Kevin Keegan won his case for constructive dismissal against Mike Ashley, the tribunal’s findings leaving nobody in any doubt as to who was in the wrong.
Ashley and his minions, Derek Llambias and Dennis Wise, were slaughtered when the judgement was announced, as it became clear just how badly Keegan and the Newcastle fans had been lied to.
The heart of the case was that when taking the job, Kevin Keegan had been assured that he had control of and the final say on transfers in and out.
Mike Ashley though didn’t keep to that promise, using Llambias and Dennis Wise to undermine Keegan and eventually force him out of the club as he (KK) refused to work under the conditions that the likes of Kinnear, McClaren and Pardew would end up doing so.
Matters reached a head for Kevin Keegan in the final days of the summer transfer window in 2008.
Now we have new info on what actually happened in those final dramatic few days.
It has been well established already that Kevin Keegan had a number of players he’d personally identified and wanted to bring in.
It was widely reported in the media that there were four players and Keegan felt if they were brought in they could transform Newcastle’s fortunes.
One name that was mentioned at the time and repeatedly since, was Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Now however, it has emerged that the German midfielder wasn’t somebody Keegan had personally identified, instead the Bayern Munich star was somebody the Newcastle Manager was told he could get if he agreed to sell James Milner.
Quotes have circulated widely this morning from Terry McDermott, they are from an interview he did with Liverpool podcast ‘5 Times’.
However, the media using the quotes and covering the story have missed what was really the story about this. They have all pretty much concentrated on an angle of laughing at (supposedly) Newcastle thinking they could sign Schweinsteiger as Milner’s replacement for the same amount of money, rather than the £50m that was a lot closer to his real worth.
However, these longer quotes from the McDermott interview below, tell us what was really the story.
Kevin Keegan didn’t want to sell James Milner but was persuaded to by the Newcastle United hierarchy, who obviously told him that they had Schweinsteiger lined up as a certainty IF he went along quietly with James Milner being sold.
They then clearly used the old line (after Milner had been sold) of ‘You’re not going to believe this Kevin but we can’t get Schweinsteiger now, it was actually £50m not £15m….they wanted’.
The rest we all pretty much know, Kevin Keegan kicked off big style as it became clear none of the players he wanted were going to be signed, instead it was made clear to him that he had to be subservient to Derek Llambias and Dennis Wise.
Which ended up with Newcastle being landed instead with the very dodgy looking signing of the useless Xisco for £6m and the loan signing of midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez – which was later admitted to have been a loan deal done purely as a favour to an agent.
We all are loving the relief of having a proper manager like Rafa Benitez at Newcastle who is attempting to dig us and Mike Ashley out of the disastrous state he reduced Newcastle United to BUT I think that deep down we are all still wary of what could happen, once Rafa has returned NUFC to the Premier League and relative rude health.
Terry McDermott speaking to 5 Times podcast:
“He (James Milner) came from Leeds, we bought him…I think it was about four million quid, something like that, for him.
“He was only about 20 then, or 22, or something like that (Milner was actually only 18 when Sir Bobby bought him in 2004).
“When he came into the club we’d heard all about him, what a player he was. I had reservations about him but he grew on me.
“We were actually at the club when we sold him, myself and Kevin Keegan.
“We actually sold him for £15m and the story goes, I’ll tell you, it’s a true story this.
“We didn’t want him to leave but we needed other players in, we’d had a bid of £15m. So we said, we’ll tell you what we’ll do…’If we sell him for £15m how are we going to replace him?’.
“They (Newcastle hierarchy – Ashley/Llambias/Wise) said ‘We’ve already got one’.
“He (Kevin Keegan) said ‘Oh, who?’.
“They said ‘Schweinsteiger’.
“He’s at Man Utd now but years ago he was a superstar and they said we could get him.
“The idea of accepting the bid for Milner, for £15m, which was a lot of money then…but if we are looking to get Schweinsteiger, it’s a no-brainer!.
“After he’d (James Milner) signed for them (Aston Villa), the day after we (Newcastle) are ‘trying’ to sign Schweinsteiger, the answer was absolutely no chance because it will cost you £50m if you want to buy Schweinsteiger.
“So we ended up with no one to replace him.”