‘Never seen anyone have that’ – Alan Shearer on Kevin Keegan’s connection with Newcastle supporters
Alan Shearer gave insight into the special relationship between Kevin Keegan and Newcastle United supporters. In 1992, Keegan ended an eight-year hiatus from the sport to become Magpies boss and in doing so launched one of the most memorable eras in the club’s history.
The former Ballon d’Or winner first steered Newcastle away from relegation to the third tier before earning promotion to the Premier League the following season. At that moment, the black and white roller coaster began to take off.
Supporters rode the crest of a wave as Newcastle emerged as challengers, splashed a world-record transfer fee and came a hair’s breadth away from winning the top-flight title. Despite the heartbreak of losing a 12-point lead and ending the campaign empty-handed, the era of “artists” holds a special place in the hearts of all who were there to experience it.
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Keegan’s role in transforming Newcastle’s fortunes has earned him eternal messianic status on Tyneside and Shearer – who only played under the 71-year-old for five months – was stunned by his generosity to supporters .
“I’ve never seen anyone have a relationship with the fans like him,” he said. Podcast of the Top 10 of the match of the day. “I mean, you sign autographs and you have pictures, but he would be there for hours. After a game, after training.
“When I came to Newcastle in 1996 it was the manager who signed me. It was amazing because we had this training ground and he used to leave and encourage the fans to come see us.
“Every day there were 6,000 people around the training ground watching us practice – it was crazy. Honestly, it was completely insane. It was his whole idea encouraging everyone to come and watch training.
“What he did all the time was have sevens on the pitch and of course the fans loved that. He was like ‘Come on guys, do half an hour, do an hour’ and you can imagine the reaction of the guys.
“He was there for hours, signing autograph after autograph. I had never seen anyone do that before and have that relationship with the fans. He was brilliant that way.”
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