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Kevin Keegan words have proved to be prophetic with Mike Ashley – Now time to reward him

1 week ago
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Alright, time for fellow readers of The Mag to indulge me in a spot of fantasy for a few minutes. And while I say fantasy, it wouldn’t take that much of a stretch to see the fantasy become an appropriate reality.

With relegation averted and the opportunity to kick on now afforded to the new Newcastle United owners and manager, I now have a wish, or more of a simple request of the regime. It’s not fanciful, outlandish and it’s wouldn’t even be particularly expensive. So here goes.

An article appeared this weekend commenting on a potential role or honour for former player and manager Kevin Keegan and the subject of commemorating our saviour of the 1980s and 90s will always get many fans on board with such an idea.

My first thoughts started with simply having a “Legends Lounge” incorporated into the stadium somewhere, a place which would be decked out with photos and memorabilia from anyone who has graced St James Park and never let the club down. Players and management that have steered the club through to where it finds itself today, with a chance to make it REALLY big. There would be many, many candidates to commemorate.

This then drifted to the idea that Kevin Keegan could be more of a focus of such honours. I’ve read many fans say that a statue should be commissioned and / or a stand should be renamed but I feel that neither is necessary. I also feel that Kevin Keegan probably wouldn’t want either to happen in any case.

This brought me to a simple yet fantastic conclusion.

I have long harboured the dream of seeing the club crest adorned on the Gallowgate End. Other clubs have their crest prominent in their stadiums and to me it’s a glaring omission. We have had to put up with 14 years of SD tat blemishing our beloved home and one of the new owners’ masterstrokes was getting rid of it so quickly, so it’s with the stadium where such tributes to former managers and players should continue.

I’ve always fancied the idea that Kevin Keegan should be lauded on the pitch before Newcastle take to the field against Arsenal next Monday night and, unless there have been some very secret and very psychic thoughts going on between Amanda Staveley and Co and myself, this is highly unlikely to transpire.

What I propose is something far more substantial.

How about not only commissioning the new club crest to be featured on the Gallowgate pitch facing facade but to have Kevin Keegan personally unveil it over the summer, before our new revolution kicks off proper? You could cram more than 52,000 into the stadium to see that alone.

But wait, there’s more. My thoughts moved on to the wonderful football his team played during the 90s, a team that fell oh so short of the title in 1996 but made us all proud. This gave me the idea of combining a tribute to Kevin and “The Entertainers” he created by way of renovating and renaming a bar at the ground “The Entertainers Lounge”. Photos and mementos of the era including that of Pavel Srnicek, Philippe Albert, Brian Kilcline, John Beresford, Barry Venison, Warren Barton, Rob Lee, Lee Clark, David Ginola, Gavin Peacock, Faustino Asprilla, Keith Gillespie, Peter Beardsley, David Kelly, Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, the list is endless.

Heck, you could combine both ideas and have KK unveil the crest and surprise him by taking him up to new suite where many of the specially invited subjects of the new tribute could be present to open the facility. It would certainly be quite a Who’s Who of our 1990s revival.

Now I may have lost a few of you in the dreamy haze but the simple question is, why the bloody hell not?

We’ve had a whole decade and a half of trampling on legends of this club, stamping on and tarnishing our history and dumbing down any form of enjoyment in this football club and it’s past, that any moves the new people can come up with will be more than welcome. The PR and the publicity would be astounding.

The PR and feel good factor that has enveloped the club since the takeover hasn’t died down and the last remaining outcast from the previous regime MUST be brought back into the fold and acknowledged accordingly after being shamelessly shunned by Mike Ashley’s regime. I’ve read that he doesn’t want any sort of ambassadorial role and I assume that he’s simply enjoying his retirement and that’s fair enough. A chance for recognition and a bit of appreciation on the other hand would go down well with anyone.

Kevin Keegan actually made reference to being made to feel like “persona non grata” in his 2018 Autobiography- “My Life In Football” by the Ashley regime and that he felt what us fans felt…

“I am looking forward to the day when Newcastle is free of the man who has lurched from one bad decision to another, run an empire of self harm and handed money and power to people who deserved neither.”

Believe me Kevin, we saw the day and it was incredible.

More of his words where he elaborated on the future of the club appeared and were later immortalised by Wor Flags at St James Park before the home match against Burnley in 2018:

“Don’t ever give up on your club. Keep supporting it, it’s your club and trust me, one day you will get your club back and it will be everything you wanted it to be.

“Newcastle United is bigger than anyone. It hurts I know, but just keep going. He is only one man we are a city, a whole population. Trust me.”

We don’t give up on our Legends either and once again, trust in Kev was proved prophetic as we got our club back in October 2021, some three years later.

As an aside, there have been comments from Keegan about the new owners since the takeover:

“Like everybody else I was absolutely delighted when Mike Ashley went. Anybody coming was going to be a plus. Obviously . . they have got money – but don’t let that worry you because that’s how all the other teams have done it.”

So, a swift dismissal of any rival club or fan telling us that we would be simply buying success is dispelled. Bloody Brilliant Kev!

Now it’s time to thank the man properly and in turn commemorate the fabulous team(s) he put together that saved us from oblivion in 1991 and took us to the brink of the Premier League title and in turn laid the foundations for anything that comes in future.

Mike Ashley and his charlatans may have stripped this club back to a mere shell, where nothing is sacred, nothing treasured and didn’t exist to succeed on the pitch, but by honouring key figures like Kevin Keegan and his impact on the club, we can celebrate the past and look forward to what is hopefully yet to come in the future.

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