Former Newcastle United manager Bobby Robson has entered the fray on the Kevin Keegan saga, urging the club's director of football Dennis Wise to move north from his London base or quit. Keegan quit on Thursday just eight months into his second spell in charge after criticising the board for not giving him control over transfer policy, with Wise bringing in players he did not want and knew nothing about.
Robson, sacked by the Magpies just four games into the 2004/05 season, since when the club have dismissed another four managers, told The Mail on Sunday he wanted to see more commitment from Wise if the former Chelsea midfielder was to wield continuing influence at St James' Park.
". These days the worry for Newcastle fans, myself included, is that the football side is being run by a man 300 miles away," Robson said, adding he sympathised with Keegan.
"It is no surprise that Kevin Keegan left this week. For a proud manager like him, it must have been impossible to work under the control of Dennis Wise. First of all, the director of football was more powerful than the manager, which should never be the case.
"And secondly, they did not work in unison, which means communicating face to face. How could they, when Kevin was there at the club, and Wise was not? You cannot work for Newcastle United from the other end of the country.
"Dennis Wise has to be based in Newcastle, meeting the manager regularly, talking to him, understanding what he wants. If he will not do that and put the club first by moving north, you have to get rid of him."
And Robson said the current mess at his former club would simply not be tolerated by successful outfits such as Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool. "," he said.
"And no manager worth his salt is going to take the Newcastle job with the current set-up. There have often been tough times at Newcastle but I cannot believe how far the club have gone backwards since I left in 2004.
"I cannot see any way back soon unless the next manager is trusted to make decisions on players, signings and a director of football. Bringing in pals - whether they are pals of Keegan's or Wise - is no use."