Toon need to sort out structure - LMA

NEWCASTLE United need to sort out their internal structure to ensure the next manager at St James's Park does not suffer the same fate as Kevin Keegan.

Keegan yesterday quit for the second time in his career, citing interference from above – particularly having players he did not want foisted upon him – as the deciding factor.

Fans have been quick to blame owner Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise, who was installed as executive director (football) after Keegan's appointment in January.

And Richard Bevan, the boss of the League Managers' Association, says the club need to sort the situation out.

"Newcastle failed to create a structure where Kevin Keegan could flourish," said the chief executive.

"It was like having an orchestra with three conductors and sooner or later, it was going to break down."

Reports this morning suggest Keegan is now liable to pay Newcastle 2m compensation for walking just eight months into a three-and-a-half-year contract.

However, Bevan believes there are more pressing issues for Ashley and his board to concentrate on.

"I think I would have liked to hear Newcastle talking about how to build a model that works, how they are going to create a clear chain of command," he said.

"The dispute between Kevin and the club is in the hands of the lawyers, but at no time in our discussions did Kevin talk about compensation.

"The most important thing for Kevin was that the manager must have the right to manage.

"A couple of nights ago I was with Kevin for a long period of time and his sole focus was with the fans.

"He was torn, and when he had no alternative but to resign, his thoughts were for the fans. That sends a message to Newcastle."

LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson agreed with Bevan that the decision to have a football executive was doomed to failure.

"If you are going to work in a football club then the most prominent person in that club is the man called the manager, or the guy who is responsible for the first team," he said.

"So to create a position which is going to result in friction through lack of communication, through a failure to communicate what the role is etc, seems to be a recipe for disaster – particularly if you bring someone into that position between manager and board after you have appointed a manager."

Bevan added: "I've heard a few people saying the continental model doesn't work, but I think it does in certain situations.

"It is different for Kevin because he was in charge before other people came on board.

"The next person who comes on board has to make sure there is a clear chain of command and there are shared goals."