Newcastle, Liverpool legend reveals Alan Pardew's biggest strength

Alan Pardew

Kevin Keegan believes Alan Pardew’s ‘character’ makes him suited to the Newcastle job.

Keegan is a hero at St James’ Park, spending successful spells as both a player and manger at the Tyneside club, and being the man in charge who came so close to winning the Premier League title in 1996.

Having led the Magpies to within one game of their first domestic title since 1927, Keegan endured a similar fate in the 1996/97 season - once again finishing second to Manchester United. He left the club in 1997, working briefly with the England team, before making a surprise return to the Toon in 2008, although he lasted just a short while due to interference from Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise.

As a player, Keegan’s greatest successes came with Liverpool, with whom he won three First Division titles and the European Cup in the 1970’s, before moving to Hamburg and being named European Footballer of the Year in two consecutive seasons.

Despite his successes on the continental stage, Keegan has remained loyal to Newcastle, and he backed current Toon boss Alan Pardew to be a success at St James’ Park, claiming that the playing squad are showing clear signs that they support their manager.

Speaking to the Chronicle, the 63-capped former England international said: “The one thing that’s obvious is that the team’s behind him: you don’t go to places like Tottenham and Man City and win, or Liverpool at home when they desperately needed a result, without having great team spirit.

“So that’s what Alan’s got, he’s got a lot of character.”

Having worked under the ownership of Mike Ashley, Keegan is well aware of the situation at Tyneside, and he admitted that Pardew’s previous record with Newcastle has been the reason he has been afforded more time to prove himself this season.

He added: “Remember it was only two years ago he was manager of the year so things do change quickly in football.

“But sometimes you have to give people who have done it before a little bit more patience, and just respect the fact that actually they’ve done better than this.”

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