Formerly a player and twice the manager of Newcastle United, Kevin Keegan has revealed aspects of the astounding incompetency of Mike Ashley's "empire of self-harm."
The two-time winner of the Ballon d'Or joined Newcastle United as his career was winding down in the early 1980s. Helping the team to regain their First Division status, the former Liverpool and Hamburg man bowed out before they retook their place in the English top flight.
Going on to manage the club in two different spells during the early 1990s and for a number of months in 2008, Keegan is regarded as a club legend among the Newcastle fans.
However, in extracts of his new autobiography being serialised by The Times, Keegan opened up on how he is no longer welcome within the club. On Mike Ashley's word, Keegan isn't allowed anywhere near St. James' Park.
Taking complete control of the club in 2007, Keegan experienced the Ashley regime first-hand. Propped up with a number of the new owner's friends and cronies, Keegan's discloses the amazing ineptitude of the people Ashley put in charge of running his club.
Nobody, however, comes out of Keegan's book looking as quite out of their depth as the man in charge of recruitment, Tony Jimenez.
"I was intrigued by this guy and wanted to know how a property developer had found himself in such an influential role at one of England’s top football clubs. He certainly talked well, but was there any substance to it?"
As Keegan quickly discovered, there wasn't.
Jimenez had positioned himself as a football expert but it turned out this bewildering character — the man in charge of Newcastle’s recruitment, no less — admitted during discussions about potential transfer targets that he had never even heard of Per Mertesacker.
Can you believe that? Mertesacker had made his debut for Germany four years earlier. He was recognised as one of the outstanding players in the 2006 World Cup and had been an ever-present for his national team when they reached the final of Euro 2008.
He was one of the best defenders in Europe and would go on to win over 100 caps for his country. Yet Jimenez didn’t have the foggiest who he was. I tried my hardest to retain a sense of humour and, somehow, I could laugh on occasion at the absurdity of it all.
Incredibly, Keegan goes on to explain how the property developer-cum-recruitment boss also destroyed Newcastle United's attempts to sign Luka Modric before Spurs got a hold of him.
What is sure to be an extremely entertaining book, it certainly looks like Keegan would wholly understand the current plight of Rafa Benitez.