Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Canny Kev

King Kev's comment in the wake of yesterday's defeat by Chelsea, that the Premier League "is in danger of becoming one of the most boring but great leagues in the world", seems to have ruffled a few feathers in the media - see, for instance, Phil McNulty's rather indignant piece on the BBC site. No great surprise there, though, given that an exciting league is what the media craves (and strives to portray the Premier League as, whether the reality fits or not).

As McNulty grudgingly hints, however, Keegan's personal agenda for saying what he did in the context shouldn't be ignored: "Keegan may just be indulging in a spot of expectation management to calm the ambitions of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, and if this is his motivation it is actually a clever move". By rejecting rather than merely downplaying our chances of breaking into the top four next term, he was being realistic, and preparing the ground for a season in which we again fall short - but at the same time he still urged Ashley to make the financial commitment necessary to strengthen the side so that fifth is an achievable target.

Perhaps it's that realism that's been such an affront to everyone? After all, it hardly tallies with the caricature of Keegan the naive and optimistic dreamer. The comments may not be as clever as McNulty suggests, though, if a disgruntled Ashley interprets them negatively as defeatist - and to the ears of some fans used to being inspired and invigorated by Keegan's words they may have that depressing ring too.


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