not a word widely used to characterise Mike Ashley's
time as Newcastle
owner, but he has pulled off a stroke of PR genius in his legal battle with
Keegan wants up to £25 million from Newcastle following his
acrimonious departure from St James'
Park last autumn.
But Ashley has let it leak that such a
settlement could force the club into administration.
A Toon 'source' said: "Keegan is crazy. Does he really want
to bankrupt Newcastle?
"For a bloke who says he loves the club,
this is all very, very strange."
Keegan quit in protest at a management
structure that saw Dennis Wise sign absolute duffers like Fabricio Coloccini,
Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez without his knowledge.
He wants the remainder of his £9m contract
paid up and is also claiming for future earnings.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of 'Cockney Mafia Out'
banner-waving Geordies sided with Keegan, but the prospect of a 10-point
penalty and huge financial upheaval changes things significantly.
Ashley has cleverly shifted the debate away
from the real issue of whether Keegan was constructively dismissed and deserves
Instead, the question is now what will happen
to the club if Keegan does get a big payout - and whether King Kev really wants
to push the Toon over the brink.
Ironically, by taking Newcastle to the brink of ruin since Keegan's departure, Ashley has thus managed to strengthen
his position in the fight against his ex-manager.
cannier than he gets credit for...
- - -
Steve Bruce has weighed into the great stoppage time debate by claiming - shock
horror! - that Manchester United tend to get a minute or two extra when they
need a goal.
He said: "The manager has such a
way about him that referees know he's
watching the clock.
"With what he has achieved and
his standing in the game, it gives him that power to make sure the refs add the
As the scorer of a legendary header
deep into injury time in 1993, Bruce knows full well this has been going on for
While you can understand Manchester
City's annoyance at conceding a
decisive derby goal in the 96th minute, it should come as no surprise to anyone
who has watched football at any point in the last 15 years.
This season, statements of the
bleeding obvious seem able to create massive controversies: players dive
sometimes, clubs tap up youngsters, Emmanuel Adebayor is an idiot and Manchester
United get lots of injury time.
Next week; uproar as bear dung is
found in arboreal surroundings.
- - -
Police have dropped their probe
into the clash between Craig Bellamy and a Manchester United fan who ran onto
the pitch at Old Trafford on Sunday..
While Bellamy shoved the bloke in the face,
which a picky observer could construe as assault, surely nobody believes that investigating
this sort of nonsense constitutes a proper use of police time - especially in a
city with six times the national average robbery rate.
The boys in blue should stick to what they
are good at - keeping Daily Mail columnists in gainful employment by harassing
motorists and prosecuting greengrocers for selling a pound of carrots.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY 1: "There is no better
psychological education than growing up in a pub because when you are five or
six years old you meet all different people and hear how cruel they can be to
each other. You hear the way they talk to each other like saying 'You're a
liar.' And from an early age you get
a practical psychological education into the minds of people. It is not often
that a boy of five or six is always living with adults in a little village."
Arsene Wenger is surely the only man who can
describe living in a pub
as "a practical psychological education."
QUOTE OF THE DAY 2: "I don't feel under pressure. Pressure from what? I want to
get results, that's what I'm looking for." Portsmouth manager Paul Hart shortly before storming
out of a press conference. What pressure?
FOREIGN VIEW: River Plate's Ariel Ortega has been recalled by Argentina for the first time in six years for a
friendly against Ghana
The 35-year-old Ortega, who played at three
World Cups between 1994 and 2002, was included by coach Diego Maradona in a
19-man locally-based squad for the Sept. 30 match in Cordoba that will serve as
a warm-up for World Cup qualifiers next month.
Maradona has just undergone treatment for
stress and weight gain at a plush hotel
in the Italian spa town of Merano.
Argentina are fifth in the South American group with their final
qualifiers at home to Peru
on October 10 and away to Uruguay
four days later.
The top four in South America qualify
automatically for South Africa
while the fifth-placed team has a playoff with the fourth-placed side from the
North and Central America and Caribbean
COMING UP: We've
got live scoring of no fewer than 11 football competitions today. If you're one of those compulsive types, why not have a
flutter on Lechia Gdansk to get three points at home to Zaglebie Lubin
- available at even money on Eurosport Bet.