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The tale of two talismans


Keegan: Toon return was a nightmare

Former Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan has labelled his second stint at St James' Park a "living nightmare" and expressed his regret at returning to the club under owner Mike Ashley.

Keegan first took the managerial reins at Newcastle in 1992 and earned hero status on Tyneside after taking them into the Premier League and to the brink of the title, narrowly losing out to Manchester United in 1995-96.

He left the club in 1997, going on to manage Fulham, England and Manchester City, before making a dramatic return in 2008 as replacement for the sacked Sam Allardyce.

However, Keegan lasted just eight months back at Newcastle - controversially walking out on the club after claiming Ashley had been dishonest regarding transfer policy.

Taking his case to court, Keegan was awarded £2million in damages in 2009 and, reflecting on the way things developed, the former European Footballer of the Year admitted he should have never answered Ashley's call to return.

"I went to talk to them," Keegan told Sky Sports News. "I quite liked Mike Ashley. I thought 'Yeah, this could be good'. But no it was a nightmare, an absolute living nightmare. But hey, you move on.

"In the end it isn't easy to win a court case or take a club to court. But I didn't see it as being Newcastle, I saw it as Mike Ashley, Dennis Wise, a guy called Jimenez and Derek Llambias."

After suffering relegation at the end of that same season, the club were able to immediately bounce back and have tasted European football since Keegan's departure from St James' Park. However the Magpies hero has struggled to follow the fortunes of the club he played for as well as managed.

"The Newcastle club now has no interest on that side," he explained. "The fans, the team and we talk about it a lot through all my friends and the ex-players I know. Until they leave that football club, it has no interest for me.

"They are not that football club. They are just the custodians who are in for a few years. It might be five, 10 or six. But Newcastle United will go on after Mike Ashley."


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