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Mentioned Part 22

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 28/06/2001

Home > Features > Mentioned > Mentioned #22


"No disrespect to the likes of Grimsby..."

Kevin Keegan Special!

King Kev King Kev

thursday 28th june

Keegan Faces A Grim Task

From Planet Football

Kevin Keegan has warned his Manchester City side that they must overcome the grit and guts of teams such as Grimsby Town if they are to bounce back up to The Premiership at the first time of asking.

The new Citizens boss is concerned that his squad of high-earners will not have the stomach to mix it with some of the First Division's earthier teams and says that he is not afraid to show players the Maine Road door if he feels that they are not up to the challenge.

"If a player says he doesn't want to be here, then I will ask him to put a request in writing and we will look to get him out the best we can," said the former England chief.

"If there are people with me and they don't share my passion or the supporters' passion then I guess we will pay them up and just get on with it."

And Keegan is more than prepared to face the freezing winter climes of Blundell Park - a ground that is notorious for it's biting North Sea breeze and inclimate temperatures.

"A cold Wednesday night at Grimsby doesn't faze me and it shouldn't faze the players either.

"If your players run out at Grimsby and don't immediately pull their shirts over their hands, then you know you have got someone who is probably made of the right stuff."

Spotted by Steve B.

King Kev's Appointment

What The Months Ahead Have In Store For The Badger-Haired Manchester City Supremo

JUNE: Keegan is delighted with his new job, announcing: "City are on the way back. It's going to be tough but, 'ey, we're in with a real chance for a UEFA Cup spot the season after next." City immediately sign Keegan favourite Rob Lee, while training matches find Keggy experimenting with four strikers. The players are already fond of him, with Danny Tiatto saying: "He's brilliant. He's just like one of us and he lets us do whatever we want."

JULY: Keegan is increasingly optimistic, saying: "I've got a great squad of players 'ere, all 86 of 'em. I 'onestly think the Premiership title is a possibility in two seasons' time." City announce the signing of Gareth Southgate, who is immediately groomed for a new role, playing just behind the front five. Morale in the camp is high, with one player enthusing: "I tell you what, he always gets his round in. He doesn't treat us like kids. He treats us like the emotionally and socially retarded adults we are."

AUGUST: The season starts away at Rotherham with Keegan proclaiming: "There's a fantastic spirit in the camp. I really fancy us for this year's Eurovision." Keegan ties up the signing of Faustino Asprilla, but the Colombian is deemed "too defensive" for City's new six-up-front formation. The spirit at Maine Road is now dangerously high, with one star beaming: "What a guy. I won ten grand off him last month alone." An early run of four straight defeats (including a 6-4 thriller at Edgeley Park, Stockport) does not worry Keegan, who describes it as "a great adventure."

SEPTEMBER: After ten games, City are firmly anchored to the bottom of the first division. With 45 goals scored already, their first point of the season cannot be far off. Keegan loses his temper in the post-match press conference after an 11-8 classic at Gresty Road, Crewe, blasting: "'ey! 'ey! Don't try telling me we need a goalkeeper. Weaver's doing a great job." When it is pointed out that the aforementioned Nicky Weaver is being played as an old-fashioned inside right and that 'scramble goalie' is not a recognised tactic in professional football, Keegan storms out of the press lounge. Not all is bleak, however, as Keegan secures the services of Philippe Albert, who is an immediate success on the left wing. The players continue to sing Keegan's praises, one telling a restaurant full of embarrassed diners: "That is a man. D'you hear me? A real man. He's my besht f****** mate, d'you hear? Don't look away when I'm talking to you!"

OCTOBER: With winter approaching, relegation is a very real prospect. Several City players have already had a large punt on Conference football within three seasons but Keegan remains bullish. "'ey! I'll tell you what, we're going to win that General Election, y'know. I can feel it." The players continue to back the manager - one saying: "He's really great. He lets me play with poo" - but the signing of Derek Fazackerley as a centre-forward fails to calm the board's - or the fans' - nerves and after a 19-15 home defeat by Grimsby, Keegan breaks down in the press conference, admitting: "I just wasn't good enough. I resign." Another retirement to Spain beckons, but Keegan is already being linked with the leadership of the Conservative Party...

Spotted by James Milne.

From the BBC

"The tactical naivety which haunted him during his time with England is not a problem. City will be playing Grimsby and Stockport next season, not Germany and Poland".

Spotted by Emma Gillingham.

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