Kevin Keegan Parts Company with Newcastle

Serge WickerContributor ISeptember 2, 2008

In the past couple of minutes I have read on BBC Sport that Kevin Keegan, Newcastle United manager, has parted company with the club he was welcomed back to so warmly eight months ago.

After taking charge from the unsuccessful former Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, Keegan had a bad spell at the helm, before ultimately leading Newcastle to a strong finish last season.

But only three games into the new season and Keegan has already parted company with the club he has loved for so long. Reportedly, the Englishman was unhappy at the lack of control he had when it came to dealing with transfers—as the club only brought in striker Xisco, 22, for £5.2 million, and Ignacio Gonzalez on loan on transfer deadline day.

Before this though, Keegan's future had looked bright. He had signed Jonas Gutierrez from Real Mallorca, who looked sharp and lively as Newcastle recording a well-earned draw at the champions Manchester United, before a win at home against Bolton.

Unfortunately, things had taken a turn for the worse when Newcastle were nearly surprised by Championship side Coventry, before Michael Owen saved them in their Carling Cup 3-2 victory.

Speculation has been rife that the Newcastle manager is unhappy with the current situation at the club—especially after owner Mike Ashley was seen downing a pint in the loss to Arsenal and, a bit longer ago, when Dennis Wise was brought in to overlook the transfers of the club.

But it was only recently that Keegan was linked with leaving after James Milner left for Aston Villa for £12 million and Joey Barton, recently released from prison, was brought on controversially in the last few minutes of the match against Arsenal.

Despite having little time, the convicted criminal still managed to commit a very dangerous, but luckily successful, tackle on fantastic summer signing Samir Nasri, who showed exactly how he felt about it by tripping up the Newcastle player seconds later.

Despite Newcastle's inevitable excuses, one of them cannot possibly be the performance of the club so far this season. Plagued by injuries to Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins, it is little surprise that Newcastle have struggled against champions Manchester United and flowing football masters Arsenal in their opening three games of the season.

In reality, with two very difficult fixtures in the first three four points is not bad, but 11th position is not where Kevin Keegan would like to be. 

Keegan's controversial stance over Barton has been further intensified by the club's desire to sell him, but Keegan insisted that he stayed. Finally, however, Keegan had enough and now becomes the fourth casualty in three years following the departures of Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder and Sam Allardyce.

Now the pressure is mounting on Mike Ashley, as he becomes ever more unpopular with fans following rumours of Michael Owen's refusal to sign a new contract.

Newcastle's troubles may not be over yet.