Former Newcastle greats Alan Shearer and Andy Cole believe the club will never win the Premier League under the current ownership.
Both men played significant roles in the Magpies attempts to earn England’s top prize during the 1990s, but both ultimately falling short of their goal. Shearer arrived at Newcastle having already picked up a winners’ medal with Blackburn Rovers, whereas Cole went on to win a number of titles with Manchester United.
And it was a blunt admission from Cole when he said that Keegan’s side had the best opportunity to do so: “Newcastle United are not going to win the Premier League, only three or four teams can win the league now. Football has changed and Newcastle used to be a lot closer,” he said.
“Kevin Keegan’s team had a fantastic opportunity. Manchester United just edged them one year and they’ve gone backwards since then. Apathy is something I’ve never associated with Newcastle. To be told their biggest crowd of the season is for a testimonial match is a huge surprise and it’s worrying for them.
“Newcastle have got a decent first-choice team, but the game is about getting injuries and suspensions, players coming in and out of the side. The best clubs have the best squads. They have competition for places. You’ve got to have some sense of ambition. You’ve got to try and bring new players in to keep the players already here on their toes and to raise standards."
He added: “It’s a rock and a hard place at Newcastle at the moment. They seem to get themselves on the right track and all of a sudden someone here derails them. The punters were fairly happy a couple of years ago, the team was moving in the right direction and then decisions are made at the top which throw a spanner in the works. It’s almost as if somebody running the club wants to upset the punters and I find that very strange.
“If you keep the punters on board here, it’s half the battle [won]. If you upset them, they’re going to eventually vote with their feet because there is only so much they can take.”
It was followed by similar comments from Shearer, someone normally loath to criticise the club he spent the majority of his career at.
However when asked if he sees his former employers challenging for the top prize any time soon he told the Journal. “It takes an incredible amount of money to get there.
“You’ve seen what Spurs have spent, albeit they got it back with the Gareth Bale money and Newcastle haven’t got anything like that. You have seen what Chelsea, City, Manchester United and Arsenal have spent, and Newcastle can’t compete with them anymore, unfortunately.
“The aim now is to try to win a trophy, be it the FA Cup or the League Cup, and to stay in the Premier League. It might be a while before you see Newcastle challenging again for a top four place, which is a shame because the fans here deserve it.
“I kept on listening to Alan Pardew saying he wanted some players and the club were confident of bringing some in. Reading between the lines, I expected a player or two to come in. I haven’t got a clue why they didn’t.”