"This is the third time; I was a player here too."
January 17, 2008 11:51 AM   Subscribe

"Geordie messiah to return - Kevin Keegan is returning to Newcastle United as manager". Thus read the official statement issued by Newcastle United heralding the improbable return of Kevin Keegan to be manager of the club, the perennial under achievers in English football.

Devotion to Keegan and a pining for a return to his first period of management has dominated Newcastle United's fortunes since he left suddenly the first time in 1997. Famous for wearing his heart on his sleeve, and a very public meltdown when manager the first time round, English football just got fun again.
posted by iboxifoo (30 comments total)
Given that he's spent a couple of years running a Football Circus, he should at least be able to hit the ground running at St James' Park.
posted by reynir at 12:18 PM on January 17, 2008

Expect lots of flowing football and 4-3 losses. The man never met a defender when he played, so has no idea what to look for in one as a manager.

The one good thing is that he doesn't have to feel he has to appoint/anoint St. Alan Shearer as his No./successor. He's as much of a legend to fans as Shearer is, so perhaps the ludicrous idea that Shearer will one day manage the club will go away for a while, and he can go back to boring punditry.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 12:19 PM on January 17, 2008

That'd be No 2/ successor.

Sorry, I'm sort of new here.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 12:20 PM on January 17, 2008

Interesting stuff. I must say, though, that "very public meltdown" ("Kevin Keegan Famous Rant") shocked me. Is that what's considered a meltdown/rant in the UK? You guys need to meet Tommy Lasorda and/or George Steinbrenner.
posted by languagehat at 12:24 PM on January 17, 2008

How much influence does a manager have on a team? I mean, for some US sports, like American Football, it's very important to have a top strategist on, but for sports like baseball, the manager's got only a relatively minor influence.
posted by klangklangston at 12:26 PM on January 17, 2008

Well, the meltdown was that after the rant he went on to throw away their lead and failed to deliver Nuucsle their first trophy for 400 years
posted by criticalbill at 12:26 PM on January 17, 2008

You can't fault the supporters when it comes to self-awareness, mind: "Wa Geordies, wa mental, wa off wa fuckin heeds."
posted by Abiezer at 12:27 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

The manager has a huge influence in football. Obviously the players do the work, but the manager sets the tone, the tactics, picks the team, makes the (often vital) substitutions, buys the players, sells the players, kicks football boots into the player's heads, talks (or doesn't) to Match of the Day, etc
posted by criticalbill at 12:29 PM on January 17, 2008

Odd to see a very well supported small club on the blue.
posted by hexxed at 12:31 PM on January 17, 2008

Given that one of the main things Keegan did in his first stint as manager was to disband the NUFC youth academy, thus assuring that Newcastle would be entirely reliant on expensive, mediocre signings, I'm surprised that the NUFC faithful have welcomed him back.

It'll be interesting to see if those same faithful will be calling for his head in May when they underachieve. Again.
posted by pdb at 12:54 PM on January 17, 2008

I agree with criticalbill as far as how much influence a football manager has, and disagree that a baseball manager's "got only a relatively minor influence". Baseball managers make lots of decisions (similar to football managers) such as positioning players in the field, setting the lineup, deciding when a pitcher needs to be changed, etc, etc.

This is also (surprisingly quietly) being discussed on SportsFilter.
posted by terrapin at 1:27 PM on January 17, 2008

This is some kind of soccer team or something?
posted by acetonic at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2008

In my short history of following English football (only since 2001 or so) one of my favourite all-time footie manager quotes came from Keegan as he lost a shocking match while in charge of... Man City?

Anyway the Match of the Day interviewer asked him how he felt, and off the cuff he said "How do I feel? Well, let's just say this. If I had a cat, I'd probably go home and kick it."

I nearly spat tea out of my nose.
posted by LondonYank at 1:47 PM on January 17, 2008

Acetonic, no, it's Newcastle United.
posted by reynir at 1:57 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

It'll be interesting to see if those same faithful will be calling for his head in May when they underachieve. Again.

oh they will. If it's one thing you can count on newcastle for, it's comical defending and rabid fans baying for their manager's blood after the first defeat.
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 2:01 PM on January 17, 2008

LondonYank, you may have already seen many of Keegan's other most quotable moments, but if not, you can read about the mole on the wall and why Argentina didn't play at Euro 2000 here.
posted by reynir at 2:06 PM on January 17, 2008

"Baseball managers make lots of decisions (similar to football managers) such as positioning players in the field, setting the lineup, deciding when a pitcher needs to be changed, etc, etc."

Two things—First off, baseball relative to American football or basketball, the manager has a much more subdued role. Second, if you want to crunch stats, baseball managers really don't account for very much per season in terms of wins; they're pretty interchangeable and often do things by rote. There are a couple of exceptions, but good GMs are much more important (because they get the players).
posted by klangklangston at 2:15 PM on January 17, 2008

Aw c'mon... If there was one place I thought I was safe from the kind of piss-taking I've put up with as a Toon fan all day, it was the blue.
posted by kxr at 2:51 PM on January 17, 2008

posted by Wolof at 2:51 PM on January 17, 2008

'Do you want to know what the worst book ever written was?
"Football, it's a Funny Old Game", by Kevin Keegan' -- Holly

(I didn't understand that joke for years until I asked a Brit)
posted by jozxyqk at 3:07 PM on January 17, 2008

So how's the firm doing?
posted by scalefree at 3:17 PM on January 17, 2008

kxr: we're all secretly mackems. :) come on you black cats!
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 3:20 PM on January 17, 2008

He is not the messiah...
posted by YouRebelScum at 3:43 PM on January 17, 2008

Thanks for the youtube link to the 'I would love it' rant - I've been wanting to rehear that for ages. But after listening to it again, I'm kind of with Languagehat... it's a lot, lot tamer than I remember it. I guess it sounded like an outburst because managers normally speak in a bizarre mesh of interlocking inoffensive clichés that reveal absolutely nothing about their feelings: 'We came here today... we made some chances... we looked good/bad up front... we've learned some lessons... we obviously felt one or two decisions didn't go our way but that is the game and now we just have to look to the next game...'

The same goes for players getting interviewed immediately after a game. Anything beyond a dull, emotionally neutral commentary on the bare facts of what happened - 'So yeah, we worked hard, got the three points, and I think we're all very pleased,' - is pretty much verboten, largely because the tabloids are all poised, slavering, ready to spin any whiff of criticism or controversy into a week-long shitstorm.

It's not entirely nonsensical though - in England, we've got shameful and pretty horrific history of football hooliganism, and this kind of clipped, quasi-civil Newspeak makes it difficult for managers or players to inadvertently to fan the flames of inter-club rivalry. Unfortunately, there are far too many dunderheaded thugs knocking about who need little or no provocation to go on the rampage.
posted by RokkitNite at 4:44 PM on January 17, 2008

To quote a press headline that I heard the other day: Looney Toons!

Full disclosure: I'm a Fulham fan so I know all about weird managerial appointments. At least Big Sam didn't land the Toon in the relegation zone, unlike Sanchez did with us...
posted by ob at 4:55 PM on January 17, 2008

Given Keegan's entertaining version of defending it's a terrible, terrible shame that Newcastle have sold Titus Bramble.

That pair working together could have been comedy gold.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 5:26 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

Unbelievable they bought Owen for 15m and he's scored like 4 goals or something. Unlucky, or maybe just crap (Newcastle, not Owen).
posted by snoktruix at 5:36 PM on January 17, 2008

So pleased he's back managing again - his Newcastle were so much fun for the neutral to watch. Just unfortunate that it had to be announced on the day of the replay against Stoke (my flatmate is still pissed off with that result).
posted by patricio at 6:22 PM on January 17, 2008

It's a misconception that Keegan's Newcastle bottled the League Championship. Man Utd had games in hand and a home game vs. Newcastle, so Newcastle's lead was largely illusionary. In fact, the title was won by a freakish run of 14 wins in the last 16 games by Man Utd.
posted by salmacis at 2:23 AM on January 18, 2008

LondonYank: "favourite all-time footie manager quotes"

I've always like Wee Gordon's straight talk...

Reporter: This might sound like a daft question, but you'll be happy to get your first win under your belt, won't you?
Strachan: You're right. It is a daft question. I'm not even going to bother answering that one. It is a daft question, you're spot on there.

Reporter: So, Gordon, in what areas do you think Middlesbrough were better than you today?
Strachan: What areas? Mainly that big green one out there...

posted by Auz at 6:21 PM on January 20, 2008

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