Some stunning stuff from Kevin Keegan ahead of the launch of his new autobiography on 4 October.
The serialisation of his book in The Times is certainly whetting the appetite and now in this latest interview, we get more insight from KK on Newcastle United.
Speaking to the Guardian, Keegan teases that he might still have one last go in management left inside of him, if the right opportunity with financial backing came along to have a proper go.
Which obviously rules out Newcastle United under Mike Ashley…
The journalist says that he ‘felt sickened’ when reading about the culture of the club (NUFC) under Mike Ashley and Keegan agrees, saying the owner has made them ‘the worst of the worst’ but aren’t representative of clubs these days generally.
Kevin Keegan declaring ‘They (Newcastle under Ashley) are a real one-off. I don’t know of a club that has been run as badly or with such disregard for people.’
Mike Ashley previously referred to KK as the ‘most honest man in football’ but when asked if he would accept such a compliment from the NUFC owner he replies: ‘No, I’m not going to take a compliment from Mike Ashley.’
As has been hinted at before, the reason that Kevin Keegan left Newcastle United back in 1997, was indeed greed. The greed of John Hall and Freddy Shepherd to get as much money for themselves as possible when the club was floated. Which was then of course followed later by even bigger payout for the pair when they handed control to Mike Ashley
A few extracts from Kevin Keegan interviewed in The Guardian:
I tell him I felt sickened when I read about the culture at the club (under Mike Ashley).
Yes, Keegan says, but Ashley’s Newcastle are not representative of modern football; they are the worst of the worst.
“They are a real one-off. I don’t know of a club that has been run as badly or with such disregard for people.”
Ironically, Ashley called Keegan “the most honest man in football”. Does he accept that compliment? He smiles. “No, I’m not going to take a compliment from Mike Ashley.”
Why he walked away from Newcastle in 1997:
He talks about the time that Hall, then chairman of Newcastle, approached him to manage the club the first time. “He said the two people talking to each other right now can save Newcastle United – you’ve got the passion, I’ve got the money.”
And he admits it was the same passion that led him to quit when Hall put the club on the stock market. “It was this greed to get every penny they could from the float. This guy from the City, Mark Corbidge, was basically running the club, and he asked me to sign a 10-year contract now or leave. I just walked out. I walked back home and said to [his wife] Jean: ‘That’s it!’ She said: ‘What are we going to do?’ I said: ‘We’re going to America NOW!’”
Never been sacked:
I mention he has never been sacked as a manager. Keegan drums his fingers on the table. “I would have been sacked as England manager after the Germany game. I’d already been told by the FA that results had to improve. So I just made it easy for them. But yeah, I walked away from a lot of money if that’s what you’re saying.”
One more go at management?:
In his book, he points out that Winston Churchill was 76 when he began his second term as prime minister. Could Keegan be tempted back for one final stint in management? “I have had opportunities, that’s for sure. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but when you say that you’ve got to be careful … because if someone came in like Sir John Hall did and said, ‘You’ve got the passion, I’ve got the money’, you think, ‘Wow, we could do something there’.” He is juggling the possibilities in his head. “I’m 67, almost 68,” he says, apparently writing himself off. But a second later there’s a glint in his eye. “I wouldn’t be the oldest manager!”