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‘Keegan’s football career deserved a happier denouement’

In football messiahs should never reach middle age. Far better that they suffer martyrdom young or fall under a bus before their 40s.

Otherwise they become mere mortals. This is what has happened to Kevin Keegan, whose final exit from the game at 54, which his departure from Manchester City surely is, has been his least dramatic, with nary a fiery chariot in sight.

After half a lifetime as player and manager Keegan looked for a sign saying Way Out, took it, Authentic Prada Nylon Messenger Bag and closed the door quietly behind him. Nobody at Authentic Prada Fairy Bag Sale City stood in his way and nothing became him less than the manner of his leaving. The news made big but hollow headlines on the sports pages. Keegan had already announced his intention of retiring when his contract with City ran out at the end of next season.

Little unsettles footballers more than uncertainty about who will next be picking the team and when. David James, the Manchester City goalkeeper, clearly spoke for the squad when he said the players needed to know what was going to happen in Keegan’s final year.

At least that small matter has been cleared up. Stuart Pearce, Keegan’s assistant, will be in charge of team affairs for the time being, which gives the former England defender a useful opportunity to show the managerial qualities more than a few suspect are lurking behind that wry, quizzical countenance.

Plainly Keegan has had enough, not so much of Manchester City as football management in general. His tired post-match responses probably did not reflect disenchantment with a game he will Black Prada Doctor Bag always love but he will doubtless be happier watching it from a distance between rounds of golf and sunny days in Spain.

Keegan did little wrong at Manchester City but unlike his career as a player his experience as a manager has tended to follow initially spectacular bursts of achievement with flat anticlimax. After Authentic Prada Clothing taking over from Joe Royle following City’s relegation from the Premiership four years ago he brought them back at the first attempt.

In a way Keegan became deflated by the Premiership plutocracy. The Manchester City side of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison that played exceptional football in winning the championship in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969 and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970 was largely homegrown. Apart from such notable signings as Colin Bell (ex-Bury), Mike Summerbee (Swindon) and Francis Lee (Bolton), practically everybody else had begun as a City junior.

Keegan spent more than £50m not on building a Manchester City squad to win the Premiership but Authentic Prada Handbags Online principally to keep them in it with the outside hope of finishing high enough to earn a Uefa Cup place. His signings were not inspired, although surely his worst judgment was getting David Seaman on a free transfer from Arsenal when the goalkeeper was clearly past it.

He leaves Manchester City virtually certain of Premiership football next season but, after Monday’s home defeat by Bolton and early departures from the FA and League cups, with little to enthuse their fans for the remainder of the season.

Keegan’s football career deserved a happier denouement. It may be hard for those who were not around in the 70s to realise the enormous impact he made at a time when the England team were in the wilderness, hooliganism Are All Prada Products Made In Italy was rife and the game seemed to be heading for hell in a handcart.

Keegan’s attacking partnership with John Toshack revived Bill Shankly’s fading Liverpool side and laid the foundations for Agata Ruiz De La Prada Shop On Line the glories that followed Authentic Prada Shoes For Sale under Bob Paisley. Keegan had moved to Anfield from Scunthorpe United for £35,000, a move later described by Shankly as “robbery without violence”.

When he decided to join Hamburg in 1977 the nation was stunned, for though Keegan was no George Best he was arguably the first British footballer to become fully aware of the importance of promoting himself with good PR and shrewd commercialism. It was much harder then to imagine English football Authentic Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shop Online Prada Outlet Online Uk without Keegan than with the more recent loss of David Beckham.

After a sticky start at the Volkspark, Keegan became a hero in Hamburg, twice being voted European player of the year. Then another sudden exit was followed by a totally unexpected re-entrance down at Southampton, whose manager Lawrie McMenemy observed after one foreign trip: “Kevin Keegan is so famous that when we were in the casbah even the blind men were calling out his name.”

At Newcastle, first as player then as manager, he revived apparently hopeless causes. Yet as a manager, with Newcastle, England and Manchester City, though to be fair, not Fulham our web page, his revivalist tendencies did not embrace an ability to keep winning teams winning. He supplied the kiss of life but, unlike the great managers, could not keep a finger on a team’s pulse when things went wrong.

Yet as Newcastle manager he suddenly made football fun again and produced some outstandingly entertaining matches. And for that, recent English football will be forever in Kev’s debt.

Maybe Keegan should not have gone into management in the first place. Interviewed at the height of his playing career he said he would not mind becoming prime minister. Oh well . . .

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