Ashley must change structure – LMA

THE League Managers’ Association have urged Mike Ashley to change the management structure at Newcastle United to help Kevin Keegan’s eventual replacement, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

THE League Managers’ Association have urged Mike Ashley to change the management structure at Newcastle United to help Kevin Keegan’s eventual replacement, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan attempted to help Keegan reconcile his differences with the United board this week and has had a unique insight into the way the club is being run behind the scenes.

Bevan believes there have to be changes made at the top or the same problem which drove the former England boss out will re-emerge.

He said: “It looked a little bit like an orchestra with four conductors. They had everybody on the bus, but they weren’t on the same seats. It was going to break down sooner or later.

“I think if you look at a football club when people are running it from different parts of the country, when you’ve got a manager who doesn’t know who being signed who’s leaving and who’s coming it’s a recipe for disaster.

“When you have someone as experienced as passionate and full of pride as Kevin is you’re going to inevitably come to the situation that we all find ourselves in – that is a great respected man not in the game.

“I’d like to see Newcastle talking about how to improve for the next manager, rather than coming out saying they are going to sue Kevin Keegan for £2m.

“The successful clubs have leadership at the top and a good recruitment process. They take on quality people and there is a process in place so that they have clarity of roles and they are all working together.

“The important thing is to make sure the structure is there. ”

The Journal understands Keegan was confident a compromise could be reached on Thursday morning, but that changed when he received a letter from managing director Derek Llambias which appears to have inflamed the situation. Bevan was keen not to openly criticise the Newcastle board, but he hinted that Keegan’s willingness to find a solution was not matched by the club.

He added: “I had a call to meet Kevin. We were there to try to turn the situation into a positive one. He was really keen, massively keen to make it work. He had discussions with the Newcastle board, but unfortunately yesterday a letter arrived answering some of the issues he had.

“He was very unhappy about that and felt he had no alternative but to resign. He was desperately sad and sorry for the players and staff – and especially the fans.”

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