Kevin Keegan made a surprise appearance on Tyneside on Monday lunchtime, turning up at St James Park to help celebrate the unveiling of the Alan Shearer statue.

Fans had turned out in force to pay tribute to the legendary number nine and Keegan was quick to pay tribute to them, saying ‘They might not like certain things at certain times but…they will always be there’.

As for the star of the show, Kevin Keegan said that Alan Shearer deserved this accolade, along with all the others down the years for his dedication to Newcastle United, pointing out ‘he probably gave up quite a few trophies he could have had’.

As for Mike Ashley, the fact that he has so badly treated and alienated the two greatest living Newcastle United icons tells its own story.

The undermining of his position by Ashley and Dennis Wise and eventual forcing out of the club, is a telling reminder of just how ridiculous the running of NUFC has been under this owner.

Kevin Keegan’s association with Newcastle United now goes back 34 years and when he talks about NUFC not acting like a big club sometimes, we can be sure that Mike Ashley is at the forefront of his mind.

The very fact that yesterday’s unveiling was carried out at a time when the club somehow finds itself in the second tier for the second time within seven years, is proof of the total mismanagement.

Keegan stated that although Newcastle are in the Championship they will be in the Premier League next season. Rafa Benitez gave fans the first hope in years that United are at last going to act like a ‘big club’ under Mike Ashley – let’s hope he doesn’t manage to mess this one up.

Kevin Keegan

“Newcastle should be in the Premier League, they are not in there at the moment but they will be this time next year.

“Newcastle United is a big club, it just sometimes doesn’t act like one.

“That has happened with a lot of clubs, not just Newcastle – you could say the same about loads of clubs.

“I don’t have anything to do with inside there now – but you will never lose what these people feel about this football club.

“They might not like certain things at certain times but they’ll still be there, they will always be there.

“They will always surprise you like they did when Alan signed, when 15,000 people turned up.

“Most times when you get a statue put up to you, you’re dead, so that’s a big bonus for Alan that he’s actually been able to unveil his own statue – not many people do get that privilege.

“He deserves that, he came to this club when he could have gone to Manchester United – he wanted to play for this club.

“A  fitting tribute to a great guy who wanted to play for this club, despite the fact that he probably gave up quite a few trophies he could have had.”