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Fog on the Tyne hangs over Keegan's future

By Steven Beacom

Published 03/09/2008

Former Northern Ireland hero Tommy Cassidy today pleaded with Newcastle United chiefs to end the pain and embarrassment for the club he loves.

And Cassidy declared that the only way to do that was to ensure that Kevin Keegan remains the manager.

In a shambles that is pure Newcastle, Keegan’s position remained unclear this morning after a rollercoaster day of emotions for the Toon Army when he was going, staying, going and staying again.

Keegan is set for talks with owner Mike Ashley and the Newcastle board over the next 24 hours, but whether he is Newcastle boss by the time their next fixture comes around on Saturday week at home to Hull City remains very much in doubt.

League Managers’ Association (LMA) chief executive Richard Bevan today admitted Kevin Keegan was "in a difficult position" over his position at St James' Park.

He’s not kidding.

Speculation was rife yesterday that the 57-year-old had left his post following a clash with club officials over transfer policy.

But Newcastle issued a statement last night denying Keegan had been sacked and now the LMA are insisting he has not walked away from his second spell in charge of the Magpies after less than a year.

However, Bevan conceded Keegan's position was unclear and that discussions were ongoing. He said: “It is not ideal having to speak on managers' positions so early in the season but I was speaking to Kevin Keegan at length last night. He has not resigned.

"He is in a difficult position – he'll be discussing really important issues with the Newcastle board over the next few days.

"The football club and fans everybody knows are massively important to Kevin and after such heavy coverage and speculation yesterday it was important to make this statement that he has not resigned."

One of the issues that there has been disagreement on between the parties regards the futures of Michael Owen and Joey Barton.

Another is that there are suggestions that Director of Football Dennis Wise has too much say on new players coming in.

Whatever the problems, Northern Ireland’s 1982 World Cup star Cassidy, who remains a huge favourite with the Newcastle fans after a successful spell there in the 70s, is desperate for the fiasco to be sorted out.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph today, Cassidy, who lives in Newcastle, said: “It’s a complete and utter farce.

“Once again we are in the public eye for all the wrong reasons.

“You wouldn’t think we actually started the season pretty well with a draw at Manchester United and a home win over Bolton.

“Now all this has happened and the club is in a mess.

“To date what is disappointing is that Newcastle United have not made it clear to the fans what the position is.

“No one in Newcastle really knows if Kevin is still the manager.

“Like thousands of other people in Newcastle I love the football club. It is my club and it is painful watching this.

“The people in charge have to end this embarrassment and sort things out quickly.

“In my opinion the best way to do that is to have Kevin Keegan as manager. I know Kevin and I know how much he cares about the club. He has the same passion as the fans and I believe he is the right man for the job.”

There are suggestions in Newcastle that if Keegan does go, fans will boycott the game against Hull City.

Belfast Telegraph

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