King Kev ends reign in Newcastle
Kevin Keegan resigns as manager of Newcastle United after fallout with board.
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2008 12:13 GMT

Kevin Keegan fell out with owner Mike Ashley prior to his departure [GALLO/GETTY]
Kevin Keegan resigned as manager of English Premier League club Newcastle United, less than eight months after taking charge of the club for the second time.

In a statement issued through the League Managers Association, Keegan said he was left "no choice" because of the way the club was being run.

"I've been working desperately hard to find a way forward with the directors but sadly that has not proved possible," said the former England coach.

"It's my opinion a manager must have the right to manage and that clubs should not impose upon any manager any player he does not want."

He is the second manager to resign in 24 hours after West Ham United's Alan Curbishley quit, also citing interference in playing matters as his reason.

Keegan's future at Newcastle had been in the spotlight since Tuesday when the club issued a statement saying he had not been sacked despite media speculation to the contrary.

Reacting to Keegan's decision, Newcastle said they had offered the manager an olive branch and were "sad and disappointed" he had quit.

"Over the last few days the club has devoted itself to the discussions it has held with Kevin and as a result of those discussions had put together a set of practical suggestions for how to move forward," a club statement read.

"Today the club made it clear to Kevin if he had any outstanding concerns on its proposals he should raise them with the club. The club regrets Kevin has, instead of taking up that offer, chose to resign."

The King is dead

Fans milled around outside St James' Park after the news of Keegan's departure.

Television pictures showed many looking stunned and close to tears while message boards were flooded with support for the former England captain.

The 57-year-old had returned for his second spell in charge of Newcastle in January, 11 years after his sudden departure from the job.

Former Newcastle striker Keegan was at the helm for 21 competitive matches ths time, winning only six.

Newcastle have made a fair start to the season having won, drawn and lost in their opening three league games.

However, the sale of promising winger James Milner to Aston Villa and a lack of major signings to excite the fans in the transfer window appear to have left Keegan feeling marginalised.

He was hailed as the saviour when he returned to the club after they parted company with Sam Allardyce, who had only been in charge for half a season.

'King Kev' had a difficult start, failing to win any of his opening eight league matches.

More recently some of Keegan's fans criticised his support of midfielder Joey Barton who he backed last month following the player's release from a prison sentence for assault.

However, the vast majority of supporters idolise Keegan.

"It remains my fervent wish to see Newcastle United do well in the future and I feel incredibly sorry for the players, staff and most importantly the supporters," he said.

"I have been left with no choice other than to leave."

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

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