Kevin Keegan says that it is ‘quite easy’ to breathe life back into a club like Newcastle when they have fallen on hard times, with the size of the fanbase the key factor.

The former Newcastle boss says that even he though was surprised when he took the club from the brink of the old Third Division to finishing third in the Premier League in only two seasons.

Keegan concedes that it is now a lot more difficult to do what he did in the 90s, describing it as ‘almost impossible’ for a club like Newcastle to finish top four.

The problem of course in recent years is that far from trying to reach the top four, the perception of most Newcastle fans is that Mike Ashley was simply interested in trying to survive in the Premier League and spending as little as possible to do that.

The collective hope now is that with this summer’s spending, it is a sign of more ambitious times ahead.

Supporters only want the club to try to be the very best it can be and with every club now spending serious money thanks to the ever increasing TV deals, it would have been almost certain disaster this season if Ashley hadn’t allowed the money to be spent.

Appearing alongside John Carver on the Richard Keys and Andy Gray show on beIN Sports, Kevin Keegan:

“I know where he (John Carver) has been. You try to be honest but being a Geordie and around the club for as long as you have, you get into it, you become part of it and can’t divorce yourself from it at times – you are sometimes just a fan.

“You have to be there on the touchline to know what it is really like – the loneliest job in the world.

“Fifty thousand people all think that they can do the job better than you and that’s fine – but with Newcastle United there are other things that come with it.”

That was the easy part:

“They were great times but to be fair to the people that have gone into Newcastle since then, that was the easy part.

“Now to get into the top four, which is what the expectation is as they have been there before, it is almost impossible for clubs like Newcastle, Swansea, Sunderland, Tottenham and almost Liverpool – they’re finding it hard to get back into that Champions League comfort zone.”

Now going to be tough:

“It was easier back then, we took over at the bottom of the Second Division and it looked like they were going down.

“It is quite easy to pick up a club like Newcastle with the fanbase and get it going again but it went further than we thought it would, we didn’t think we would go up and do so well in the first season finishing in the top three and then second (after finishing sixth in between).

“That is now going to be tough for them and for any other side.”