After one of the most baffling days in Newcastle United’s history Kevin Keegan’s future as the club’s manager remains surrounded by considerable confusion and no little anger tonight.
Friends of Keegan insisted early on in the day that the 57-year-old had been sacked by Mike Ashley, the club’s billionaire owner, and a militant, increasingly vocal, crowd began gathering outside St James’ Park. Chanting “Ashley out” and hoisting placards in the much loved manager’s honour, their fury was palpable.
Rumours that Keegan had been dismissed began surfacing during the morning when, instead of taking training, the former England coach headed for a 10am meeting with board members. The silence at St James’ Park remained deafening until 7pm approached and Newcastle finally issued a statement saying that Keegan had not been dismissed after all and they hoped he would continue in his post.
My thoughts on this, after the jump.
After spending a couple hours listening to Radio 5 interviewing fans outside St. James’ Park, I’ve come to the conclusion that NUFC fans are the most idiotic on Earth. Why do they view Keegan as this great savior (they kept actually using the term Messiah, as if Keegan has made it his “brand.”) when Keegan has won precisely nothing as a top flight manager?
I suspect he got into a conflict with the owner Mike Ashley and Director of Football Dennis Wise over the “big money” signings he wanted to bring in with cash from the Milner sale. The reality is probably that NUFC needs the cash more than they are letting on to pay off the debts that, according to Radio 5, surprised even Ashley with their severity.
But instead of admitting the problems to fans and acknowledging that there may be a period of “consolidation” while debts are paid, they went out and brought Keegan in as manager and allowed him to raise expectations to completely unreasonable levels. Now fans are shouting that they want Ashley, Wise, and the board out and some “consortium” featuring Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan to buy the club.
There are two big problems with that. Keegan, whose last business venture failed badly, is not nearly rich enough to buy NUFC and Shearer is not nearly dumb enough to invest in a club this screwed up, indebted and weighted by fans with simply insane expectations. It’s total lunatic fantasy to think that could happen.
If Newcastle fans were smart, they’d shut up and let Ashley and the board try and repair their club instead of shouting that they need “Geordies running the club.” From the sounds of the ones I heard from outside St. James, there may not be any Geordies smart enough to run NUFC.
The delusional fans sounded like those at overrated college football programs like Alabama or Clemson who labor under the weight of past successes and fans’ delusions of future successes.
Whether Keegan is gone or not, nothing has really changed. Newcastle’s not going anywhere for the near-future.
So in conclusion, who’s to blame for Newcastle’s dysfunction? Everyone, from the owner, to the board, to the players, to the supporters. Someone needs to tell Newcastle and their ignorant supporters that without a big money and competence infusion from somewhere outside the northeast, they won’t be “fighting up there with the big boys,” for a long, long time.