Keegan set for showdown

Keegan set for showdown

Kevin Keegan will head for clear-the-air talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley tomorrow after yet another eventful week on Tyneside.

The city woke this morning to be greeted by headlines suggesting the 57-year-old has landed himself in hot water with his outburst about the gap between his club and the Barclays Premier League’s big boys earlier this week.

Keegan will head for a meeting with the billionaire and executive director (football) Dennis Wise tomorrow with speculation mounting that their relationship is becoming increasingly strained.

The Magpies had planned to hold their pre-match press conference for Sunday’s trip to Everton tomorrow lunchtime as usual, but hurriedly arranged it for today when the manager is certain to be quizzed on the latest development.

Ashley sprang a major surprise in January when he persuaded the former England boss to return to St James’ Park for his second spell in charge in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s departure.

Keegan revealed as he was unveiled that he had not been given guarantees about the cash he would be given to re-shape the squad, but was satisfied that he would receive significant backing.

However, in the wake of Monday’s 2-0 home defeat by Chelsea – Newcastle’s first in eight attempts – he admitted that his side was “a million miles away” from competing with the Blues on a level playing field.

Furthermore, he forecast that he could not be given enough money to break into the top four within the remaining three years of his current contract.

His comments, which included a claim that the Premier League is in danger of becoming one of the most “boring, but great” leagues in the world, made a major splash, and have led to suggestions that he and Ashley are at loggerheads.

Keegan admitted on Monday he does not know how much cash he will have to spend this summer, and rumours of his disquiet with the way the club is conducting its recruitment drive – he has passed his list of targets on to Wise and his team and is now awaiting developments – have been circulating for some time.

Ashley, who has pumped £100m into the club since completing his £134.4m takeover last year, will wants answers from his manager and vice-versa.

But the club’s supporters, who hold Keegan in the highest of regards, will await developments with bated breath as another season of turmoil draws to a close.

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