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Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Magpies 'naive' over Keegan exit

Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias
Ashley (left) took over Newcastle in June 2007

Newcastle United chairman Derek Llambias has admitted the club underestimated the anger of fans over the departure of Kevin Keegan.

Supporters staged protests after team boss Keegan left the club in September in a disagreement over transfers.

Llambias said: "The reaction was so big it was na´ve on our part - we didn't realise how big it would be.

"Kevin is the messiah. He is a great guy, I promise you, Kevin was where we wanted to go."

A group of fans again staged a protest against club owner Mike Ashley in Newcastle city centre before last Sunday's 0-0 draw with Everton at St James' Park.

But Llambias said that, having ridden the storm that followed Keegan's departure, he and the board were now looking to move forward with the backing of the fans.

Ashley bowed to pressure from Newcastle fans and put the club up for sale just 10 days after Keegan left, but he has now taken Newcastle off the market.


"Mike Ashley is back on board, it's gone, we are not for sale," Llambias told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"The supporters have been very patient with us, please carry on being patient with us."

Newcastle are just five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, but Llambias insisted that things are looking up.

"We will get there and I'm sure that will be reflected on the pitch," he said.

"We have got a great squad, I mean when you look at the squad if they are all fit and up to it we are right up there."

Newcastle are still in the midst of a legal case with Keegan regarding his settlement after leaving the club, but Llambias claimed that the parties were close to an agreement on that front.

"We are trying to resolve our differences with Kevin and hopefully we will get there very shortly."

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see also
Llambias warns of prudent future
25 Feb 09 |  Newcastle
Kinnear on track for April return
24 Feb 09 |  Newcastle
Keegan resigns as Newcastle boss
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle

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