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Macca: Keegan will leave City Kevastated; SPORTING TEASE.


FOR the Carling champagne, just tell me which former Chelsea player broke a toe when trying to break the fall of a salad cream bottle back in 1990.

The winner from a fortnight ago was Angela George from Carmarthen who remembered Mark Hughes played for Wales against Czechoslovakia in Prague before flying to Germany to line up for Bayern Munich on the same day.IT was in the wake of England's victory over Albania that, in true Bridget Jones fashion, I made a note to self:

''The memory of Kevin Keegan has finally been obliterated, let us never speak of him again.''

And until now I'd been content to leave him well alone. But sometimes you receive a sign, almost divine intervention that's simply impossible to ignore.

There they were, four words I never thought I'd live long enough to see in one sentence: KEVIN KEEGAN and MANCHESTER CITY.

Call it manna from heaven. Call it six winning balls. Call it an invitation for a long weekend on the Cote D'Azur with just Elizabeth Hurley for company.

Because it don't get much better than this.

And before Manchester City fans start writing or e-mailing with their streams of blue invective, here's the rub: I DON'T CARE.

Manchester City sack Joe Royle as, quite conveniently, rumours abound of Maine Road becoming home to a drinking school to which Oliver Reed would have struggled for admittance.

So what do the City board do? They make overtures to a manager whose whole ethos is based on being one of the boys, one of the chaps.

Tactics? What tactics? It's yahoo, cheers and bottoms up for the Great Tub Thumper!

City preach stability then give the job to a man whose firecracker temperament saw him threaten to walk out on Newcastle whenever things weren't following the script.

Keegan thrives on adulation and his charisma will insure he's carried shoulder high through the centre of Manchester by City fans desperate to have the good times back again, but they deserve a damn sight better.

He'll arrive with that jaunty swagger of his, saying all the right things, laughing, joking and indulging in the sort of banter that makes him such a salt of the earth guy, the sort fans love.

Another promotion may follow, another street party with fans flocking to pay homage to the little man and his patented box of fireworks.

Somewhere towards the end of the first year, though, reality will take a huge bite out of City's fantasies.

The Premiership will beckon and Keegan will need to strengthen in at least five or six positions. For that, he'll need big money. But City will be moving into a new super-stadium with all the costs that come with it.

The board will try and compromise, Keegan will stamp his size fives and all hell will break loose.

There'll be threats, accusations and deadlines drawn up. It might even be that the board convince Keegan to stay, but by then too many words will have been spat in anger for anybody to sit comfortably.

Before long something (probably minor in the greater scheme of things) will irk Keegan again and there will be the equivalent of Hamleys in the half-price sale - the toys will go flying. And he'll be out the door.

There you have it, boom and bust Keegan-style. Quite simply the last thing City can ever afford.

For a club who, more than anything, need some kind of lull away from the demands and expectations of a frenzied fan base, Keegan will be a disaster.

He will strive for the highest of highs, but don't hold your breath. And when things aren't going his way City will totter from ecstasy to despair in exactly the same way they've done for the past 25 years.

What that club needed was the steadiest of hands on the tiller, not a man who steers an erratic path with neither fear nor comprehension of the icebergs which lay ahead.

It's all been done with such undue haste, as well.

In just four days, City have made a decision which will have such huge ramifications for the club.

Has nobody there heard of planning?

So raise a glass, then, to the return of good old Kev, I'm sure the City players will be doing exactly the same.

And that's just the point. Who's going to be there to stop them?


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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:May 27, 2001
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