Newcastle United; Jan 2008 Transfer Diary - Week 3


Colin Illingworth

Colin is a sub-editor on a regional newspaper and is a die-hard Aberdeen fan. He's prepared to sell his soul to the Devil for the Dons to return to their former glory so Satan, if you're reading this, give him a call!...
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1/23/2008 10:30:00 AM.
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Newcastle fans needed a lift after their second half capitulation at Old Trafford last Saturday and boy did Mike Ashley and Chris Mort supply the goods with the sensational return of Kevin Keegan. Now the Toon Army has something to get excited about, although it could have been or so different if the media was to be believed.

The Sun reported that Newcastle chairman Chris Mort had told Blackburn Rovers boss Mark Hughes that he was the man he wanted to transform the Magpies’ fortunes (15/1/08) and the former Wales boss refused to rule himself out of the running. The following day the Daily Express claimed that former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier was in the frame and the Daily Mirror ran with the story that Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer would not work together.

Speculation surrounding the vacant post at St James’ Park took over the back pages and La Marca in Spain said former Spanish coach Jose Antonio Camacho wanted the job (16/1/08) and former Monaco and Juventus manager Didier Deschamps came in from nowhere to become the bookies’ favourite for the job. The Daily Mail also warned the Toon Army not to expect the likes of Jose Mourinho to take over ... instead, at about 4.20pm on January 16, 2008, it was announced that King Kevin was returning to Tyneside.

With that sensational news Newcastle United were now back in the middle of intense transfer speculation and the media had a huge list of potential targets for Keegan.

Unsurprisingly it was full of attacking players including Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe and Chelsea’s Shawn Wright-Phillips, who were instantly linked with a move north by various news outlets (18/1/08). The Telegraph joined the stampede by claiming Deco, Celtic’s Scott Brown, Bayern Munich’s Daniel van Buyten and Manchester United’s Wes Brown were on his hit list. Manchester City’s Richard Dunne, who has refused to talk about a new contract at Eastlands so far, and Micah Richards have been talked about as potential signings and the Mirror on Sunday claimed that Newcastle are about to enter the race for Tottenham’s Dimitar Berbatov (20/1/08). Elsewhere the Daily Star claimed that Newcastle could strike a deal for Manchester United’s midfielder Michael Carrick and the Sunday Express believes that Keegan could be about to make bids for Portsmouth’s Sol Campbell and Rangers’ Carlos Cuellar.

There is also speculation surrounding Keegan’s number two with Alan Shearer and Chris Coleman, who had the same role with Keegan at Fulham, being linked with the job, but it will be interesting to see who ends up in his backroom staff.

St James’ Park has always been a source of entertainment, whether it be on or off the field, but it looks as though Keegan will need to be given time to assemble a squad capable of entertaining the masses, especially if Saturday’s poor display against Bolton is anything to go by.

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