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Carragher questions greatness of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle team

7 years ago

Jamie Carragher has revealed that he gets really annoyed at people suggesting the Newcastle United team that Kevin Keegan built was ‘great’.

The pundit also brought the Leeds team of the late nineties into the equation, stating that they also might have played decent attacking football but can you describe either team as ‘great’.

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Writing in the Mail Carragher said:

“If I am honest, it annoys me, especially when I hear stories even now of how great Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle team of 1995-96 were or how thrilling the Leeds team were that reached the Champions League semi-final in 2000.

“Yes, they both played fast, exciting football but what did they win? Nothing. During my career, I won 10 major honours but none of the Liverpool teams I played for is particularly remembered for being a top side.”

A bit like the argument about what criteria equals being a ‘big’ club, the question is whether a team/club needs to win silverware before it is described as ‘great’.

When it comes to trophy success then obviously the great Newcastle sides have been the likes of the Edwardian side and then the Cup kings of the 1950s, when the FA Cup took precedence over the League because by then it was THE match of the year, largely because it was televised.

I might be biased but I don’t see the Leeds side of the late 1990s having any resemblance in terms of excitement and style of football that we saw under Kevin Keegan.

For me what happened under Keegan can be described as ‘great’ for two reasons.

Firstly, the style of football did take people’s breath away and it became a bit of a lazy comment at the time about Newcastle being every other fan’s second team, but it was true that by far United under KK were the most exciting to watch in the Premier League.

John Carver might talk about playing two strikers and two wingers in recent matches, which is patently not the case. However, under Keegan a front four of Ginola, Bearsdley, Ferdinand and Gillespie in 1995/96 was exhilarating, likewise seeing Ginola, Beardsley, Ferdinand and Shearer beating Man Utd 5-0 was unbeatable in terms of entertainment – for me it was the ‘greatest’ performance in Premier League history.

Secondly, to see the greatness in Keegan’s achievements, you have to look at his starting point and where he took Newcastle to.

First season he saved Newcastle from the third tier of English football, next season United walked the Championship, then finishes of 3rd, 6th, 2nd and 2nd in the Premier League.

Yes we didn’t see silverware but it was a great ride we all went on, for me I wouldn’t swap it for the world.


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