Latest twist: Keegan secret talks
Owner Ashley holds secret failed talks with disgruntled former Newcastle manager.
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2008 07:48 GMT

No return for the 'Geordie Messiah' [GALLO/GETTY]

Former Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan held talks about making a dramatic return to the English Premier League eight days after quitting but couldn't resolve his differences with owner Mike Ashley, according to reports.

Keegan walked out on the Magpies on September 4, seven months after returning
for a second stint in charge, blaming his lack of influence over transfers and interference from above at St. James' Park.

The only official comment came from the League Managers' Association (LMA) which said in a statement that the talks were to "resolve several issues."

"The discussion failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion," the LMA said.

No reconciliation

A person close to the situation said that Keegan wasn't optimistic about a reconciliation after the talks collapsed and said it was unclear whether the discussions will resume.

The 57-year-old Keegan spoke to Ashley about returning as well as compensation issues relating to his exit, according to anonymous reports.

Newcastle fans have called for Ashley and director of football Dennis Wise to resign and demonstrations against the owner are expected to take place before, during and after the match against Hull City at St James' Park.

Owner of Newcastle, Mike Ashley is deeply unpopular with the fans [GALLO/GETTY]
Disgruntled fans

Coach Chris Hughton, who has been put in charge for the game, appealed to the supporters to get behind the players.

"We appreciate things may be difficult for the fans at the moment," he said.

"But one thing Newcastle supporters are renowned for is their support of the team."

Ashley was in the United States last week when Keegan held crisis talks with the Newcastle board to try to resolve his grievances.

Keegan replaced Sam Allardyce, who was fired in January, but became disgruntled at the influence of director of football Dennis Wise.

In charge

"A manager must have the right to manage and that clubs should not impose upon any manager any player that he does not want," Keegan said in his resignation statement through the LMA.

Keegan had to be talked out of resigning just 38 days after arriving in 1992 when he quipped, "It's not like it said in the brochure," and stayed until 1997.

"Geordie Messiah"

The "Geordie Messiah," as he is dubbed in the single club city, was enticed out of retirement to revive the optimism which thrived at Newcastle during his previous reign.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson backed Keegan along with Alan Curbishley, who quit West Ham last week also due to his authority being undermined.

"They both did the right thing resigning," said Ferguson, who has managed United since 1986. "You must have your pride and you must have control."

While West Ham swiftly agreed to a deal with Gianfranco Zola to replace Curbishley this week, little has emerged from Newcastle's search for Keegan's successor, with Chris Hughton remaining the caretaker manager.

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