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Newcastle deny 'Keegan sacked' reports

  • Story Highlights
  • Premier League Newcastle say manager Kevin Keegan has not been sacked
  • Sky Sports News said 'sources close to the club' had told them otherwise
  • Keegan reportedly at odds with owner Mike Ashley over transfer dealings
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(CNN) -- Newcastle issued a statement on Tuesday insisting they have not sacked Kevin Keegan after a day of intense speculation over the manager's future.

Protesting fans turned out in force at Newcastle after reports that manager Keegan had been sacked.

Sky Sport News had reported that 'sources close to the club' claimed that the 57-year-old had left the club in the wake of meetings held following the closure of the transfer window.

"Newcastle United can confirm that meetings between members of the board and manager Kevin Keegan were held both yesterday and today," the club confirmed in a statement on their Web site.

"Kevin has raised a number of issues and those have been discussed with him.

"The club wants to keep progressing with its long-term strategy and would like to stress that Kevin is extremely important, both now and in the future.

"Newcastle United values the effort and commitment shown by Kevin since his return to St James' Park and wants him to continue to play an instrumental role as manager of the club.

"For the avoidance of doubt, the club has not sacked Kevin Keegan as manager."

Keegan returned to Newcastle for a second spell as manager in January of this year, hailed as a returning hero by fanatical supporters of the success-starved north east of England club.

It was a major coup for the club's new owner Mike Ashley, who had quickly lost patience with previous manager Sam Allardyce.

Under Keegan, the team lost six of his first eight matches, but a late revival saw them finish a respectable 12th in the Premier League.

But the issue of finances to strengthen the squad appeared to put him at odds with Ashley while Keegan was also reportedly unhappy with the appointment of former Leeds manager Dennis Wise as executive director of football.

Last week Newcastle were forced to sell James Milner to Aston Villa in a 12 million pounds deal, Keegan having earlier claimed that the England under-21 international would not be leaving St James' Park.

He was also frustrated in his attempts to add to the signings of Argentine pair Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez, with the club's only business on transfer deadline day the signing of Spanish striker Xisco and the loan of midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez.

Rumors of Keegan's departure spread quickly on Tuesday as he did not turn up to take training and was reported to be in a crisis meeting with Ashley.

Following a glittering playing career with Liverpool, Newcastle and England, Keegan retired from playing in 1984.

He returned to the game as Newcastle boss in 1992, lifting them back to the top flight and a string of high finishes in the Premier League before leaving in 1997 to manage Fulham.

Keegan left Craven Cottage for an unhappy spell as England manager from May 1999 to October 2000 before returning to club management with Manchester City the following year.

After his departure from City in 2005, Keegan stepped out of the public limelight until his sensational return to the north-east at the start of the year.

Newcastle started this season with a creditable 1-1 draw at Manchester United and a home win over Bolton, but then followed a 3-0 thrashing at Arsenal.

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