Ten years after his acrimonious departure from Newcastle United, Kevin Keegan and Tony Jimenez continue to argue. Indeed, with the release of the former England captain’s book, explosive claims as to the incompetence with which the Magpies were (and continue to be) run during his second stint at the club have been all over the media.
However, Jimenez (formerly in charge of player recruitment at St. James’ Park) has hit back. As reported by the Times, he’s suggested that Keegan didn’t want to sign the likes of Karim Benzema or Samir Nasri during their rise to prominence at Lyon, along with another.
Newcastle United – Daniel Sturridge, 2008
Daniel Sturridge – who would snub a move to the Magpies in January 2018 – was reportedly turned down by Keegan, who had worked with the player during his formative years at Manchester City.
Now, perhaps Jimenez is playing up the fact that Newcastle missed out on signing him because of Keegan as a retort for the embarrassment he must have suffered following his ludicrous call not sign Luka Modric. Perhaps he’s telling the Gods honest truth, who knows.
However, the most interesting part of the Sturridge story, is the fact that little under a decade later, he’d opt to move to a doomed West Bromwich Albion under Alan Pardew on loan instead of the Toon Army.
During the intervening period, the striker’s career has seen him experience an awful lot. Such was the prodigious nature of his talent, a move to Chelsea in 2009 saw him set a tribunal record as a youngster moving between two clubs and he’d later win major trophies such as the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League during his time there.
Not a major player in West London, a move to Liverpool in January 2013 saw him form perhaps the deadliest strike partnership in modern Premier League history with Luis Suarez and one that took the Reds painstakingly close to a Premier League title. That kind of form saw him lead England to the World Cup in 2014 as the country’s marquee player, before injuries seriously ruined his upward trajectory.
Now back at Liverpool, after suffering the indignity of moving to the Hawthorns, and scoring in the Champions League against PSG as Jurgen Klopp eyes the title, it’s certainly been eventful for the forward.
For Newcastle, however, it hasn’t been.
The only journey the Magpies have been on is to the Championship and back. Aside from one season under Alan Pardew and the appointment of Rafa Benitez as the club’s manager in 2016, it’s largely been a miserable story on Tyneside.
Clearly, that’s not to suggest that Keegan moving for Sturridge (and even that story is up for debate) would have changed that. However, a near miss 10 years apart shows how things quickly change in football, except at Newcastle.