 months.

    I seem to remember it being pointed out when Keegan was appointed that he would need to make his own decisions and instead all these random boardroom appointments were made, such as Wise etc. Clearly Keegan's position has been undermined.

    As for the next manager, somebody Spanish perhaps following the club's recent acquisitions? Don't envy whoever it is coming in though. I'm racking my brains trying to think of who might have become available from La Liga.

  • Comment number 9.

    Why? Why? WHY!!!!!!! I'm a lifelong toon fan and I genuinly felt we had something starting here. Ashley - you have interferred too much Sir! Bring back Shepherd - at least he knew his place. These are dark dark days for us indeed, and if he thinks he has a ready made replacement for Kev in Mr.Wise he will be very much mistaken.

  • Comment number 10.

    I find it a bit harsh when bbc articles say that Newcastle have collected 'just' 4 points from 3 games. It makes it sound like Newcastle have had an indifferent start to the season.

    Given that those three games include trips to Arsenal and Man Utd, 4 points is a pretty respectable tally!

  • Comment number 11.

    Who is to say that the appointment of Dennis Wise was a poor decision. Wise has more experience of the modern game wouldn't you say?

    Is it a question of what was agreed in January when Keegan came back. Was he promised there was money and was he told he would have carte blanche with it?

    Keegan may know what Newcastle fans want, but Newcastle fans seem to have a different view of what they think they should have compared to like outside of St James' Park.

    On the other hand, I guess at least Curbishley can say, 'I wasn't first!'.

    Can I ask, again, why are these articles now presented as a blog rather than a 606 thread?

  • Comment number 12.

    I have to believe Ashley has someone in mind to replace Keegan other than Wise...

  • Comment number 13.

    What gets me is the club can't break the news. They where quite happy to bombard me with texts telling me we have signed Danny Gutherie but when it comes to real news the club fall silent...

  • Comment number 14.

    Why does the BBC article mention only 4 points from the opening three games? We travelled to Emirates and Old Trafford and had 'let's play 10 men behind the ball' Bolton at home. It was a good start to the season. This is ridiculous. Ashley is a joke at the moment. The management set-up will never work - this smacks of Mad Vlad at Hearts. Can we at least get a proven top manager in now please Mr Ashley?

  • Comment number 15.

    So un-Wise...

    It's becoming increasingly difficult to be a toon fan, not because of what occurs on the pitch, but within the corridors of power.

    On the pitch, I never had much to complain about where Keegan was concerned. He held the team together (something other managers had struggled with), he knew where the players were best placed and how to get the best out of them. Most of all he liked us to play football.

    The management have more of a fondness for russian roulette - so the consequences are somewhat enevitable.

    The merry-go-round will likely cough up a manager who has one eye on the payoff options before they start. It appears to be the only bit of business a manager can do up here...


  • Comment number 16.

    why dont we just play without a manager?

    everytime we get a decent manager we either sack him or do something to make him leave.

    its just getting pathetic

  • Comment number 17.

    Alan Shearer anyone? That should keep the toon happy.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ashley needs his head examined. I think it would be a sign of rashness if he headed out to the Bigg Market again.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think Ashley should sell up, if I was a mega rich arab Newcastle would be in my top 3 of clubs to buy!

    At least this makes me feel better about spurs!


  • Comment number 20.

    As usuall Phil you are spt on with your observations. God only knows what is going on at Newcastle. There used to be a brewery in Newcastle but it's clear nobody at NUFC could organise a p*** up there.
    Everybody in the world of football will be LOL at this debacle.

  • Comment number 21.

    Though i'm a Red, Keegan is a footballing institution in himself. Ashley doesnt know what he is doing and the thought of Dennis Wise being Keegan's Boss is ludicrous in itself. He's not fit to tie Keegan's boots. It'll be interesting to see what happens now!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    I genuinely feel sorry for Kevin and for all those fans.

    Contrary to the money that has been spent and the players that have been sold, it seems without his permission, he has done great work.

    But as you said Phil, the cracks were really there from when Ashley introduced his own board room/ back room team that from the start screamed out that it was undermining Keegan, he never looked comfortable talking about it, even when he was assuring us that it was done with his permission.

    Perhaps Ashley decided to get rid of him after he made those comments, and thats why he was clearing out the squad, offering their top strikers pay cuts, and not funding the manager for the signings like he was promised when he took over the reigns?

    Or even worse, skullduggery on wise's side to push himself into the frame for the top job?

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Keegan leaving is absolutely ridiculous.

    It seems like another false dawn and that Newcastles only hope is that Ashley gets bored and sells the club.

    Another millionaire backer is not the answer though; they need leadership and continuity.

  • Comment number 26.

    Not a great decision by a chairman who seems to think that sitting with the fans and wearing a Newscastle shirt is enough to run a football club. Keegan deserved better and I'm afraid that the next person out the door will be Owen in January. He will not want to be involved in a club that is going nowhere.

  • Comment number 27.

    Madness - I was not overly impressed with how Ashley dealt with Allardyce and brought in Keegan in the first place, but having brought Keegan in it was bizarre how he hamstrung the guy within a couple of weeks by bringing in Wise.

    What player in his right mind will want to play for Newcastle now under the current ownership?

    Bet Ashley won't be sitting amongst the fans at the next home game!

  • Comment number 28.

    This club continues to be stunningly buffoonish. Ashley is in this for the money pure and simple, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I'm sure we'll bring in some has-been or some wanna-be to replace KK, but no one truly solid and capable of getting us to the top four. It's a mute point who we bring in anyway for as long as Ashley is running the club like a sporting goods store, mediocrity is the best we can hope for. Ashley's ego apparently won't allow him to turn football (including acquisitions and divestitures) over to a football man.

    I weep for my fellow Toon fans.

  • Comment number 29.

    Something tells me Mike won't be sitting as 'one of the fans' anymore, maybe?

  • Comment number 30.

    Slaven Bilic. Go and get him Ashley. Go now.

  • Comment number 31.


    after Alan Shearer there will be no more "Messiah" who could come in to keep the fans happy.

    But why would Alan go there?

    I wouldn't. Much easier to keep his feet under that table on MoTD and slag off Newcastle from there.

  • Comment number 32.

    Keegan's position was undermined straight away with Wise's appointment. How Ashley has become a succesful businessman I don't know. He clearly knows nothing about owning a football club.

    Having said that, Keegan isn't really up to it and I think his support of Barton hasn't helped.

    Next manager is Wise, obvious.
    No-one else will take it.

  • Comment number 33.

    i fear for the future of the club after this mess. keegan knew what he was doing, he wasnt going to perform miracles but he would have provided stability and given the club something to build on. now i worry for the next man that is brought in because if keegan isnt given what he wants i.e. control i dont see who will be.

  • Comment number 34.

    Alan Shearer anyone? That should keep the toon happy.


    it would but then someone would find a reason to get rid of him. At this rate everyone in Newcastle will get a shot at managing NUFC

  • Comment number 35.

    Might as well give Slaven a cheque for 2 mill and tell him not to bother turning up, he'll be canned in a few months anyway!

  • Comment number 36.

    If Wise took over it would be a disaster.

    As for Shearer, I still dont think he's ready!
    They need someone with experience and is prepared to, somehow, sort Newcastle out!

  • Comment number 37.

    Two words - typical Newcastle.

    What they have done with Keegan (twice) and Bobby Robson before him is nothing short of scanderlous. Even since Sir John Hall left the club, weve had a set of 'directors' who have ran the club like it's their own little playground. They haven't let the manager do his own job, and have meddled to the point where we've gone from a top 4 side to the laughing stock of the Premier League. As someone else has already said, if it wasn't for the money we'd have been relegated long ago.

    The board should do the honourable thing and resign as soon as possible. I'm waiting with baited breath for a takeover - that's the best thing that can happen at the moment to the soap opera that is Newcastle United.

  • Comment number 38.

    Newcastle Comedy Club strikes again. What a waste of a passionate fan base. Oh, and by the way, thanks for taking that thug and that inept manger off our hands. Onwards and upwards. Not.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    Keegan should get back to playing lots of Golf, nailing nasty little five footers, instead of having one looking over his shoulder called Dennis Wise.

  • Comment number 41.

    Quite right to those who said that Newcastle have had a good start to the season - excellent draw at Old Trafford, hard-fought win over Bolton, and coming through a tricky cup tie away to Coventry. It's only the Arsenal game that has been poor - and how many teams come away from the Emirates with anything anyway?

    On the Ashley matter, I never thought we could have a worse chairman than FFS, but I guess I was wrong...

  • Comment number 42.

    Predictions.....England destroy Croatia and Billic becomes toon manager....can't see either though

  • Comment number 43.

    To be honest who wants the job ?

    Certainly not Shearer, he's way too smart to take on the poisoned chalice.

    I think the only half experienced manager who might be tempted would be Paul Jewell.

  • Comment number 44.

    The Premier League is the biggest real-life soap opera. Man City getting Robinho??
    Man Utd paying £30m+ for Berbatov?
    Newcastle and Keegan parting company?

    No surprise when you take into consideration the goings on over the past while, but as a neutral, I am amazed.

    Newcastle started the campaign rather well. I think Keegan had assembled a pretty decent squad of players, and had them playing good football. However, Keegan was backed by a so-called billionaire who loves Newcastle so much that he allows Milner to be sold (for a nice profit), apparently against the wishes of Keegan.

    I feel sorry for Keegan, but I really feel sorry for the Toon faithful. All they want to do is support an attractively playing, attack minded football team, who may win a cup and push the Big Four a bit. Given a bit of time, Keegan would do that.

    Who will they install now??? Shearer? Nah. Gullit? Get a grip. Once again, Newcastle appear to be in disarray. Wise was an unwise choice for director of football, and Ashley??? I think he wanted the kudos of owning a football team...a bit like Michael Knighton.

    For the love of football, I hope Newcastle get sorted out, coz the PL needs them.

  • Comment number 45.

    One word :

  • Comment number 46.

    The next manager will clearly be Wise.

    Who else would want it?

    Total shambles.

  • Comment number 47.

    I am not a Newcastle fan - but know one and he is devastated - Not by the decision but by the constant changes without purpose. I live in the US and see far fewer changes in management of premier level teams in sports because it is a journey. Newcastle seems to manage it from game to game or day to day and that is not going to make a real title contender. I wonder if the management is really up to making a worldclass organization or just a great local team with incredibly passionate supporters.

  • Comment number 48.

    Enter Graeme Souness........

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Events at Newcastle make Liverpool look like a well oiled machine.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ashley wants to manage the team. he is one of those dangerous owners who think they know about football and has surrounded himself with people who think they know how to run footballs clubs.

    Bringing in Dennis Wise above Keegan was uncalled for and humiliating for a guy of Keegan's stature. Wise wasn't (and isn't) even a big name you coudl understand. His record so far has not been stellar but it looks like ashley favours him over Keegan for some reason.

    And to be fair Keegan had doen OK, apart from the Joey Barton thing, were I profoundly disagree with him, he has stabalised the club on the pitch. Yet he seems to have been undermined in what are little more than power games. Sad really.

    Newcastle fans may have an inflated idea of their club's position in the football order but they deserve better.

  • Comment number 52.

    Mike Ashley is a joke.
    I believe he said Keegan was the only manager he wanted at the club, or something to that effect.
    Then he brings in that other joke, Dennis Wise as Kev's boss. What has he ever or will ever achieve in the sport?

    As has been hinted at earlier a manager like Keegan needs to be in control of all things football. He has always tried to play the game how fans like to see it played. Attacking and with imagination, and to do that he needs the players he wants and not what someone else thinks is best.
    I'm a Man City fan and loved almost every minute of his tenure with us, we lost some but we won some crackers...which brings us back to Mike Ashley.

    If this is the last we see of Kevin Keegan in football...Thanks for the memories.

  • Comment number 53.

    disgraceful burn in hell

  • Comment number 54.

    I somehow don't think we'll see Ashley sitting in the stands at the next game!

  • Comment number 55.

    It's official! NUFC are now the biggest Joke in British Football.

    I'm not a big fan of Newcastle or "king Kev" but let's not forget that he is the only person since 1969 to get them close to winning anything of substance, in that famous "I'd love it , I'd love it " season where they played spectacular football and Newcastle's long suffering fans almost got the reward they deserved.

    Maybe Ashley was a fan in those days and just wanted to get revenge for the ill timed/conceived purchase of Asprilla which was blamed for the demise of Newcastle at the time. But let's not forget that he also got alan Shearer in the face of Man Utd competition.

  • Comment number 56.

    No one is going to want this job now apart from Denis Wise. Feel sorry for the fans. Only thing you can hope for is that Ashley leaves and you can get keegan back before too much damage is done and then get some more players in january to try and save the season maybe the uefa cup or something. Thought newcastle would be at least top 8 this season don't know now.

  • Comment number 57.

    Just bizzare news. The day after the close of the transfer window, and after a fairly solid start to the season, the manager heads out. If he was unhappy with the levels and sources of control within the club's hierarchy, then it's understandable, but that shouldn't be an issue anyway. Give a manager a job and he shouldn't have to deal with such meddling. Such arrangements never work.

    I honestly have no idea where Newcastle can go next, and have weakened further with Milner going out the door. Xisco and Gonzalez will have to quickly prove their ability, especially Xisco considering his recent history, while the club have such dire injury problems that the club should have bought twice as many before midnight yesterday evening.

    As mentioned already, the arrival of a Spanish manager looks likely considering the influx of Spanish speaking players, but who is this man and what can he do to solve the conundrum that is Newcastle United?

    Yet another strange chapter in an increasingly melodramatic book.

  • Comment number 58.

    Sorry but there's no way that Newcastle can be classed as a Big club - they have a big, loyal following but that is about it.

    They have an owner who may be worth a mint on paper, but when you look at the cash equity at the disposal to so many other premiership club owners these days, Ashley is very much small time by comparison. Newcastle have no hope of even finishing in the top ten while he remains in charge and unfortunately for all the optimists out there, Alan Shearer has far too much sense to kick his managerial career off at the Premiership's most volatile club.

    I do feel sorry for all the toons out there and hope you can finally take a real stand against the man ruining your football club.

  • Comment number 59.

    4:26pm and it's still not classed as NEWS on the official website...

    ...kinda sums up how they feel about their managers !

    shocking behaviour

  • Comment number 60.

    Newcastle get exactly what they deserve.

    Sacking Sam Allardyce after such a short time was ridiculous.

    It takes time to turn around a football club and to dismiss him so quickly was crazy. The impatience of the fans was appalling to behold.

    It was clear that the relationship between owner and manager was not working as it should. after Keegan was taken to task for saying that top 4 was beyond them at the moment - when he was patently correct and simply being honest.

    The appointment of Dennis Wise cannot have been well received by Keegan and who could blame him.

    I'm only surprised that it took Keegan this long to walk.

    It's such a shame how Newcastle have sunk in the affections of most fans. They've gone from being everyone's second team in Keegan's heyday to being a joke. You'll find little sympathy for their plight anywhere now.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    Unless Ashley can fix up a management team of something like Shearer and Zidane, I think his time is numbered. He may be a billionaire - but that holds nothing with the passion which us fans have got.

    The tubby fella needs ousting!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    With 8 mangers in just 11 years [including keegan twice] it is an achievement for Newcastle to still be in the Premiership. Sam Allardyce and Kevin Keegan managed to keep their jobs for 9 months and 8 months respectively. How are managers supposed to build a team in such short amounts of time. Keegan had success in the past and I think if he had the right backing and support, in time he would have been successful again.

    Look at the situation from another managers point of view, who is really going to want to be the next Newcastle manager after what has happened to the last two? Personally I think Dennis Wise will get the job. I cannot imagine someone from outside of the club would be willing to go there now, especially after the transfer window has closed and they cannot bring in any players of their own.

  • Comment number 64.

    re 22

    but he did ok getting Millwall to an FA Cup final!

    no point getting shearer in, how can someone learn managment ropes wen he aint even in charge!

  • Comment number 65.

    It's only Newcastle. They do it to themselves, serially. Compulsively. They then demand our sympathy. Nowhere club going nowhere. Just why do the media insist on giving them so much coverage? Oh yeah, there's a Beeb memo floating around somewhere mentioning Regionasl Coverage. Yawn.....

  • Comment number 66.

    Does anyone else feel betrayed by the club?

    I feel betrayed by the new dawn that was supposed to happen under Ashley and co.

    This is ridiculous.

    I'll only smile again if we get Shearer, Rijkaard or Deschamps...

  • Comment number 67.

    Newcastle is really becoming the joke of the premiership.

  • Comment number 68.

    45. At 4:23pm on 02 Sep 2008, manutdftw55 wrote:
    One word :


    My thoughts excalty mate:(

  • Comment number 69.

    Yet again, the biggest loser will be the newcastle fans who have a better looking team this season and have 4 points from 9 with two of the three teams played coming from the 'top four'. A shame really but as a leeds fan, I really hope dennis wise does not get the job. Not convincing as a manager at leeds and he will have no chance at Newcastle.

  • Comment number 70.

    Keegan managed to drew with Man Utd, won against Bolton as it has shown that we have started the season well compared to past years! Mike Ashley looks like a grand guy but he aint after sackin the King! Even he wore the King Kev, Mike is putting up a front but in backroom, hes a true cold heart business man who doesnt care about toon fans! Kevin Keegan was the SOLUTION to ease down the turmoil of Newcastle years but now look like the turmoil has carried on and Mike Ashley made sure of that!

  • Comment number 71.


  • Comment number 72.

    Newcastle should be playing in the Serie A with the frequent turnover rate of their managers. Big Sam has been vindicated and so has all the managers that never had a chance in that post.

  • Comment number 73.

    how about Rafa? - he's spanish and used to dealing with backroom interference :-)

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    The decline started with the departure of Sir John Hall.

    NUFC has been run by a succession of muppets since then.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm a Man Utd Fan and I'n deeply shocked at how the management structure of Newcastle continues to stangle hold their managers and continue to undermine them.

    I have a soft spot for newcastle and was surprised in our recent draw. For me this was the first step in challenging the top four by showing that Newcastle was on the right track. Keegan knows what he is doing and to say you can be the face of Newcastle but we make the desicions is insane.

    Manchester United are only as succesful as they are because they gave their manager space and time. I firmly believe that Keegan was the man to make Newcastle a stong side again. It is not fair on the fantastic fans that Newcastle has. they deserve more. The OWNER is to BLAME!!!

    Get it sorted fans or Newcastle will be doomed to be an under achieving mid table team, or worse get relegated.

    Also I believe the premire league has lost a grerat asset

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    I am utterly shocked by this. I'm not a Magpies fan but this is a prime example of the sport taking a turn for the worst. Okay so they came unstuck at Arsenal, but in the first two games they looked decent. And the board was clearly not listening to Keegan when he was (very correctly imo) saying no-one should be sold due to the small squad, and especially not Milner! Worse still they haven't even gotten in extra players! Six in five out isn't it?

    For the cost of a pint at the Emirates Ashley could have bought a half-decent player...

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    I just feel so sorry for the Newcastle fans. Such passionate supporters do not deserve this and it is a supposed "supporter" in Mike Ashley that has now put this new mess upon the club.

    It seems no lessons of previous regimes have been learnt and yet again the Toon are after a manager's position which no one will touch.

  • Comment number 81.

    I actually feel physically sick

  • Comment number 82.

    All seems a bit silly to have this out the day after the transfer window shuts for four months. Keegan was never happy it seemed there under Ashley, especially after Wise came in. That said it is Mike Ashleys club not Keegan's so if Mike wants it running one way thats the way it will happen. Newcastle would be lost without his money and its not as though Keegan had done that good a job. Newcastle need to find a long term manager and stick with him even if things take a bad turn, teams need stability and Newcastle have not had that for far too long.
    The newcastle fans need to face some harsh realities too, there have to be bad times in order to get things right, the squad needs an overhaul and thats not going to happen quickly!

  • Comment number 83.

    If this is actually true - and I'm assuming it is because it's on the BBC - then it is disgraceful. For Mike Ashley to wear a King Kev T-shirt in the stands at the weekend, and then for this to happen? That would make him one incredibly shallow hypocrite. I still cling to the hope that this is just rumours gone wild.... but it seems unlikely.
    KK brought life back to NUFC. Now Mike Ashley and his little gang seem to have taken it away again. How incredibly depressing. Where now? Whoever is next will have to be happy with the regime that has just chased away the most passionate, and beloved, NUFC manager who was doing good things and who managed to start the campaign by getting a point at the Premiership and European champions's home ground - a great result, by the way BBC. Who would take the job? Someone who fancies a few months as manager at a big club before getting the boot. Oh dear.

  • Comment number 84.

    Great article, couldn't agree more. Ashley is way out of his depth...and if he is even thinking about appointing Dennis Wise as manager he's even more stupid than he looked on saturday at the Arsenal game.

  • Comment number 85.

    Spot on Phil. You've got to feel for the Toon supporters, what's going on up there. Ashley should get back to the Directors box, sack Wise and then leave all football decisions to the new manager. Who's going to want the job now though?

  • Comment number 86.

    I really thought that Keegan had the abilities to sort Newcastle out. I cant see how any other manager would be brave enough to step into the firing line at the moment, so it looks like Wise is the next in line.

    Ashley clearly has no idea about football and the Premier League needs to sort itself out to prevent another diabolocal like this happening again.

    Just look at Man City, dont forget how many hundreds of millions of pounds Man Utd are in debt, Liverpool's owners are barely on speaking terms, Abramovich is almost impossible to please and West Ham are now sufferring because of previous owners...surely all this foreign ownership is not a good idea?

  • Comment number 87.

    Didn't someone once say that history has a tendency to repeat itself - the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce?

    I do feel sorry for Keegan. Here we have a manager who can't even be allowed to control the players he buys and sells!

    I think NUFC have really done it this time. Who wants to be manager of a shambles of a club like that. Talk about poisoned chalice. I'm not a NUFC fan but they and Keegan deserve better than this.

  • Comment number 88.


  • Comment number 89.

    As a life long Toon fan I have suffered like the rest of our fans with disgraceful board decisions and managers coming and going with big ego's but no idea how to run a club like Newcastle. Keegan DOES know what Newcastle fans want, he's PROVED it and DELIVERED it in the past.

    The Chairman MUST go, this is NOT a TOY and he has his chance, whatever the amount of money he has or doesnt have.

    This same chairman downed a pint straight in seconds in front of millions of tv viewers at the weekend. Responsible drinking eh!!!
    At a time when this country is battling against binge drinking this man has to me shown millions just how responible an individual he is.

    If this sounds a bitter taste from a jealous Toon is because it IS!! GET OUT ASHLEY!!

  • Comment number 90.

    Keegan in this instance looks like he stuck around to make it work but it was just too hard putting up with interference.

    I'm sure Shearer will be mentioned but would have to be made to take the job. If he does then Wise would have to go and why could that not have happened under keegan. All very stupid if you ask me.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ha ha!! What a fiasco. good job there is one stable club on Tyneside!!

    Will they ever learn?

  • Comment number 92.

    Jonno_79 wrote:
    The decline started with the departure of Sir John Hall.

    NUFC has been run by a succession of muppets since then.


    Nicely summed up. What can Ashley do to appease the Toon Army? Well, nothing. The way he has run the club, tell me which 'big named boss' would come there, with one eye on Wise and another on their job security.

  • Comment number 93.

    Not a "wise" move.

    It is not Kev's fault that the club doesn't achieve, he is a good manager who is more than capable of managing the team and transfers.
    Newcastle must learn that funds used to pay off managers are not available to bring talented players to the club. The top clubs have stable management... Arsenal, Man Utd etc...

    Maybe this concept hasn't arrived in the North East yet.

  • Comment number 94.

    Great article. One written with knowledge and a basic understanding of the business of football. Shame though its always Newcastle United in this situation. Shame its the Messiah whos fallen foul of rich boys playing Championship Manager - but with real Clubs (Simon Jordon is the worst - I know, Ive worked at Palace). The sooner that these guys invest and leave the running to others who know, the better. Not only for Newcastle, but other clubs and the game of football in general.

    Who is going to be stupid enough to take on the role at NUFC now? Ashley out!

  • Comment number 95.

    "The newcastle fans need to face some harsh realities too, there have to be bad times in order to get things right, the squad needs an overhaul and thats not going to happen quickly!"

    We've had nothing BUT bad times!!!!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    In reply to "Pat-toon"-


    Not Now, Not Ever! He wont be the Messiah and will probably leave you in even more of a mess than you are now!

  • Comment number 98.

    This might be the ONLY time Shearer will step into the job at Newcastle as he will have a Wise ...... head in the background and an owner who thinks the MODERN standard business model will work !! when he fails from lack of experience, he will have a way out !!??

    I for one feel very sorry for the Newcastle faithful and hope that they can get better value for their legendary support.

    In truth , I can't think of anyone who is a
    ' real ' football manager accepting this poison chalice. ( unless he is looking for a big pay - out ! )

  • Comment number 99.

    man u fan in peace.

    gutted for the toon army-amazing fans! deserve better, as does kevin keegan!

    next manager? not shearer-he might dither for a bit, but he'll never take it!

    best of luck, guys-i think you're gonna need it!

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm a lifelong Liverpool fan and have some idea what Newcastle fans must be going through right now.

    How a club, with the fanbase Newcastle have, has been in such termoil for so long is beyond me. Hate to say it but they are becoming a joke!

    Ashley is supposed to be a billionaire bringing stability and great players to the club. All he has done is buy mediocre players or trouble makers.

    He should sell up and let someone who knows what he's doing take charge. He's a disgrace and should been ashamed of himself and whichever idiots (Wise) he has advising him.

    What a shambles....


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