10 years ago today, Kevin Keegan resigned as Newcastle United to bring his second stint at St James’ Park to an end – and Terry McDermott’s recent comments have revealed what Mike Ashley did to push King Kev over the edge.
The former NUFC assistant admits that Keegan was reluctant to sell James Milner back in 2008 – however the club insisted that Bastian Schweinsteiger would arrive in his place following his £15m move to Aston Vila.
Keegan was told ‘we’ve already got one’ when it came to Milner’s potential replacement, but in typical Mike Ashley style, a deal for the German international was ruled out and deemed impossible soon after Milner’s £15m move to Villa gone through.
“He (James Milner) came from Leeds, we bought him…I think it was about four million quid, something like that, for him.
“He was only about 20 then, or 22, or something like that (Milner was actually only 18 when Sir Bobby bought him in 2004).
“When he came into the club we’d heard all about him, what a player he was. I had reservations about him but he grew on me.
“We were actually at the club when we sold him, myself and Kevin Keegan.
“We actually sold him for £15m and the story goes, I’ll tell you, it’s a true story this.
“We didn’t want him to leave but we needed other players in, we’d had a bid of £15m. So we said, we’ll tell you what we’ll do…’If we sell him for £15m how are we going to replace him?’.
“They (Ashley/Llambias/Wise) said ‘We’ve already got one’.
“He (Keegan) said ‘Oh, who?’.
“They said ‘Schweinsteiger’.
“He’s at Man Utd now but years ago he was a superstar and they said we could get him.
“The idea of accepting the bid for Milner, for £15m, which was a lot of money then…but if we are looking to get Schweinsteiger, it’s a no-brainer!.
“After he’d (James Milner) signed for them (Aston Villa), the day after we (Newcastle) are ‘trying’ to sign Schweinsteiger, the answer was absolutely no chance because it will cost you £50m if you want to buy Schweinsteiger.
“So we ended up with no one to replace him.”
So, more false promises from Ashley – with Keegan and Newcastle United being left with no replacement heading into the 2008/09 season. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Old quotes, but a timely reminder of Ashley’s devious approach – something which proved to be the final straw for the great Kevin Keegan.