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Friday, May 7, 1999 Published at 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK

Sport: Football

Fulham confirm Keegan departure

Fulham say Keegan will lead Fulham for the last time on Saturday

Fulham have confirmed that Kevin Keegan will leave the club after Saturday's match against Preston to become full-time England coach.

Mohamed Al Fayed: "If I have to make a sacrifice, I'll make it" (BBC Radio 5 Live)
The club's managing director Neil Rodford said that owner Mohamed Al Fayed had been formally approached by the Football Association in a bid to appoint Keegan on a permanent basis.

"Although Keegan remains under contract, it is obvious that he will not lead Fulham in their First Division campaign next season," said Rodford.

"Tomorrow's game against Preston will clearly be Kevin Keegan's last in charge and the club is glad he will be present for the game and the celebrations."


Paul Bracewell and Frank Sibley will take charge of the second division champions while Fulham search for a replacement.

Last week Keegan said he wanted to continue as the national team coach beyond his original four-match deal.

But Fulham were hoping the former Newcastle boss would see out the remainder of his contract at Craven Cottage. He has already steered the club into the First Division.

[ image: Keegan initially agreed to be England coach for four games]
Keegan initially agreed to be England coach for four games
On ITV's The Sports Show on Thursday he said it was not feasible to combine the two roles.

"I think what we've got to get back to is that you can't do the two jobs, that's what I've found, otherwise you jeopardise both parties and that includes Fulham Football Club,'' said Keegan.

He said he had considered the matter carefully: "I've thought about it long and hard - I haven't just come out.


"If I had gone straight away and taken the England job with 12 games left for Fulham, and Fulham hadn't got promoted, that would have been the biggest disservice that I could have done to the people who work at Fulham and the players and the fans.

"I stuck with it, I said I didn't want to go, I wanted to take it part-time.

"But having had it for two games, my heart tells me to take it and if the Fulham fans do not understand that, and I'm sure there will be plenty who don't, then I have to say to them well I'm sorry, that is the way I feel.''

When Fulham secured promotion last month, Keegan insisted he would lead the club's drive for a Premiership place.


Now he admits he got carried away in the heat of the celebrations.

"That's before I took my second game with England and got the bug I suppose.

"I'm not going to make any apologies for that because I think football is an emotional game, and sometimes you can say things.

"I like Fulham Football Club very much and I don't think anyone could have worked harder at Fulham than I have and the people there."

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