EXCLUSIVE: Toon chief blasts heroes Shearer and Keegan in foul-mouthed rant
Published 23:01 12/11/11 By Brian McNally
Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias stunned Toon Army fans by unleashing an astonising, foul-mouthed rant in public on Geordie icons Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan.
The former casino boss — who virtually never gives media interviews — delivered a withering condemnation on the managerial abilities of the Magpies legends in front of startled onlookers in a Newcastle gastro bar.
Llambias, who along with Toon owner Mike Ashley has enraged Toon fans by re-branding historic St. James’ Park as the Sports Direct Arena, blamed Shearer for Newcastle’s 2009 relegation and claimed there “will never be a right time” for the former England skipper in management.
And in a blistering broadside aimed at Keegan, the Magpies MD claimed the former England boss is unable to cope with the stresses and strains of management.
Llambias railed: “Kevin Keegan can’t take pressure. His f****** head is all over the place.”
He also made a shocking claim in a meeting with fans last month that Keegan’s second coming as Newcastle manager in 2008 came about because he was the preferred choice of potential Arab buyers. He revealed: “Mike (Ashley) was selling to the Arabs and they wanted Kevin Keegan.
“The Arabs wanted him, the fans wanted him — perfect!”
A candid Llambias admitted he was at fault for recruiting Shearer as manager in April 2009 when Newcastle were battling to avoid the drop.
Llambias said: “Shearer was my choice and I have to hold up my hands — the wrong choice.”
Referring to the relegation battle and the managerial team of Shearer and Iain Dowie, he claimed: “Shearer, for this, destroys us. He gave all the responsibility to Dowie. Rubbish!”
A supporter suggests “It wasn’t the right time” for Shearer. Llambias responded brusquely, and said: “It would never be the right time. Shearer? There would never be a right time in football.”
When one of the onlookers suggested Shearer is arrogant, Llambias agreed and said: “You guys have given him that arrogance.”
What will perplex Newcastle fans about Llambias’ put-down of the Geordie hero is the fact that days after relegation, Ashley issued a statement in which he said: “Bringing Alan Shearer back to Newcastle United was the best decision I have made.”
Chris Hughton succeeded Shearer as manager and led Toon back into the top flight at the first attempt as champions (below, left).
Hughton was sacked by Newcastle a year ago, and is now manager of Birmingham.
He was also in the Llambias line of fire when one of the group asked why he was dismissed.
Llambias responded: “He would never have taken us where we want to be.
“That’s my decision by the way.
“Chris can’t make decisions. If I am asking about a player, Ben Arfa? he says ‘I’m not sure, blah blah’.
“With Chris, he couldn’t cope with where we are mentally. We are aggressive.
“You need to be aggressive. I don’t want a manager below me who can’t argue.”
But of all the colourful claims made by Llambias perhaps the one that will not be disputed by Toon fans is: “You guys don’t understand how f****** horrible we can be.”
After last week’s act of soccer sacrilege at St. James’ Park, many Geordies believe they understand only too well.
Newcastle declined to comment last night.