Keegangate: Club Admits Lying To Fans

Saturday, October 3, 2009 7:20 | Filed in Newcastle United

I’ve resisted talking about Kevin Keegan’s claim for constructive dismissal against Newcastle United up to now, because up to now it hasn’t been settled. I’ve bit my tongue — on this blog at least — as I’ve seen posts in other pages suggesting that Keegan mustn’t really love the club, not if he’s willing to extract up to £25 million from its coffers and send it plunging into administration.

Like some others I expected that this was a load of nonsense — if the club did go into administration, Ashley would just become a creditor like the rest of them and the value would be worth a lot less to him. On that basis, on the assumption he had other monies around somewhere, it would make better business sense for him to prop the club up against a higher value in a future sale.

However, irrespective of this, what I didn’t understand was fans who seemed to have the point of view that Keegan shouldn’t take any money out of the club. Bollocks. If he’s been constructively dismissed, he’s entitled to compensation. That’s what the purpose of the tribunal is for. Just as anyone else — including jobs where they are paid from public monies and so theoretically cost all of us — is entitled to a claim for constructive dismissal if such is appropriate.

And, lo and behold, the tribunal did find in Kevin Keegan’s favour and awarded him £2 million. When I saw the award was for £l;2 million, I did initially wonder whether some elements of the claim had gone against Keegan, but from what I can tell, there was a rather key part in his contract, which limited compensation to £2 million, and so this obviously came into play.

The case centred around the club’s signing of “Cheesy” Nacho Gonzales, who turned out to be mostly injured with a side helping of not-particularly-that-good-anyway. Keegan hadn’t wanted to sign him. Wise / Ashley had, citing that the loan deal was a necessary financial deal — that despite paying over £1 million out, this would be of financial benefit to the club in the longer term, as it was a favour to two South American agents. Nacho was signed against Keegan’s express wishes, and he resigned.

The bit however that I found most damning to Ashley et al is the bit where they state that all of their public proclamations to the fans (in The Times, The Independent — and others) about Keegan having the final say on transfers were not actually true, and that this was done as a public relations exercise seems to me to be saying “it’s perfectly okay to lie about the state of the club to the fans if it makes us look better”.

The Club’s explanation for these statements, which, on their case, were simply untrue, was that they were nothing more than an exercise in public relations carried out so as not to undermine Mr Keegan’s position and made necessary, in the first place, by statements made by Mr Keegan himself to the press. We found this explanation to be profoundly unsatisfactory. [...]

Thirdly, for the Club to have made these statements, when they were, according to the Club, untrue, was, in our view, simply to store up trouble for the future.

Premier League Manager’s Arbitration Tribunal

You got that last one right.

But the idea that was shouldn’t trust Ashley and Co is, frankly, is the opinion that most fans have now developed of their own accord through having listened to what has come out of the club since Ashley took charge. But it is damning how willing Ashley and the club are to admit it: it seems to be something of an indication that Ashley knows his position with the fans is untenable and not salvageable and just wants out.

Well, I’d like him out too. And while I’d rather someone backed with a rather large wedge of cash comes into the club, I’ll settle for anyone who will run the club properly and be honest with the fans.

And although while Chris Hughton has done a marvellous job since the summer and it would be really unfair to replace him after a takeover, I’d replace him after a takeover. For two reasons: firstly because the owners should be ruthless in doing what is right for the club in the longer term, whether or not it is nice; secondly because it appears that if you are a caretaker manager in the North East you are capable of doing a good job until such a point in time as you are given the job permanently, at which point it goes downhill rapidly (Roeder at the toon, Sbragia down the road).

As an aside, is there really any point to Mark Lawrenson?

I heard him being interviewed on Radio 5 and he had no idea why Keegan was only awarded £2 million, saying something along the lines of ‘who knows how the tribunal arrived at that figure’. Well, I did, Mark, because I’d actually read about it an hour or so before. You on the other hand appeared on national radio and demonstrated your ignorance about events relating not only to the sport you’ve made a career from, but also your colleagues. It’s not like the tribunal decision was hidden, since a link to it was posted on the home page of the Premier League’s website.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment to Keegangate: Club Admits Lying To Fans

  1. says:

    August 31st, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Blogging For Fun and Education…

    [...]It’s a known truth that right knowledge can be very important when doing work for the first time and even more it if is important to us..[...]…

Leave a comment