Kevin Keegan’s entertainers

Kevin Keegan was a special manager who was all about one thing; entertainment; he also managed some special players during his time with Newcastle United, Manchester City and England but who were his greatest entertainers?

King Kev took his first management job in football at Newcastle in 1992, eight years after retiring as a player at the club, and managed to keep the failing north-east side in the second tier of English football, just! Then in his first full season as a manager, he smashed the old Division One, now known as the Championship, and achieved promotion to the almighty Premier League as champions.

Newcastle‘s first season in the Premier League was remarkable, to say the least; for a club on the brink of relegation to the Third Division in 1992, Keegan’s Geordie Nation finished third in the Premier League in 1994. They did so with an attacking style most clubs in the country couldn’t handle. With Andy Cole banging in over 4o goals in a season, backed up with the likes of Peter Beardsley; The entertainers were born.

The Magpies continued to entertain for the next three years under Keegan’s guidance and by making exciting signings. They were entertaining but also successful as European football returned to Tyneside and were seemingly on their way to an unbelievable title win in 1996 only to be agonisingly hounded down by Alex Ferguson’s legendary Red Devils. In January 1997, Keegan resigned with no one truly knowing the whole reason why but King Kev was gone.

He made a comeback to football at Fulham as Director of Football later that year and took over as manager the following season, gaining promotion to the First Division. He then took over as England manager in 1999 but after an impressive start to Euro 2000, England failed to qualify from the group stage and by the time Dietmar Hamann sneaked one past Seaman for Germany in the rain at Wembley during a World Cup qualifier, Keegan was gone.

Man City came calling in 2001 and instructed Keegan to get them promoted back to the Premier League. He did, with his entertaining style as Man City gained promotion and scored 108 league goals. King Kev was back! After making some big name signings, he established City as a Premier League club and resigned in 2005.

“These people expect miracles. We know we can’t deliver them but we have to try.”

Kevin Keegan after his Newcaslte team beat Man Utd 5-0 in 1996

He made a brief comeback at Newcastle in 2008 but after being messed around by the ‘genius’ that is Mike Ashley, he left him to the mess he was about to create and retired completely from football.

Keegan will be forever remembered as a passionate manager who at times deployed an all-out attacking philosophy, he loved it! This brought him success but also failings in never being reliable enough to win something. What can’t be denied, though, is he was entertaining.