I have booked up to see Kevin Keegan on the 4th October, he is appearing at a venue in Soho to do a talk-in and publicise his new book, which comes out that day. It promises to be a cracker.

When I was 10 years old my dad came into the house one day with a present.

Usually when I heard the words drift up the stairs “come down, I’ve got something for you,” I was usually greeted by a Greggs pasty on the kitchen table, or a bottle of lucozade. On this occasion though a sizeable 3ft bag stood in the kitchen. I took it out and there was a large canvas painting of Kevin Keegan, in his Newcastle shirt, celebrating his first goal for the club.

I have just turned 23 and that canvas painting still hangs above my bed.

Now I know for most readers of The Mag, who are of a certain age, I don’t have to lecture you on the importance of Kevin Keegan (if you don’t then you can YouTube him… ha ha!). Like my Dad, you lived through Keegan’s spell as a player at Newcastle when he dragged the team from the second division back into the top league. You were there as well eight years later when he returned as manager and guided us from the bottom of the second division to be one of the most exciting football teams in the world, all in the space of three or four years.

When Keegan returned as manager for a second time, I was lucky enough to be of an age to remember it. I may have only been 13 or 14 but it is a day I will never forget. The announcement before the game, the walk up to the ground, the excitement inside St James Park. On what was a freezing cold night, it could have been -50 and it wouldn’t have taken away from the heat and electric in the stadium.

I will never a forget a man at the away game against Stoke. After what had been a very very boring 0-0 draw under Fat Sam, he shouted towards Mike Ashley and his cronies who were stood a few rows back in the away end “bring back king Kev” along with a few other expletives about Fat Sam and sh.. football. I always wonder how much that slur had an effect on Ashley. While Keegan could never bring back the days of the 90s, there were some particularly great memories of winning 4-1 away to Tottenham and of course the optimism of drawing away to Man United on the opening day of the season (although he wasn’t to be there only a few weeks later). When Keegan returned, it wasn’t so much the hope that he was going to take us back to the top of the league, but the hope that the he would give you some hope.

With Kevin Keegan in charge, you were guaranteed that he was going to give it his best to make sure you went home happy.

We all know the circumstances in which he left following the Wise/Milner/Xisco/Jimenez debacle. When Keegan left the first time he told us “I have taken the club as far as I can” – he may have felt that was true at the time, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. This is because although Keegan may never have won us the cup, or the league, but with Keegan in charge, the sky was the limit for Newcastle United. He instilled a belief and hope in a football club which meant that the ambition knew no limits.

What Keegan may have meant with that comment was that he had taken this group of players as far as he could, perhaps a similar situation to one in which Rafa Benitez finds himself with this group of players today.

I have no doubt some will say to an article like this “you have to let memories stay as memories… or move on” but that is the beauty of Kevin Keegan. It is not that he serves as a reminder that we maybe one day have the false hope of competing with Manchester United at the top of the league and play in the Champions League. Instead, he serves as a memory that Newcastle might once again be a club to be proud of, a club with ambition, where the sky is the limit, regardless of what league we are in. Keegan showed us all that it is ok to dream.

The dismissal and subsequent treatment of Kevin Keegan is for me, Mike Ashley’s greatest crime during his tenure of Newcastle United.

The point is, that it still bothers me that many of my generation don’t seem to appreciate Kevin Keegan for what he done. To me, he shouldn’t be seen as ‘just’ the manager who guided Newcastle United to the top of the Premier League playing the best style of football in the country for a few years. He should be seen as the man who saved Newcastle United football club, not once, but twice.

If there should be a statue of one man at SJP it should be Kevin Keegan. It is perhaps the greatest example of everything that is wrong with the club under Mike Ashley that there is no recognition of Kevin Keegan at, or even within the vicinity of St James Park. He may not have been our greatest ever player, and he may never feature in many people’s greatest ever Newcastle eleven, but he was the greatest signing Newcastle United ever made.

If Keegan wasn’t signed as a player for those two years, then he would never have returned to the club as manager and Newcastle would not have been the club it became. There would be no 52,000 seater stadium, no 5-0 against Man United, no Alan Shearer, no Bobby Robson and so on.

The word legend gets thrown about quite a lot these days, the likes of Jackie Milburn, Joe Harvey, Bobby Moncur and Alan Shearer may well be Newcastle legends, but I don’t think any of them can come close to Kevin Keegan.

He may never return to Newcastle for a fourth time, although he should, at least in some role – as a Director of Football maybe. However, when the day comes that Mike Ashley does eventually leave Newcastle United, the first guest on the list for the next home should be one Kevin Keegan.

A person who forgets the past is destined to repeat its mistakes.

If you don’t think that Kevin Keegan is the most important figure in the history of Newcastle United, then you simply don’t know enough about Newcastle United.

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  • Martin Rooney

    Blokes a lying mercenary, took them as far as i could, didn’t get my one million bonus, Douglas hall wanted to sell our best players, which is it Kev? Pot dried up and you scarpered bottling waster.
    P.S. I’d take his losing football over Rafa’s.

    • Danimal

      Pr1ck.

      • Jezza

        Just ignore the sad pathetic attention seeking troll. He’s still bitter over King Kev’s spat with Taggart in 96.

        • Martin Rooney

          What on Earth taggert??? Just cos he had soccer circus in Glasgow how can you link taggert to Keegan?
          His attacking football in 96 was top notch but he bottled it after. That stuffing of man u the most dominating football performance of one top team against smother of all time, those memories will never dampen but we shouldn’t mistake for good because of it.
          There are no gods

          • Kev Newcastle England

            True old school Toon fans will be at the Sage to see Keegans talk in in a couple of weeks something Im looking forward to TEN times as much as any current Newcastle game.

          • Cockneytrev

            Yep, couldn’t agree more,,,

          • Jarramag

            You’re not a mag because KK built Nufc and have us hope.You are a low life tsser.

          • Ram Kishore

            Hall and Shepherd helped that cause too.. if they hadn’t brought Keegan and supported him..Things wouldn’t have been great and the club wouldn’t have a such a big stadium.. everyone much be given their fair share of appreciation and credit ig.

          • Martin Rooney

            KK built nufc? Newcastle United was founded in 1892, won six fa cups and four top division championships and crowds of nearly 70,000 from the 20’s and 30’s all off which happened before KK ever stood on the SJP turf

        • Danimal

          Brilliant, he didn’t even understand the Taggart comment.

          • Martin Rooney

            Of course i did, I’m a Lee brother of course

      • Martin Rooney

        Can explain why these are his words all available for you to see on video or read in his own book.
        He left the northeast the day his contracts were up didn’t move here at all for the third spell and only comes up for the signed shirt photo talk ins?

        • Toon Arnie

          Weirdo

          • Martin Rooney

            Probably

        • Billmag

          You can quote bits a pieces but you and your kind will never besmirch the name of K.Keagan, his team our team was a dream the likes of which I will never see again and niether will Sky Sports because NUFC was the reason there was a massive increase in people recieving there product through out the country.

          • Martin Rooney

            I don’t want to besmirch him i loved watching the football he managed as much as anyone else however ibfeel it’s all an awful lot over the top. He’s a bloke just like everyone else he got chances like no one else ever had.
            And he’s l very good at getting the fans whipped up.
            He’s not a god just a bloke

        • Ram Kishore

          Sometime ago i read in the chronicle that he moved to Newcastle the third time he came back to the club and bought a house in the summer and he moved his wife and then stayed at the hotel.for the first few months in 2008. After leaving the club he still was finding it difficult to sell his house in Newcastle.. i am just pointing out the mistake u made

    • Alex

      Absolutely incredible! 😔

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Looking at his previous posts he’s obsessed with bashing Benitez, proper weirdo

        • Martin Rooney

          Benitez football, Keegan football,
          Does that not justify my point of view? Peeved that he chickened out after coming so close?
          Leaving us with dross football as he left for fulham & man city etc etc a brief respite during Bobby’s tenure, but we’ve had a lot of dross, since he went

          Had he stayed where would we be now? Probably not owned by Ashley for one.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            What are you on about you utter mong?

    • Cockneytrev

      Blocked

      • Martin Rooney

        I’m glad

        • Danimal

          You’re definitely something, not sure it’s glad.

        • Kev Newcastle England

          W anker

    • Toon Arnie

      Losing football ? Oh dear.

      • Martin Rooney

        That was tongue in cheek

        • BanJones

          Tongue up asre more like. Is that nice Mike?

          • Martin Rooney

            Bit of a perverted comment don’t you think on reflection is that really what you want kids reading on a football website?
            Of course with a hidden name and agenda you probably a weirdo with a warped mind.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Pot kettle springs to mind, bet you any money you’ve been on dark justice you menace

    • Geordiegiants

      Your a fcukinbellend son! Just proved all those doubted correct with that Shyte.

      • Martin Rooney

        I thank you, those are Kev’s words though!
        Have you read his book until then i thought like most of those on here then going back watching videos and other comments
        in interviews his reasoning for his leaving changes like the wind, I’m able to understand anyone of single one of them, but he changed the reasons so wildly that it gives suspicion.
        The love so wildly professed died so quickly back in 97 that he was back in football just 8 months later.

    • Ram Kishore

      I am only 25 but I do know that few stuff u r saying pretty much seems unwarranted..Do u mean that he lied about what happened with Ashely too? Just a genuine doubt

      • SuperDesHamilton

        He’s a troll ram. Just ignore the nonce

      • Martin Rooney

        NO I don’t know if he lied about what happened with Ashley what i am pretty convinced of is that Ashley lied.

        • Ram Kishore

          But u just said he lied pal?

          • Martin Rooney

            Sorry for the lack of clarity Ram, I think it was mainly down to the lack of any payment issue at the time of the flotation, I got that impression from what he wrote in his book.
            So that is why I think he has lied about his reasons for leaving.
            I also think nothing is as clear as day in football generallyand there are lots of factors which will have influenced the goings on at SJP. It’s very apparent that very few people within football are in it for the ‘community club’ and will do anything it takes to get more for themselves that includes Hall, Shepherd Keegan, Saylor, Definitely Ashley, Shearer, but not Robson, and or Rob Lee.
            I also remember a photograph on the back page of The Journal a day after the Stoke game for his third coming, he had a look of ‘I don’t want to be here’.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Clarko you’d twist on 21 you sad bitter man. Bet you any money in the world you’re banned from being anywhere near schools.

      • Martin Rooney

        Bet you all your money you wouldn’t stick your real name to that comment?

        • SuperDesHamilton

          And why do you think that

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Is it because you’re a 👮🏻‍♂️👮🏻‍♂️👮🏻‍♂️🚨🚔

          • Martin Rooney

            I don’t know what box box man Box Box Man etc etc……. means it seems a churlish response, which is no surprise, hence the reasoning your not willing to put your real name to your comments on this site.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            What you gonna do if put my name to it anyway? Absolutely nothing you little grass

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Thought as much

  • Jezza

    Newcastle United’s debt to Kevin Keegan must never be underestimated. When he came as manager in 1992 the club was headed for both the third division and financial ruin. He turned us around both on and off the pitch. In two short years he took us from the very brink of the third division to third place finish in the Premiership. I can tell you that no newly promoted club will ever again finish in the top three of the Premiership in their first season like we did in 1993/94. Within another two years we had come agonisingly close to winning the Premiership title and had broken the world transfer record. Without Keegan all of this would have been nothing but the most outlandish fantasy for Newcastle fans.
    Keegan changed the way we saw ourselves as a club both on and off the pitch. After years of resignation to the fact that we were a club going nowhere, a club that with no kind of ambition and a club that was never going to be worthy of its great support we began to believe again. Suddenly anything was possible. His ambition for the club knew no bounds. He put NUFC back on the map and brought us respect from the rest of the football world. We went from being a national laughing stock to “The Entertainers” or “Everybody’s second favourite team”. We had possibly the best team in the country and definitely the most exciting.
    I dread to think where this club would be now if Kevin Keegan had not come to rescue us in 1992. It’s very possible we would never have even played Premiership football. We would probably be languishing in the third or fourth division with St James’s Park little changed from the dilapidated state it was in at the beginning of the 90’s. There has never been another person in the history of Newcastle United who has had such a positive impact on our club.

    • Cockneytrev

      Here Here,,,
      Anybody who slags off keegan is not a Newcastle supporter,,
      He brought us the best football I’ve seen in my lifetime at St James,,, we become a world brand,,, even Hollywood came to make a film at our stadium,, Christ , the Krankies wouldn’t come to make one now,,

      • Jezza

        In my 45 odd years supporting NUFC all my best and happiest memories involve Kevin Keegan with the 1983/84 promotion season possibly even eclipsing the mid 90’s Premiership years.

        • Cockneytrev

          I’ve been going for over 50 years and he brought me my happiest times, I just wish he had managed to get us over the line, I’d like to have seen us win a domestic trophy in my lifetime,, I’m coming to the conclusion this won’t happen now,,,,

        • Squintytoonarmy

          I was at Huddersfield away 2-2 draw that all but sealed promotion. Filled three sides of the ground – likewise Spurs away in the cup in 87. Magical days that at the moment we are miles away from

          • Jezza

            Incredible memories. In fact the Huddersfield game sealed absolute confirmation of promotion. We didn’t exactly fill three sides at Spurs but we packed out one end and they had to clear space along part of one side to accommodate the over spill of Newcastle fans.

          • Squintytoonarmy

            Yep – I ended up jumping the fence and we ended up directly below The Shelf – got pelted with coins all game.

      • Sickandtired

        Strike partners? Don’t F’n tempt fate!

    • Wezza

      Well said mate.

    • Sickandtired

      And this from a man who had been out of football for 8 years after playing his last game and retiring to the sun. Let’s not forget or belittle that fact either.
      He gave us in bucket loads that which City and Liverpool are now enjoying – attacking entertaining flair football – and he did it 25 years ago. He was slated by pundits and pilloried by many, including many of our support, for his style of play.
      Many of those same pundits are still around, but we never, ever hear them now say City etc will never win anything that way.
      KK was unique. He is unique. He is part of the fabric of this club’s history and folklore, and another example of how the odious owner will never ever respect him, us, or the club.

    • Geordiegiants

      Sums it up nicely Jezza.

    • Lewis SG

      I’ve just started watching football and watching Newcastle was a joy during those years. Even though it ended up trophy-less, it was hugely satisfying. The attacking plays were described in the media as gung-ho, kamikaze-style.

      When Rafa leaves the club at the end of his contract, I would hope that Wenger could take over and transform the club from bottom all the way to the top as he did with Arsenal. Football should be entertaining, but at this point of time, it is just terrible to watch.

      • Loyal

        😂Wenger, ya pie in the sky numpty.

    • Westdentoon

      Would you swap a trophy for all those magical years under him? I wouldn’t, not a chance.
      Aye as we are so often reminded we have won nowt for generations, but those years under Keegan were so special and put our club firmly on the worldwide map in the modern game & I feel so lucky to have been on the rollercoaster.
      Let’s just hope another man doesn’t wipe us off that map completely eh!

      • Benji

        wouldn’t trade it for a trophy?! You’re joking right?..No one remembers who came in second

        • Westdentoon

          I remember & so does pretty much every football fan of a certain age..

          Ok. So ill put it another way then. Would you be happy with 11 years of Mike Ashley if we had won 1 FA cup under him?

          For me I stand by what I say, it’s my opinion only. I remember the buzz going to the match every week, signing top drawer players from all around Europe, banging goals in for fun, the atmosphere in the ground and coming away with a smile on my face for days on end feeling completely ‘entertained’. I remember it like it was yesterday.
          No one was more disappointed than me that we didn’t have a trophy to cap it all off & ‘that season’ we let the title slip still gives me nightmares now, however like I say if we won an FA cup this season, I would swap it in a heartbeat for the Keegan years!

          FFS who remembers who won the FA cup a few years ago?

          We will never see a Newcastle team play with such confidence and flair again in my lifetime.

    • Mike

      Hear hear….

    • Peter

      Yes, the equivalent now of what Keegan achieved from February 1992 to May 1994 would be Bolton getting promoted this season and finishing third in the Premier League next season.

      What Keegan achieved was remarkable….

    • Squintytoonarmy

      Even Ghostrider or his muppets could argue with that sypnosis. KK not just galvanised the club but the city – the Toon Army jib came from this era.Not saying Rafa could come anywhere near this but with proper backing could at least give us hope and pride

  • 1957

    In the end it was problems behind the scenes as Sir Les described it (aka the greed of Hall and Shepherd) that saw him leave the first time as manager. The flotation meant a change in the financial management of the club (shareholders dividends to be paid) and as a result funding for transfers was going to be very restricted at first, thus interfering with how he saw he could manage the club.

    Keegan wouldn’t commit to an extended contract before the flotation on those terms so there was a parting of the ways… I wonder what Benitez would have done.

    • David Richard McMeekan

      Monkseaton is now banned from this site but wishes The Falcons all the best for the season

  • Leicester Mag

    I’d been going to most games since 1978, but never forget in 1982 my father bought 2 season tickets for the old West Stand. A week later we signed the England captain Kevin Keegan. That first game verses QPR was incredible the crowd at the Old Gallowate end could only be described as a sea. Two magic years followed including a trial at the Benton ground meeting the man himself!
    Come round to 1992 a PhD student at Durham I’m on trip round S and N Brewery when while there a press conference is called Keegan is back and by a fluke I’m there! Best brewery trip ever. Although in a beer haze later that day bought a Hawiian shirt it was kin awful. Thats another story! To cap it all Newcastle then train at Durham University Maiden Castle where every week with Newcastle shirt on I play 5 a side with hundreds of fans coming to watch Newcastle train. One even asked for my autograph🤣🤣.

    Then the football, makes me nearly cry to think about it. On another planet to now.

    Don’t ever criticize Keegan he made us special and gave me and thousands of 45-55 yr old blokes memories that never fade.

  • Kenny

    A remarkable player for NUFC & an even more remarkable manager.
    He revitalised the club only to see his legacy wasted by fools.
    Great doesn’t even begin to describe Kevin Keegan.