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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 7, 2008

Keegan tips Shearer as future Toon boss

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan remains convinced Alan Shearer will manage the club one day.

The two men held talks over Shearer's appointment to the coaching staff within days of Keegan's return to St James' Park, although his other commitments have as yet proved an obstacle.

However, the former England boss is sure a man who enjoys equal reverence on Tyneside will one day step into the role he currently occupies.

Speaking on a fans' phone-in on BBC Radio Newcastle this evening, Keegan said: 'The next time this job comes up - and I am hoping it is not going to be for at least three and a half years, obviously - Alan's name is going to be top of the list.

'What might make that even more likely to happen is if Alan comes a year down the lines and says, 'look, my commitments are not as big now' and he has done whatever badges he wants to do.

'Alan is sensible. We sat down and he knew he couldn't be number two - you cannot do all those things and be number two.

'But one day, it will be there for him. If and when that job comes along, it would probably be not only his for the taking, but I think he would do very, very well at it because he understands the town, he understands the people, the people know what he is about and they would trust him with the club, and that would be right.

'That could be two years down the line, three years down the line, who knows?

'But it will come to him and he will be manager of Newcastle at some stage, I am absolutely certain of that - if he wants to be.'

The Keegan-Shearer dream ticket was the hope of many fans long before it emerged that the 56-year-old was a genuine candidate for the job, although some commentators raised fears over the potential for conflict between two big personalities.

However, the older man dismissed suggestions that the pair would not be able to work together.

He said: 'I don't see it as a problem. It is no good taking a job and surrounding yourself with people who are just going to conform.

'Strong personalities, yes, sometimes will have differences of opinion, but it does not mean to say they cannot get on.'

Keegan also shed new light on his reasons from walking away from St James' Park in 1997 as preparations to float the club on the Stock Exchange gathered pace.

He admitted he was uncomfortable with the way the Magpies, who became embroiled in the infamous `Save Our Seats' dispute with season ticket holders, were heading.

He said: 'When I went to the big house and finished here last time, it was because I would not sign a contract I as already and year and a half into.

'A guy from the City said, 'Don't be silly, he will sign that, he would be mad not to', and I just turned around to them in that room and told them.

'That was Douglas Hall, it was Freddy Shepherd, Freddie Fletcher and a man from the City who I didn't really know.

'I just said to the man from the City, 'These people know what the answer is to that'.

'It was changing, the club, the priorities were changing. We had driven it on and driven it on and driven it on.

'Credit to all those people I just mentioned - apart from the guy from the City who I didn't know. We had all played a part in that.

'But at the end of it, I just didn't like it, it wasn't a football club anymore, so I got out.

'If people are going to blame me for that, fine, but I know I was right.'

Eleven years on, Keegan is back and hoping to repeat the feats of his first spell as manager, when he built a side which thrilled spectators on Tyneside and beyond.

He added: 'The last time, apart from probably Alan Shearer, most of the people we got here, it was because something had happened.

'Sometimes you can take advantage of a situation and get lucky.

'I would like to do what we did last time, eventually, and surprise people.

'It would be nice to break a world record, but I would like to bring people here who it amazes people that we bring them here, that we start not just talking about being a big club, but actually with our actions, showing that we are.'