Keegan in 'difficult position'
Newcastle deny sacking manager but British media reports predict he will leave.
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2008 11:54 GMT

Keegan has always been hugely popular with the fans [GALLO/GETTY]
The future of English Premier League club Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan remains uncertain following a day of speculation that he had been sacked after just eight months in the job.

Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers' Association (LMA) said that Keegan "was in a difficult position" at St James' Park despite a statement issued by the club denying that Keegan had been sacked.

Bevan told BBC Radio: "He is in a difficult position but he has not resigned.

"I spoke to Kevin at length last night and he will be discussing really important issues with the Newcastle board over the next few days."

Fan support

Many fans gathered at St James' Park ground in the city centre after word spread that "King Kev", as Newcastle fans affectionately call him, had either been sacked or had resigned.

However in a statement on their official website Newcastle said Keegan was still in charge.

"Kevin has raised a number of issues and these have been discussed with him," the statement said.

"The club wants to keep progressing with its long term strategy and would like to stress that Kevin is extremely important both now and in the future.

"Newcastle United values the effort and commitment shown by Kevin since his return to St James' Park and want him to continue to play an instrumental role as manager of the club.

"For the avoidance of doubt the club has not sacked Kevin Keegan as their manager."

Media speculation

Many fans e-mailed news organisations saying they would boycott the club if Keegan, 57, left and called for the board, led by billionaire chairman Mike Ashley to resign.

Hastily-made banners carried the same message.

British media headlines were convinced Keegan's tenure as boss was over.

The Daily Mail said: "Keegan Doomed" while the story made the front page headline in the Daily Mirror which said: "The KKing is Dead".

The Independent said: "Keegan hangs by a thread as Newcastle deny "sack" story."

Tough job

Keegan returned to Newcastle as manager in January, 11 years after his sudden departure from the job in January 1997, and has been in control for 21 matches, winning just six times.

Newcastle have made a decent start to the new season, winning one, drawing one and losing one of their opening three league matches and are sitting comfortably in mid-table with four points.

They also beat Championship (second division) club Coventry City away in the League Cup last week.

Keegan was hailed as the club's saviour when he replaced Sam Allardyce, who himself had been in charge for only half a season.

However, Keegan had a difficult start, failing to win any of his opening eight league matches.

With domestic action making way this weekend for a round of World Cup qualifiers, Newcastle's next match is against Hull City at St James' Park on September 13.

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