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John Bereford compares and contrasts Kevin Keegan and Chris Wilder

2 years ago

Kevin Keegan is the best manager most Newcastle United fans have experienced.

Rafa Benitez and Sir Bobby Robson experienced great success elsewhere.

However, purely on what was achieved at Newcastle United, Kevin Keegan is way out in front.

In February 1992 he took over a team on the verge of dropping into the third tier and within 27 months Newcastle United finished third in the Premier League.

It remains the best ever team to be promoted, that 1993/94 season when Kevin Keegan completely turned around NUFC.

Two seasons later of course, he came within a whisker of the Premier League title.

One of his many inspirational buys at a bargain price was John Beresford.

Born and bred a Sheffield United fan, Beresford gave great service to Newcastle United under Kevin Keegan.

Chris Wilder is another manager who has totally turned around a team, taking the club John Bereford supports from League One to the Premier League in three years.

What is more, he looks to have every chance of keeping them there, as Sheffield United are looking set to hold their own, based on what we have seen so far.

They have beaten Palace and Everton, drawn with Bournemouth, Chelsea and Watford, plus only a terrible goalkeeping error prevented them being the first team to take points off Liverpool this season.

John Beresford sees a lot of similarities between Kevin Keegan and Chris Wilder.

One thing I can’t agree with though is when Beresford says: ‘If there is a difference between the two, it is the experience that Chris has now got to fall back on. Kevin didn’t have that when it started to go wrong for him and he could not adapt.’

Yes Chris Wilder has had a number of years more in management before reaching the Premier League but I just don’t accept it with reference to Kevin Keegan.

Competing to actually win the Premier League is far far different to managing in the lower divisions.

Keegan repeatedly showed he was adapting as he took so many brave decisions.

On promotion in 1993, he sold the players who had been the top scorers in each of those last three seasons (Peacock, Quinn and Kelly).

Then he took an even bigger and braver step when selling Andy Cole midway through 1994/95 because he had an even bigger and better plan, to sign the likes of Ferdinand and Ginola, who along with Gillespie who’d been part of the Cole deal, almost took Newcastle to the title.

Newcastle didn’t collapse that season, they lost a bit of form and luck turned against them, but Man Utd showed top form and Newcastle didn’t have the depth of squad that their rivals had.

John Beresford talking to Sky Sports:

“The big thing about him (Chris Wilder) is that camaraderie between the players.

“I was lucky enough to play under Kevin Keegan and he was a brilliant man manager.

“I think Chris is similar.

“If there is a difference between the two, it is the experience that Chris has now got to fall back on.

“Kevin didn’t have that when it started to go wrong for him and he could not adapt.

“People said they were favourites to go down but I didn’t see that at all.

“I think they will surprise a lot of teams this season.

“They have a coach who is always thinking about how he will handle different situations. He has served a long apprenticeship.

“The only problem Sheffield United are going to have in the future is keeping hold of him.

“It just goes to show what you can do if you get the chance because what he has done has been nothing short of phenomenal.”


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