Sat, 12 Mar 2005


Man City's Keegan quits again

Agencies, London

Former England manager Kevin Keegan left Manchester City on Friday after refusing to commit himself to a new contract.

The Premier League club said the former Liverpool and Hamburg star was leaving immediately "by mutual consent" with 18 months of his current deal still to run. Keegan had been manager for almost four years.

Former England international leftback Stuart Pearce, who is a coach at the club, will take charge of the team until the end of the season.

"We all believe this is in the best interests of the club," the team said in a statement. "Kevin's professionalism, infectious enthusiasm and drive for success have benefited all areas of the club.

There was no immediate comment from Keegan.

But Keegan earlier said he didn't want to stay on at Man City after his contract ran out in 2006.

One of England's greatest ever strikers and European player of the year in 1978 and '79, Keegan has had modest success as a manager.

He got Newcastle promoted to the top flight in 1993 but blew a 12-point lead in the championship three years later as Manchester United overhauled the Magpies in the second half of the season.

Keegan was famous for an emotional outburst when he ranted at rival manager Alex Ferguson in a live post-game TV interview.

After a brief spell at Fulham, he took the England job in May 1999 but that lasted just 17 months.

Despite beating traditional rival Germany, England was knocked out in the group stage at Euro 2000. Keegan's men threw away a two-goal lead against Portugal and a 2-1 advantage against Romania to lose both games.

When England lost at home to Germany in its first qualifying match for the 2002 World Cup, he walked into the press room to announce he had quit.

Keegan took over at Manchester City after the club was relegated from the Premier League in May 2001 and took the team straight back to the top flight.

"Kevin has taken the club from the uncertainty created following our relegation to Division One, winning the First Division title with tremendous style, through to the longest spell the club has spent in the Premiership," the City statement said.

Other people already linked with the job include Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager recently fired by Valencia and former Southampton manager Gordon Strachan.