Newcastle United have denied that manager Kevin Keegan has been sacked, and insisted they want him to remain in his job. "For the avoidance of doubt the club has not sacked Kevin Keegan as manager," the Magpies said in a statement, adding they hoped he would stay on "to play an instrumental role as manager of the club."
Some media reports claimed that Keegan, 57, had been dismissed, others that he had resigned in the wake of meetings held following the Premier League club's failure to make any major signings before the close of the transfer window at midnight yesterday. But Newcastle rebuked these rumours in a statement on their official website.
"Newcastle United can confirm that meetings between members of the board and manager Kevin Keegan were held both yesterday and today. Kevin has raised a number of issues and those have been discussed with him," it read. "The club wants to keep progressing with its long-term strategy and would like to stress that Kevin is extremely important, both now and in the future. ."
Angry supporters had gathered at the club's stadium and voiced their dissatisfaction at reports Keegan was to be sacked less than eight months after his high-profile return to Tyneside. Reports said the former England coach was disgruntled at Newcastle's failure to make three or four major signings before deadline day drew to its conclusion.
The club's only business on the final day of the window was the £5.7-million arrival of Spanish forward Xisco, and the loan signing of midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez. In another apparent bone of contention, Keegan recently claimed James Milner would not be sold, only for the winger to join Aston Villa in a £12-million deal.
The former Magpies striker, who also managed the club from 1992 to 1997, delighted fans by returning for a second spell at the St James' Park helm in January, to replace the sacked Sam Allardyce. Newcastle are currently 11th in the Premier League, having taken four points from their opening three games.