Kevin Keegan left Newcastle United 24 years ago today
Kevin Keegan had always done things his way at Newcastle United.
We had already seen Keegan the player arrive out of the blue on Tyneside in 1982 to breathe new life into a club that was on its knees, two years later and with promotion achieved, Kevin Keegan left St James Park in a helicopter.
It was a decade later and Kevin Keegan was back, the 5 February 1992 and with Newcastle United arguably in an even worse position than when he first arrived 10 years earlier, Special K was called for to save NUFC once again.
The rest is of course history, saving Newcastle United from dropping to the third tier, promotion as champions, then the best ever team to get promotion as the Magpies finished third, before then a sixth position and of course, the ‘so close’ 1995/96 season.
Starting the 1996/97 season with two defeats in the first three games, manager Kevin Keegan and his team then clicked into gear, seven Premier League wins in a row.
After 10 matches Newcastle were on 30 points, looking to have every chance of going one better than the previous season.
However, a poor / indifferent run of four draws, four defeats and only one win in the next nine matches, saw Newcastle United in the doldrums.
Typical of Kevin Keegan though, he pulled it around, hammering Tottenham 7-1 on 28 December 1996.
Then another home match coming up on 1 January 1997 with Leeds United the visitors, Newcastle fans hoping that things were back on track and maybe even a title challenge could be resurrected.
Two goals from Alan Shearer and another from Les Ferdinand, the Newcastle United team seemingly fully firing once again.
This is how the Premier League looked after that 3-0 victory over Leeds on 1 January 1997.
Despite having watched his team hammer ten goals in their last two matches and Newcastle United in fifth and only five points off the very top, for Kevin Keegan it was time say farewell.
On 8 January 1997, Kevin Keegan announced his resignation as manager, KK with this short statement explaining why…
“It was my decision and my decision alone to resign.
“I feel I have taken the club as far as I can and that it would be in the best interests of all concerned if I resigned now.
“I wish the club and everyone concerned with it all the best for the future.”
Interesting watching this interview with Kevin Keegan when he brought out his superb autobiography back in 2018:
Meanwhile, 24 years ago today, the club released this statement confirming / announcing the news:
‘Newcastle United Football Club today announce the resignation of manager Kevin Keegan. Kevin informed the board of his wish to resign at the end of the season, having decided he no longer wishes to continue in football management at this stage in his life. Following lengthy discussions of which the board attempted to persuade Kevin to change his mind, both parties eventually agreed that the best route forward was for the club to, reluctantly, accept his resignation with immediate effect.’
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