5 September 2008
When Kevin Keegan returned to Newcastle United as manager in January, I scrawled on this blog that I wish he hadn't done so. And now the soap opera surrounding Keegan's principles and emotions has resurfaced, and he's gone again.
I really, really like Kevin Keegan, far more than I like the club he loves or the fans who follow it. But my liking of him is because he has been all the right things in the game - an innovator, a believer, a man unmotivated by material wealth and someone who has always believed in the game's roots. His priorities, as a player and manager, have always been to the supporters and he has viewed most of the money men with suspicion. This idealistic view has now cost him again.
Hull City travel to Newcastle next weekend so I'm quite pleased at a different level that this has all kicked off, as it may be that we end up playing against a team of unmotivated players, coached by someone they barely know and the fans despise(Dennis Wise), in front of a stadium largely empty apart from the black and amber contingent merrily singing our manager's name. Okay, the talk of a boycott is unwise, as we know it's all talk that the Newcastle fans would stay away in droves, but we need the points and if we have more of a chance of getting them because of the opposition's inner turmoil and failure to recover its head from the vicinity of its backside, so be it.
As for Keegan, I want him to retire. I still think we are capable as a nation of remembering him as the finest English footballer of the 1970s when his legacy comes up for discussion, rather than as a manager who relied on beating chests and whispering in ears more than anything else. In Newcastle they'll continue to canonise him because it's the easy thing to do. It may not, however, be the correct thing to do - but as long as they only realise this after we've been to St James Park, I'm not bothered.