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Is Ashley Willing To Learn From Keegan?

8 years ago
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Kevin Keegan’s 5 Year Plan.

Derek Llambias reckons he has a 5 year plan – a strict progression of events which will allow the club to grow and maximise its potential. Of course this is often the subject of ridicule, but the thing is, I reckon Kevin Keegan had the same idea.

When he took over in January 1992, we were heading for relegation from what is now the Championship. In just 5 years he transformed us into arguably the best and at least the most entertaining side in the country.

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How? Well apart from his exceptional motivational skills, Newcastle’s success under him was simply a result of his transfer policy. The key to it is thus:

‘Always buy players better than the ones you already have’.

For me there were three distinct teams of the Keegan era. The side that battled relegation, the swashbuckling entertainers of the 93/94 season and the lads who came so close in 96.

In Keegan’s first few months at the club he made very little difference on results really. They picked up just enough to get us out of the proverbial but no more. Then he started buying players – and after winning our first 11 on the trot we won promotion in style because we’d improved our team.

By the following season we’d strengthened further – in particular up front – replacing Kelly and Quinn with Cole and Beardsley – which saw us take the Premier League by storm and finish third.

The latter two were eventually replaced by Shearer and Ferdinand. Sellars was replaced by Gillespie. Killer Kilcline by Albert. Keegan was ruthless but very good at keeping players onside – there was rarely any animosity from players at the club. Season on season we improved.

But Keegan was never content just to stagnate – for him, even coming second wasn’t enough – so we signed the best player in the world. Who knows; if we’d have won the league/if he’d stayed but the key point here is that Newcastle United had a far better side when Keegan left than when he turned up – and were probably more profitable too…

Can our current regime learn from this? Yes.

Had we just went out and got the players we wanted/needed we could have been challenging for the top 4 this season.

The signing of Debuchy means we’ve finally replaced the bog standard Danny Simpson with a full back of genuine quality.

We now need to bring in players who can replace Williamson and Jonas and we really need to bring in someone better than Demba Ba.  You never know, with a bit of ambition in the summer who knows where we’ll end up?

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