According to many reports on Tuesday, there was no way back for Kevin Keegan at Newcastle, despite the board’s vote of confidence in the manager. However, he continues to remain in charge of the first team, despite missing two training sessions this week after protracted talks with Mike Ashley et al. It sounds like King Kev is willing to stay after all, but only on his terms.
The Guardian report that the Magpies manager will only stick around if things change at St James’ Park. It’s clear that he’s had enough of being left in the dark with regard to transfer dealings, with the exit of James Milner thought to have been against his wishes. It also appears that one particular individual’s role is causing him anxiety.
Kevin Keegan has effectively challenged Mike Ashley either to dismiss him or redefine Dennis Wise’s role at Newcastle United. As the impasse over the manager’s uncertain future continued yesterday a source close to him indicated that he wanted full control of all transfer activity: “Kevin still wants the job, make no mistake about that – but he would like to be able to buy his own players.”
Reports last night went as far as to say Keegan had sent Ashley a letter through his legal advisers demanding control of all first-team affairs and contracts and the removal of Wise and Tony Jimenez, the vice president (player recruitment).
Wise’s control of transfers has long been a bone of contention and this week’s upset was sparked by the board’s failed attempts to sell Owen and Joey Barton before the transfer deadline. However, handing control to Keegan would necessitate the removal or demotion of Wise, who earns £1.5m a year and is close to Ashley.
Many Newcastle fans would support any decision to oust Dennis Wise from the frame, although while Ashley remains in charge, surely this is unlikely? Nevertheless, if Keegan’s supposed demands are met, doesn’t it mean that Wise and Jimenez have nothing to do, other than recommend players to the manager?