Kevin Keegan’s future as Newcastle boss is still up in the air this morning despite claims that he has neither been sacked nor resigned.
Keegan’s position at St James’ Park has been under intense pressure over the last 48 hours after reports on Tuesday suggested he had left the club following a row with owner Mike Ashley over transfer policy.
Fans reacted furiously by staging a demonstration outside the gates at St James’ in support of Keegan, prompting the club to issue a statement denying that their hero had been sacked and that the club wanted him to remain as manager. But Keegan’s no-show at training yesterday for a second successive day added more fuel to the rumours and fans’ fears he had walked away from Tyneside.
The club responded by issuing a second statement confirming they were still in talks with the former England boss over his future.
It said: “Newcastle United Football Club can confirm that discussions are ongoing between the board and Kevin Keegan. Both the club and Kevin would like to reiterate that Kevin remains as manager. He has not resigned nor has he been sacked, as has been confirmed in respective statements made by Kevin and Newcastle United Football Club.”
Keegan, 57, was said to be angry at the £12m sale of James Milner to Aston Villa last week, while reports also suggest that the club were plotting to sell Michael Owen and Joey Barton on transfer deadline day, against the manager’s wishes.
The boss is now set for a showdown with Ashley and director of football Dennis Wise and is said to have enlisted the help of the League Managers Association (LMA), who yesterday, confirmed Newcastle’s claim that Keegan had not resigned.
Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp, who was favourite for the job before Keegan took over, urged the Magpies boss to walk away if he has been shown a lack of respect. “He’s a proud man and if he feels he’s been undermined, then he must make a decision over his future,” he said.