For many of those watching footy on Saturday, and maybe had some money riding on a few sure winners (Spurs v Newcastle, anyone?) they were in for a hugely astounding surprise.
This being April fools day, I was hoping to use this game for a gag (Newcastle scored 4 and Spurs and went on to win the game! HAHA April Fools!) but it was not to be.
Newcastle (away no less) trounced Tottenham 4-1 at White Hart Lane, and while we’ve all come to know and love Tottenham (at least the Gooners have) for their pitiful defensive record, who’d have guessed Newcastle would be the team to exploit this weakness?!
Kevin Keegan is (if nothing else entirely) a very entertaining person, and has quite a way with words (e.g. "I know what is round the corner, I just don't know where the corner is. But the onus is on us to perform and we must control the bandwagon").
As a player, he was quite simply amazing, with successful stints at Liverpool and Newcastle, and he held down a regular England spot for a while. But as a manager, he is comically naive, with his tactical shortcomings apparent and his man management leaves something to be desired.
His style of full on, do or die attacking football is attractive at times, but that is all he focuses on (leave the defense for the assistant coach, eh, Keggy?)
After being hired to coach Newcastle (for the second time, mind you), while the club were in freefall, Keegan was expected to revive Geordie fortunes and returning the team to former glory, and everyone expected the "Messiah" to deliver when it counted. After all, he'd done it once before at the Toon, hadn't he?
The Geordies cheered their saviour and jeered the naysayers who believed it couldn't be done. Ten games on, and not one win, the fans were restless (football fans do lean towards impatience, don't they?).
Not quite calling for the "Messiah's" head, but getting antsy as relegation loomed. After Geordie hearts were set on Europe at the beginning of the season, 15th wasn't all that appealing.
Fast forward to April 1st. Newcastle got a draw against Birmingham, courtesy of Owen, and a 4-1 win over Tottenham has launched Newcastle into 12th place and almost assuredly safe from relegation.
Keegan has (so far this season) celebrated various triumphs by squirting Lucozade into the air, high fiving, and clapping hardily.
To borrow the cliche (apologies), time will tell us whether Newcastle are destined for European glory or the chill of the Coca-Cola League, but it sure will be fun watching them play Keegan ball.