It's the day all Newcastle fans feared since the day he came back. According to all sources Kevin Keegan has left United for the second time. Did he jump or was he pushed?
At this moment in time, who cares?
Keegan is Newcastle. He understands the club, the fans and exactly what they want. The mood has changed so dramatically since January, when "The Messiah" made his return.
The Toon had the man they wanted, along with the money they wanted. Mike Ashley was the billionaire owner that promised so much.
Finally, Newcastle United would step out of the shadow of the "Big Four" and make great waves in the transfer market.
And now here we are, a mere eight months down the line, and where do Newcastle see themselves?
Well, Keegan seems to have done a good job. He avoided a relegation battle at the end of last season and has had some positive results at the start of this, but has he done this with the support of his owner?
Okay, he—or was it Dennis Wise?—has made a few signings, and decent ones at that in the form of Gutierrez and Coloccini, but where's the big money that was promised?
What was Ashley doing when he promised a "wow" signing a couple of weeks ago, and then not delivering. It's fair to say that Newcastle fans have had enough!
I'm certainly not saying that I want to go back to the days of Freddy Shepherd. Although Shepherd gave us some big money deals, he put the club into enormous debt—debt that Ashley has helped to wipe out.
But that was a year ago. And now is the worry (especially with what we've seen at Man City over the past 24 hours) that Newcastle are just going to slip further and further behind the big clubs. European football will be a distant memory and the Toon will just have to settle for mid-table mediocrity.
After thinking Ashley was a man with ambition, I'm now not so sure. Does he really want the club to go places, or is he just waiting for the right time to sell and make a tidy little profit?
Whatever his plans, he needs to act quickly. If Keegan has left, there will be nothing short of uproar, and with the selling of James Milner and the signing of two unknowns on the last day of the transfer window, Ashley has to decide what he really wants.
If the money side has become too much like hard work for him, then maybe it's time to find a rich buyer who can take Newcastle on the next level.
As for Keegan, he's done all he can. He's got on with his job through gritted teeth, seemingly not involved in any kind of transfer deals. How many other clubs do we see where the manager doesn't have a say on who stays and who goes at the football club?
And that, I feel, is why Keegan is on his way. He has no power left at the club he calls home, and while that continues to be the case Newcastle will only stagnate or, worryingly, go backwards.
It's an upsetting day to be a Magpies fan. We've had many days like this in the last fifteen years, and I am sure will have more to come. I'd love to give an answer to the question "where do we go from here?" but I honestly can't.
Unless we get ourselves an Arab owner in the near future, it could be another season of struggle.
The only thing I would say with certainty is that Dennis Wise (the bookies favourite to replace Keegan) should not become Newcastle manager. He is not wanted by the fans and does not have the experience necessary to manage a club like Newcastle.
The only man I can think of who knows the club well enough to take it on, is Alan Shearer.
But with the current climate and transfer policy, why would he want to?
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