Kevin Keegan's future as Newcastle United manager remained in the balance on Wednesday despite the English Premier League club insisting they wanted him to stay in his job.
Keegan is believed to have made clear his disgust at the club's transfer policy in talks with Newcastle's directors this week, but a statement released on Tuesday denied reports that he had been sacked.
The chief executive of the League Managers' Association, Richard Bevan, admitted the 57-year-old former England coach was “in a difficult position”.
“It is not ideal having to speak to you on managers' positions so early in the season but I was speaking to Kevin Keegan at length last night,” Bevan told BBC radio.
“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.”
Bevan said he could not confirm that the club's attempts to sell England international striker Michael Owen had been the final straw for Keegan.
The club are also believed to have gone against Keegan's wishes by trying to offload Joey Barton, the midfielder who served a prison sentence this year for assault and is facing a long suspension from the Football Association for another incident.
Other reports said Keegan – whose future at the club was brought into question earlier this year when Dennis Wise was surprisingly appointed director of football in January without him knowing – was disgruntled at Newcastle's failure to make any major signings as the transfer window closed on Monday.
The club's only business on deadline day was the 5.7-million-pound signing of Spanish striker Xisco and the loan signing of midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez, although Keegan had reportedly not expressed an interest in either player.
Keegan's relations with owner Mike Ashley were also strained in May when the manager said he did not believe Newcastle had the resources to finish in the top four of the Premier League.
Many British newspapers said Keegan was on borrowed time, and that he was merely negotiating his compensation package before walking away.
The Magpies currently lie 11th in the table after a mixed start to the new season. They held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw, beat Bolton 1-0 but lost 3-0 to Arsenal.
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