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Opinion

The questions Tony Jimenez should have been asked when slaughtering Kevin Keegan

6 months ago
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Kevin Keegan proved himself to be a brilliant manager at Newcastle United.

Revolutionising both team and club in the five years he was at St James Park in the 90s.

A transformation that took a failing club and team with one foot in the third tier, to one that came within a fraction of winning the Premier League and bringing Champions League football to St James Park.

Spending relatively very little money until established in the Premier League, KK’s record reads for the seasons he was at NUFC:

Saved from relegation to third tier, champions of the second tier, third in Premier League, then sixth, second and second.

At both Manchester City and Fulham he then also did an excellent, if less stellar, job.

On the other hand, people’s reaction on hearing of Tony Jimenez would be ‘who’?

Somebody with no track record at all in the top level of English football.

A man who was a participant in one of the most disgraceful periods in Newcastle United’s history.

When reminded of exactly who he is, people would just shake their heads that any reputable media would give him such a platform as The Times did today. If you’re not sure, just go away and Google exactly what Tony Jimenez has been up to in his ‘career’…

However, the problem, to an extent, is that once something is out there in the media these days, such as this Tony Jimenez nonsense, it gets repeated as simply a story/report, indeed as fact by many other newspapers/websites. Indeed, even our own local north east newspapers are guilty of now putting  his quotes up as a ‘news’ story, rather than just something that should be ridiculed.

Matt Hughes at The Times has a shocking record of putting up pro-Mike Ashley stories/reports with regard to Newcastle United (see here).

In his interview today, Tony Jimenez mocks/belittles Kevin Keegan and makes claims about how KK supposedly acted when being interviewed by himself (Jimenez) and Dennis Wise for the job as Manager at Newcastle.

This is interesting…because Kevin Keegan got the Newcastle job (under Ashley) on the 16 January 2008, yet Dennis Wise and Tony Jimenez weren’t announced (by Mike Ashley/NUFC) as joining the club until 29 January 2008.

So why wasn’t Matt Hughes asking Jimenez why exactly he was interviewing Keegan when he wasn’t even employed by Newcastle United???

When the announcement was made, Dennis Wise had the title of Executive Director (Football), Tony Jimenez named as Vice-President (Player Recruitment), as well as their other mate Jeff Vetere as Technical Co-Ordinator.

Matt Hughes’ interview with Tony Jimenez is about as good as David Craig’s embarrassing effort with Mike Ashley on Sky Sports in August 2017.

Also in this Times interview, Tony Jimenez is not challenged at all when he talks about it being as normal as anything, that Newcastle United signed both Gonzalez and Xisco simply as a favour to agents, as part of a sweetener for also arranging the signings of Coloccini and Gutierrez. Jonas and Colo did ok at Newcastle but the club still paid around £20m in transfer fees for the pair, it wasn’t like we got them free because of the Xisco and Gonzalez deals!

It is quite ludicrous to suggest that it was normal for Newcastle to be tied to a deal worth £20m+ (£6m transfer fee and 5 years wages at £3m per season) for Xisco (back in 2008!), simply as a favour.

Tony Jimenez has also then bizarrely claimed that actually, his appointment as this transfer expert guru was actually just a front, because Mike Ashley had supposedly recruited him to sell the club, because he was (in his own head!) this major mover and shaker who could sort out a buyer for NUFC.

The more you hear from and about Tony Jimenez, the more he sounds like the kind of bloke with no mates, who when he goes in the pub everybody suddenly finds they are really interested in something or somebody else, to avoid being nabbed by him and being subjected to his imaginative stories.

When you look at the kind of people that Mike Ashley has been happy to surround himself with, it is a miracle that Newcastle United have had ‘only’ two relegations in the nine Premier League seasons whilst he has owned NUFC.

Matt Hughes talking to Tony Jimenez in The Times:

Jimenez portrays Keegan as a diva-esque figure who signed up to the club’s business plan of targeting young players before making impossible demands to sign household names. He allegedly threatened to resign when he did not get his own way, even walking out during his job interview, which he says was the result of being offered a contract with a 12-month break clause.

“Kevin was told at the interview that this is the job, these are the financial constraints — don’t take it if you don’t want it,” Jimenez says. “Go back to Glasgow and run your Soccer Circus rather than creating a circus in Newcastle, which is what he did. He just said yes to get the job.

“The minute you questioned him he lost the plot,” Jimenez says. “During that window we offered him the players that we were working on when we thought Harry Redknapp was coming as manager — Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Lassana Diarra — and he said none of them were good enough. The other player we were really keen on was Daniel Sturridge. He said he’d had him as a kid at Man City and that he wasn’t good enough for League One.

“He didn’t want Hatem Ben Arfa or Karim Benzema either. We asked Kevin for a list of players for every position, bearing in mind he had £25 million to spend. Our list included Benzema and Ben Arfa who were young players at Lyons, as well as Samir Nasri.

“Kevin took one look and called them all chancers. His list was David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Ronaldinho, Kaka among others. We added their transfer value up and it was £399 million, plus £100 million in wages.”

The final straw for Keegan came when Newcastle signed Xisco and Ignacio González in August 2008, as detailed in his book extracts this week, but Jimenez suspects that he had been looking for a way out for some time and that the sale of James Milner to Aston Villa that month was just as significant.

“He has made a lot out of Xisco and González, but they were part of deals to sign Fabricio Coloccini and Jonás Gutiérrez, who were also players he didn’t want who did well for Newcastle,” Jimenez says. “Sometimes you have to take a player to get the one you really want.

Tony Jimenez:

“Mike wanted me to sell the club on the basis of my relationships in the Middle East, so I came in under the cover story of working in player recruitment.

“If he had played his cards right Mike could have sold Newcastle to Abu Dhabi before they bought Manchester City.”

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