Two days on from Kevin Keegan's resignation as Newcastle United manager local media intimated Saturday the former England boss might return – if owner Mike Ashley sells.
Keegan quit the Premier League club just eight months into his second spell in charge on Thursday, blasting the management structure which retail tycoon Ashley has put in place stripping the coach of responsibility for matters such as transfer policy.
But according to Alan Oliver, chief sports writer at the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, “Keegan Keegan could be back as Newcastle United manager – if Mike Ashley sells out to any of the consortiums who want to buy the club”.
Oliver said he had spoken to Keegan late Friday and “he was definitely upbeat” about his future plans amid reports that Indian billionaire Anil Ambani and his Reliance Group might be interested in buying out the club.
Ashley only bought United last year but the venomous outpourings against him from fans since news emerged of Keegan leaving could give him food for thought.
According to the Chronicle representatives of Ambani are due in England on Monday – but the exact purpose of their visit is unknown.
The paper added that another former England boss, Terry Venables, was a name in the frame to replace Keegan.
Oliver said Keegan had appeared fatalistic after last Saturday's 3-0 defeat by Arsenal at The Emirates, telling him that when the club “goes backwards it goes backwards at twice the pace and that is the problem”.
On resigning, Keegan said: “It's my opinion that a manager must have the right to manage and that clubs should not impose upon any manager any player that he does not want.”
Newcastle are believed to have gone against Keegan's wishes by trying to offload both England striker Michael Owen and troubled midfielder Joey Barton, while signing players he did not want.
Keegan's position had been brought into question when Dennis Wise was appointed director of football in January without his knowledge just two weeks after the former took over for a second time following the sacking of Sam Allardyce.
The Magpies are now looking for their sixth manager in four years and fan groups have threatened to boycott the home game with Hull on September 13.
Keegan has been idolised on Tyneside since he led Newcastle to promotion to the top flight as a player in 1982.
He took over as manager for the first time in 1992, once again leading them to promotion before narrowly missing out on the title in 1995 after a rollercoaster season.
But in 1997 he quit to be followed in the hotseat by Kenny Dalglish, Ruud Gullit, Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder and Sam Allardyce.
Alan Shearer, whom Keegan brought to Newcastle in 1996, meanwhile says he is not interested in a coaching role at the club under the current set-up.
Shearer told the BBC: “I would like to be a manager at some stage, but that means controlling the players who go in and the players who go out.
“I don't think I would be comfortable working within a structure with a director of football who was picking and choosing the players for me.”
On Keegan's successor, Shearer said: “I don't think there will be a shortage of people who want the job, but your guess is as good as mine.
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