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Page last updated at 22:36 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 23:36 UK

Magpies hit back at Keegan claims

Newcastle fans
Supporters made their feelings known in Newcastle last week

Newcastle United have issued an extraordinary statement in response to claims by Kevin Keegan that club interference provoked his resignation.

Keegan stepped down as manager on Thursday after stating he had no control over transfer dealings.

"It is a fact Keegan was allowed to manage his duties without any interference," read the statement.

"It is a fact he agreed not to talk to the media in relation to the acquisition or disposal of players."

Keegan responded with a statement via the League Managers' Association (LMA).

"At the time at which I joined Newcastle United Football Club it was made very clear to me that I would have the final say on player movement in and out of the club," it read.

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said an agreement between Keegan and the club over transfers had been broken.

"It was always agreed that the director of football could not impose a player that the manager did not want," said Bevan.

Protests by supporters followed Keegan's departure, with some laying the blame on owner Mike Ashley and executive director for football Dennis Wise, who is believed to be largely responsible for transfer dealings.

The statement, issued on the club website late on Saturday, stressed that Keegan was aware of his role within the club when he was appointed.

"It is a fact that Kevin Keegan worked within that structure from 16th January 2008 until his resignation," added the statement.

"It is a fact that Kevin Keegan, as manager, had specific duties in that he was responsible for the training, coaching, selection and motivation of the team."

Reports suggested that Keegan was upset about the 12m sale of James Milner to Aston Villa, a player it seemed he wanted to keep, and strong rumours that the whole squad was up for sale during transfer deadline day.

"It is a fact that NUFC is a business and operates, like all businesses, with financial constraints," the statement continued.

"It is a fact that NUFC's financial constraints inform its transfer dealings.

"The board of NUFC have responsibility to ensure that the club is able to meet its commitments which include the wages and the transfer fees for players."

Newcastle are now in the hunt for a new manager, although former Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson believes "no manager worth his salt" would want to take the reins at St James' Park under the current structure.

You cannot imagine managers Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger or Rafa Benitez being handed players they did not know anything about

Sir Bobby Robson
"The breakdown between the different job titles has left Newcastle in disarray and it is time for Ashley to sort it out," the 75-year-old told the Mail on Sunday.

"The owner or chairman is the most important person at a football club, the manager is second and everyone else third.

"If a director of football does not have the blessing of the manager, it does not work."

Keegan stated in his resignation note, on the League Managers' Association website, that it was his belief managers "must have the right to manage" and must have the final say on any incoming players.

Those comments could have been made in response to the arrivals of Spaniards Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez on transfer deadline day, who were believed to have been brought to the club by Wise and vice-president Tony Jimenez.

"You cannot imagine managers Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger or Rafa Benitez being handed players they did not know anything about," added Robson.

"And no manager worth his salt is going to take the Newcastle job with the current set-up."

see also
Shearer cool on Newcastle vacancy
05 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Keegan resigns as Newcastle boss
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Ashley set for Newcastle backlash
05 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Reaction to Keegan's resignation
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Fans' fury at Keegan exit
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Keegan's coaching career in photos
02 Sep 08 |  Football
Newcastle sign Gonzalez on loan
01 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Magpies sign Depor striker Xisco
01 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Magpies offer Owen improved deal
31 Aug 08 |  Newcastle
Aston Villa seal Milner transfer
29 Aug 08 |  Aston Villa
Magpies hold 'good' Keegan talks
09 May 08 |  Premier League
Keegan returns as Newcastle boss
16 Jan 08 |  Newcastle