Kevin Keegan is doing a magnificent job.
The Newcastle United managerial and playing legend exposing just how disgusting and clueless the Mike Ashley ownership of the club really is.
Many of the stories we might have heard before, or a version of them, or at least part of each revelation.
However, when day after day they are now been laid out in front of us, from Kevin Keegan himself, word for word. They take on a real power.
Mike Ashley and the shameless lapdogs that he surrounds himself with, must be hating it.
It is one thing our north east outpost knowing pretty much most of the nonsense that has gone on – but when the likes of The Times are publishing extracts from Keegan’s upcoming autobiography (4 October) day after day – plus all the other national papers greedily lapping it all up. Mike Ashley will not like it at all, his regime at NUFC exposed for exactly what it is.
Another classic episode as now been reported by Ian Herbert in The Mail.
Extra details on that moment when Mike Ashley’s people had told Kevin Keegan that they had Bastian Schweinsteiger lined up to buy, if KK agreed to sell James Milner (bear in mind Milner was sold for around £12m-£14m).
The depths of how unfit for purpose and clueless Ashley’s people were, is summed up by how little they thought of Kevin Keegan. Not just how disrespectful they were to Keegan, but also, how stupid they were in not understanding how switched on and connected he was.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was a massive star by this point, had just won his fourth Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich, had been part of the German team at the 2006 World Cup and had just finished runners-up in the 2008 Euros.
Kevin Keegan got straight on the phone to Bayern’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, to check that what he’d been told was true, about Newcastle having the Schweinsteiger transfer sorted.
Instead, Rummenigge told him that Jimenez had offered just over £3m for the German superstar midfielder, Rummenigge telling his old friend ‘We killed ourselves laughing.’
Bear in mind three years earlier Newcastle had paid over £16m for a crocked Michael Owen and indeed £10m two years earlier for Obafemi Martins, Mike Ashley and his people were of course taking Kevin Keegan and the Newcastle fans for fools.
Just think of all those times in the last decade when we have been told that Newcastle haven’t managed to get this and that signing over the line. If you aren’t prepared to pay the going rate on transfer fee and wages, then you are never going to stand any chance of signing somebody. Which is why we find NUFC in such a mess today.
There will still be some Newcastle fans out there who will still blindly believe, mainly because they want to, that Newcastle United under Mike Ashley are really just the same as any other Premier League club.
That hidden away we have top professional people pulling the strings on every aspect, including transfers, and that despite everything else fans hear, that somewhere somehow Mike Ashley does have an interest in the club/team succeeding, rather than basic survival at the lowest possible cost.
However, surely this group of ‘believers’ must be feeling pretty lonely now, their numbers dwindling to all but nothing.
Just read these other classics below, as Kevin Keegan relates what Dennis Wise’s mate Tony Jimenez told him, Jimenez who was Ashley’s appointed transfer expert at the time.
Ian Herbert writing in The Mail:
‘There is episode of how Keegan, having been promised by Jimenez that Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger would be signed as a replacement for James Milner that summer, called the German club’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to be sure that an offer had actually been made.
It tuned out Jimenez had offered €5million (£3.4m in 2008) for the then 23-year-old and Keegan relates his cringe-inducing phone conversation with Rummenigge from a London hotel room. ‘Five million euros, Kevin! We killed ourselves laughing.’
Keegan describes how he left the German ‘chuckling at the other end of the line and rang off.’
Jimenez talked about going for Joleon Lescott, then an England international. Except he kept calling him ‘Julian.’
He talked about bringing in South American players who ‘nobody else knew about’ and turning them into multi-million pound assets.
Keegan, as aware as anyone in football about the work-permit problems if these player had not featured in internationals, asked in one early meeting how they were going to get such individuals in. ‘We’ll fly them in, of course,’ said Jimenez.’