Friday, 18 January 2008

This time he'll get it right (possibly)

For all Havant and Waterlooville's heroics in the FA Cup on Wednesday night (the quintessential plucky non-league minnows spectacularly earning themselves an FA Cup 4th round tie against Liverpool at Anfield, thanks to a 4-2 win against League One leaders Swansea City in their 3rd round replay), there's only really been one football story in town this week: that of little Kevin Keegan returning for a second spell as manager of Newcastle United, eleven years after walking out on the club for what most assumed was the final time.

Can the man who caused an epidemic of bubble perms amongst his footballing peers in the late 70s and early 80s really bring success to the club for a third time (he also enjoyed a successful spell as a player there in the early-80s), or will it all go horribly Pete Tong this time round? Who knows? But it'll certainly be fun finding out.

It's hard to begrudge the bloke any success that might come his way up there, anyway, as he clearly has a passion for the club, which is both unusual and touching in these money-obsessed footballing times.

As an example of just how mercenary many at the top end of the professional game have now become, just look at some of these comments emanating from the mouth of Arsenal reject Lassana Diarra (pictured below), who completed an expensive transfer to Portsmouth on Thursday, yet clearly sees his new club as nothing more than a stopgap on his inexorable rise to the top:

"The people at Portsmouth know that I will not spend my life at the club... I was able to add a clause to my contract. If I shine, if a really big club wants me, I already know that everything will go well... My choice could shock and surprise people, I am conscious of that. But I know the Portsmouth manager, I know he is going to play me..."

So basically he's just become possibly the first player in history to express his desire to leave a club on the very same day he joined them! Now, some may say he's showing a refreshing honesty with those comments, but I say: he's a bumptious tosser.

Going back to the Keegan story, this has proved a remarkably serendipitous week for Setanta Sports: up until 48 hours ago, the Irish broadcaster's choice of Newcastle vs Bolton Wanderers as their live Premiership game this Saturday (which would have been decided upon many weeks ago, as is the way with these live games), was looking about as enticing and viewer-friendly as a weekend of back-to-back repeats of Celebrity Love Island; now, thanks to the (re)arrival of the man Keegan, it's comfortably shaping up to be the game of the week. At the risk of sounding like a David Coleman tribute act here - quite remarkable.

Anyway, King Kev and the Toon Army, this one's for you:

Mark Knopfler - Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero mp3

Buy the Local Hero soundtrack here.

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