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Breaking news – Keegan wins v Newcastle.

Posted on October 2nd, 2009 | 97 Comments |

Keegan: £25.1 million claim.
Keegan: £25.1 million claim.
Kevin Keegan’s Statement:

1.    I am delighted that the Premier League Manager’s Arbitration Tribunal has today formally announced that it has upheld my claim for wrongful dismissal against Newcastle United. The full details of the decision are on the Premier League website and will also be added to the League Managers Association website in due course.

2.    I took the decision to resign in September 2008 only after very careful and anxious consideration. The decision to resign was one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever had to take in my life. I believe that anybody who knows me and my attachment to Newcastle United and the North East in general will understand how difficult this must have been. I very much hope that the decision of the Tribunal now confirms why I felt that I had no option but to resign from the position as Manager of the Club that I love.

3.    The Tribunal has found the conduct of the Club in forcing a player on me against my wishes represented a fundamental breach of my contract of employment. I do not believe that there is any Manager in football who could have remained at the Club in the light of their conduct.

4.    Since my departure there have been many untrue stories written about my resignation, my time at the Club and these proceedings. I do not blame the press for this: I know that the journalists concerned are only doing their job but I hope that the Tribunal’s decision will now conclusively put to rest a number of allegations made against me.

5.    In particular I believe that the Tribunal’s decision makes it clear that:

5.1    I did have the final say on transfers and the Club’s allegation that I did not, which was publicised widely at the time of my resignation and subsequently, was simply untrue.

5.2    The Club admitted to the Tribunal that it repeatedly and intentionally misled the press, public and the fans of Newcastle United.

5.3    I resigned because I was being asked to sanction the signing of a player in order to “do a favour” for two South American agents. No one at the Club had seen this player play and I was asked to sign him on the basis of some clips on You Tube. This is something that I was not prepared to be associated with in any way. The Club knew that I objected strongly to this transfer and were aware that by continuing with it I was likely to feel that I had no option but to resign. Notwithstanding this they nevertheless went on to sign the player at very substantial cost to the Club.

5.4    Contrary to the public statements made by the Club at the time they did not do all that they could to retain me at the Club. In particular they refused to acknowledge that I was entitled to the final say on transfers. This left me in a totally untenable position.

5.5    A number of the allegations made against me by the Club at the hearing in order to support their £2 Million claim against me were totally without foundation and should never have been raised in the proceedings.

6.    I very much regret that this claim ever had to go to the hearing as it did. I want to state categorically that the allegation that has been made in the press that I turned down an offer of £4 Million to settle the claim is simply untrue. No such offer was made to me.

7.    I also want to confirm that a central purpose of my claim has always been to clear my name and restore my reputation. I consider it of vital importance that I was able to let people know about the full circumstances of my resignation and the way in which I had been treated by the Club. I hope that this purpose has now been achieved.

8.    There are a number of technical issues that still need to be resolved by the Tribunal and I obviously will not be in a position to comment on them until after those issues have been resolved.

9.    I would like to thank my family, friends, legal team and the LMA who have all offered me their unstinting support throughout this very challenging period. I would also like to thank the members of the Tribunal itself who have given such fair, able and meticulous consideration to my case.

10.     Finally I would like to thank the fans of Newcastle United for their continued support and wish them and the Club continued success in the current season in their goal of reaching the Premier League.

NUFCBlog Author: Stardust Stardust has written 15 articles on this blog.

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97 Responses

  1. Some will feel he was vindicated for walking, my stance is – he was still wrong to walk, he should have stayed, talked to the fans and board about what had happened and made arrangements to either leave or change the situation.

    Either way – glad the verdict has been made and we can move on.

  2. IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE MANAGER’S ARBITRATION TRIBUNAL

    PHILIP HAVERS QC (CHAIRMAN)
    LORD PANNICK QC
    KENNETH MERRETT

    B E T W E E N :
    KEVIN KEEGAN
    Claimant

    and

    NEWCASTLE UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB LTD
    Respondent

    _________________________________

    AWARD
    _________________________________

    We declare that Kevin Keegan was constructively dismissed by Newcastle United Football Club Ltd for which Newcastle United Football Club Ltd must pay to Kevin Keegan damages in the sum of £2million plus interest to be assessed if not agreed.

    REASONS FOR THE DECISION
    The Tribunal’s reasons for arriving at the Award set out above are as follows:-

    1. Introduction
    In these proceedings, Kevin Keegan claims damages for what he says was his constructive dismissal by Newcastle United Football Club Ltd (the Club) in early September 2008. He contends that when he was appointed as the Manager of the Club on 16 January 2008 (until 30 June 2011) it was a term of his Contract or otherwise agreed that he would have the final say as to transfers of players into the Club (“the final say”). He says that on 31 August 2008, the Club breached that term by signing a Uruguayan player, Ignacio Gonzalez, expressly against his wishes, that this breach amounted to a repudiation of his Contract and that he was therefore entitled to resign which he did on 4 September 2008. As a result, he claims that he has not only lost the salary and other benefits which he would otherwise have received under the Contract, amounting in total, he says, to £8,607,534 but he also claims “stigma damages” on the basis that as a further consequence, he has found it and will continue to find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain work again as a top flight manager as a result of which he will lose up to a further £16.5m representing the income which he would otherwise reasonably have expected to receive up to his 65th birthday.

    2. The Club denies that it was a term of his Contract that he would have the final say on transfers of players into the Club. The Club further denies that he was justified in resigning. The Club contends that he chose voluntarily to resign and that he is thus entitled to no compensation. Indeed, the Club counterclaims as against Mr Keegan the sum of £2m which it contends is payable to him under the Contract.

    3. Background
    Mr Keegan was appointed the Manager of the Club (for the second time) under a written Contract signed and dated 16 January 2008. He had been approached about the position a few days before by Chris Mort, then the Chairman of the Club, and he had asked to meet Mike Ashley (the owner) before deciding whether to take up the appointment. (He was then running his Soccer Circus business in Glasgow). A meeting was therefore arranged to take place in London on 16 January 2008. It was attended by Mr Keegan, Mike Ashley, Mr Mort and Tony Jimenez who was shortly to be appointed Vice President (Player Recruitment). After lengthy discussions and negotiations, the Contract was signed and Mr Keegan was appointed the Manager of the Club at an initial salary of £3million pa.

    4. Mr Keegan’s primary case is that under the terms of the contract, he was to have the final say and that he would never have agreed to accept the appointment as Manager on any other basis. Whether this is what the Contract provides is the subject matter of the first of the issues which we address below. He also contends that at this meeting, he was expressly assured by Messrs Ashley, Mort and Jimenez that he would have the final say. This represents his alternative case and we address it below under Issue 2.

    5. The Club’s case is that nothing was said expressly at the meeting as to whether Mr Keegan should have the final say but that it was implicit from the discussions, in particular from the structure of the Club as it was explained to Mr Keegan and from a number of scenarios which were discussed, that he would not have the final say. The structure to which they refer and which they say was explained to him was what has been described as the Continental model under which the Club proposed to appoint a Director of Football, who would have a seat on the Board and to whom the Manager would report. The Club’s case is that Mr Keegan was told that it was likely that Dennis Wise, then the Manager of Leeds, would be appointed to this post. The Club’s case was that under this structure, the Director of Football and Tony Jimenez would be responsible for player recruitment and they, and not Mr Keegan, would have the final say.

    6. Although we heard a considerable amount of evidence as to events which took place in the months which followed Mr Keegan’s appointment, in view of our conclusions, we can proceed at once to the events which culminated in Mr Keegan’s resignation on 4 September 2008. On 30 August 2008, almost at the end of the transfer window (the final day of which was 1 September 2008) Mr Wise telephoned Mr Keegan and told him that he had a great player for the Club to sign, namely Ignacio Gonzalez, and that he should look him up. Mr Keegan tried to locate him on the internet but could find no reference to him. Mr Wise told him that he had been on loan at Monaco but having checked out the details, Mr Keegan was unimpressed and told Mr Wise that he did not think the player was good enough. Mr Wise then told him that the player was on “You Tube” and that Mr Keegan could look him up there but he found that the clips were of poor quality and provided no proper basis for signing a player to a Premier League Club. Moreover, no one at the Club had ever seen him play. However, notwithstanding that he made it clear not only to Mr Wise but also to Mr Jimenez and to Mr Ashley that he very strongly objected to the signing of Mr Gonzalez (he was to be signed on loan with an option to purchase), the Club proceeded with the deal and the transfer was concluded the following day, on 31 August 2008. The Club did so, according to its witnesses who gave evidence before us, because it was in the Club’s commercial interests to do so. It was what the Club described as a “commercial deal” by which the Club meant a deal which was in the commercial interests of the Club. The “commercial interests”, according to the Club, were that the signing of the player on loan would be a “favour” to two influential South American agents who would look favourably on the Club in the future. The loan deal cost the Club nearly £1m in wages for a player who was not expected to play for the first team but no payment was made by the Club to the agents in respect of the deal.

    7. Although it is clear that Mr Keegan also had concerns about the nature of this deal, his primary objection to it was that it breached what he described as “the golden rule”, i.e. the term of his contract by which he, the Manager, would have the final say and that notwithstanding that he had strongly objected to the proposed transfer, the Club nonetheless had proceeded with it.

    8. The upshot was that despite several attempts by both sides to find a way forward, Mr Keegan concluded that he had no option but to leave the Club because, to use the language of the law, in breaching what he maintained was a fundamental term of the Contract, the Club had thereby repudiated it as a result of which he was entitled to resign. Hence this claim.

    9. The Hearing
    During the course of the Hearing, which lasted for nearly two weeks, we read the statements of and heard oral evidence from the following witnesses:- Mr Keegan, Mr Ashley, Mr Mort, Mr Jimenez, Mr Wise, Mr Lee Charnley (the Secretary of the Club), Derek Llambias (who succeeded Mr Mort as Chairman in June 2008) and Jeff Vetere (who joined the Club in January 2008 as its Technical Co-ordinator having previously been a scout at Real Madrid, Charlton Athletic and West Ham). We were also provided with a considerable amount of documentary material which included, of course, most importantly the Contract and we were referred to a considerable number of legal authorities which we have carefully considered. The Hearing was held in private as is the custom and practice in arbitration proceedings such as these but we were asked by both parties to allow our decision to be made public, indeed we were invited ourselves to take appropriate steps to publish it. We are satisfied that we have power to do so and we agree with the parties that in the circumstances of this case, it is desirable that our decision should be made public. Accordingly, we propose to give certain directions as to the publication of our decision which are set out at the end of this Judgment.

    10. The Key Issues
    At the end of the evidence we identified what seemed to us to be the seven principal issues in the case and invited the parties to focus their closing submissions on those issues. We did not understand the parties to disagree that these were the key issues and thus we propose to set out our reasons for making our Award by reference to each of those issues in turn.

    11. The First Issue:
    What were the duties usually associated with the position of a Manager of a Premier League Football Team in January 2008, in particular as to having the final say/final approval as to transfers into the Club?
    Clause 3.1.1 of Mr Keegan’s Contract provided as follows:-
    “During the continuance of his employment, Kevin Keegan will … perform such duties as may be usually associated with the position of a Manager of a Premier League Football Team (including but not limited to those specific duties set out in Schedule 1) together with such other duties as may from time to time be reasonably assigned to him by the Board”.

    12. Paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 provided:
    “Kevin Keegan will be responsible for the training, coaching, selection and motivation of the Team”.

    13. The first question which arises, therefore, for our determination is as to what were, at the time that the Contract was signed, “the duties as may be usually associated with the position of a Manager of a Premier League Football Team”.

    14. The Club does not contend that Mr Keegan was expressly told at the meeting on 16 January 2008 that he would not have the final say. As we have pointed out above, the Club’s case, ultimately, was that this was implicit (Mr Ashley said “blindingly obvious”) in what Mr Keegan was told at the meeting on 16 January 2008 about the structure of the Club (the model being used) and the various scenarios which were explained to him, that the words in the Contract must be construed against this specific background and this specific structure/model and thus that the “duties usually associated with the position of a Manager of a Premier League Football Team” as used in this Contract did not include the Manager having the final say. For the reasons set out below, we reject the Club’s case on this issue.

    15. We readily accept that at the meeting, Messrs Ashley, Mort and Jimenez told Mr Keegan about Mr Ashley’s plans and vision for the Club, in particular his plan to find and bring in younger players some of whom might later be sold on at a profit and we accept that Mr Keegan was told something of the proposed structure of the Club, in particular that there would be a Director of Football who was likely to be Dennis Wise. (Mr Keegan’s evidence was that Mr Wise was one of the names mentioned in connection with this post). We also accept that these discussions may have included reference to a number of scenarios. However, we do not accept that it was implicit from these discussions that Mr Keegan would not have the final say.

    16. First, we do not consider that it was implicit in the proposed structure of the Club, or the model being used (the Continental model) as it was explained to Mr Keegan and as it was explained to us, that Mr Keegan would not have the final say. On the contrary, we note that Mr Keegan’s successor, Joe Kinnear, asked for and was given the final say yet the structure and the model remained the same and Mr Wise continued in his position as Director of Football without any change to the terms of his contract. Moreover, the evidence which we heard shows that the Director of Football and his responsibilities can come in many guises and those responsibilities may differ from one club to another.

    17. Secondly, none of the Club’s witnesses were able to identify any of the scenarios relied upon, let alone identify a scenario from which it would have been implicit that Mr Keegan would not have the final say.

    18. Thirdly, we do not believe that Mr Keegan would have accepted the job as Manager if it had been implicit in what he was told that he would not have the final say and we unhesitatingly accept his evidence on this point. Indeed, it seems to us to be inconceivable that he would have done so having been told, according to the Club’s witnesses, that it was likely that Dennis Wise would be appointed as Director of Football given his inexperience as top flight manager. (Mr Keegan had picked him as a player in the England team when he was its Manager).

    19. Finally, the Club’s own witnesses themselves seemed to be unclear as to what was the position as to who would have the final say and we had, and continue to have, real difficulty in understanding the Club’s position on this point. The Club repeatedly stated that Mr Keegan did not have the final say but in the letter dated 4 September 2008 from Mr Llambias to Mr Keegan setting out the Club’s proposals for trying to dissuade Mr Keegan from resigning, Mr Llambias stated:-
    “It will continue to be the position that no player will be bought for the first team without your approval, save of course for commercial deals (which we refer to as financials) which will remain within the sole discretion of the Board”.

    20. This was repeated by some of the Club’s witnesses (i.e. that the position was that Mr Keegan had the final say save for financial or commercial deals) but some of those same witnesses then asserted later in their evidence that Mr Keegan never had the final say and Mr Wise was not prepared to accept that Mr Keegan ever had the final say, even apart from financial and commercials deals. This lack of clarity, indeed confusion, in the understanding of the Club’s own representatives as to this critical issue makes it, in our view, even less likely that it would and should have been clear to Mr Keegan from what he was told at the meeting on 16 January 2008 that he would not have the final say.

    21. We turn, therefore, to consider what were the duties usually associated with the position of a Manager of a Premier League Football Team. On this issue, the evidence was effectively all one way. Mr Keegan’s own evidence was that these duties included controlling the players that come into (and out of) the Club (subject, of course, to the financial restraints set by the Board) and significantly he was not cross examined on this evidence (in other words, it was not suggested to him that he was wrong about this). Evidence to the same effect was given by three of the Club’s witnesses, Mr Mort, Mr Charnley and Mr Vetere. We heard no evidence to the contrary effect. This also accords with both the understanding and long experience of the non lawyer member of the Tribunal, Mr Merrett, and, for what it is worth, the understanding of the two lawyer members. Accordingly, we have concluded that the duties usually associated with the position of a Premier League Manager included the right, indeed duty, to have the final say as to transfers into the Club and thus that was the position under this Contract.

    22. We should add that very late in the day the Club sought to rely on the definition of “Manager” set out in paragraph 1 of Section A of the Rules of the Premier League under which “Manager” is defined as meaning “the Official of a Club responsible for selecting the Club’s first team”. However, in our view this takes the Club nowhere. True it is that paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 stated that he would be responsible for the training, coaching, selection and motivation of the Team but Clause 3.1.1 expressly provided that his duties would include but not be limited to the specific duties set out in Schedule 1. It follows that the definition of “Manager” to be found in the Premier League Rules does not assist in the proper interpretation of the Contract.

    23. As it happens, this was also what the Club itself and its representatives (and Mr Keegan) were saying to the public in various interviews and press statements beginning soon after Mr Keegan’s appointment. In a report in the Times of 29 January 2008, which Mr Charnley confirmed as having been accurate, it was stated that “Wise and Vetere will make the initial assessment before calling in Jimenez to do the deal, though Newcastle insist that Keegan will have the final say”. Two days later, on 31 January 2008, Mr Wise gave an interview in the Chairman’s office at the Club which was intended to be and was published on the Club’s website (and reported in the national Press) on the following day. In the course of that interview he stated:
    “I’m not here to be involved in the first team. I am not here to manage. I am here to help Kevin as much as possible in bringing young players through and also recommending certain players to him and he’ll say yes and no. He has the final word and then no one else. I’m not gonna do things like bring players in behind his back. I’m not into that and everything that happens will be run past him and he’ll say yes, as I say, or he’ll say no”.

    24. Two days later, in the Club programme for 3 February 2008, the website interview was included with the headline:
    “Dennis Wise
    “I’m here to help Kevin – he has the final word””

    25. On 23 February 2008, Mr Mort gave an interview with “The Mag” (published independently by the Club’s supporters) in which he stated:
    “Everything that sits below Kevin, everything associated with the first team is his responsibility … Dennis and Jeff will help identify players and Kevin will then say yes or no”.

    26. The Club’s explanation for these statements, which, on their case, were simply untrue, was that they were nothing more than an exercise in public relations carried out so as not to undermine Mr Keegan’s position and made necessary, in the first place, by statements made by Mr Keegan himself to the press. We found this explanation to be profoundly unsatisfactory.

    27. First, the Club did not, we find, explain in any way to Mr Keegan that they felt compelled to make these statements notwithstanding that they were untrue or to clarify and confirm with him that despite what the Club was saying publicly in these statements, he did not have the final say. Nor did the Club speak to him in advance and explain to him what they were proposing to do and the reasons for it. If the Club’s explanation were true, we fail to understand why they did not do so.

    28. Secondly, we do not understand why the Club could not set out publicly and truthfully what they maintain was the true position. After all, Mr Ashley’s vision for the Club involved a change to a Continental structure and it is clear from the evidence that there are managers of some Continental clubs who do not have the final say. We do not understand why the Club felt unable to make this clear publicly from the outset, regardless of what Mr Keegan himself may have said.

    29. Thirdly, for the Club to have made these statements, when they were, according to the Club, untrue, was, in our view, simply to store up trouble for the future.

    30. Finally, we do not accept that these statements were made as a result of anything that Mr Keegan himself had already stated publicly.

    31. The Second Issue:
    What was said and agreed at the meeting on 16 January 2008, if anything, as to whether Mr Keegan would have the final say/final approval as to transfers into the Club?
    As we have noted in paragraph 4 above, Mr Keegan’s alternative case is that at the meeting on 16 January 2008 he was expressly assured by Messrs Ashley, Mort and Jimenez that he would have the final say. This was denied by all three in their evidence. In view of our conclusion on Issue 1, it is unnecessary for us conclusively to determine this issue but we consider that it is probable that although when he left the meeting Mr Keegan reasonably and genuinely inferred that he would have the final say since the Contract provided that he should perform the usual duties of a Premier League Manager, nothing was said expressly to that effect by the Club’s representatives.

    32. The Third Issue:
    Why did Mr Keegan leave the Club?
    We are satisfied that Mr Keegan left the Club (i.e. resigned) because the Club sought to impose upon him a player, namely Gonzalez, whom he did not want, in breach of the term in his Contract which we have found entitled and required him to have the final say. This was his evidence, which we accept, and it is supported by the timing of his resignation.

    33. True it is that he was plainly unhappy with some aspects at the Club, in particular the small size of the squad and the lack of signings which he believed were required to bolster its size, both of which were making him frustrated, and true it is that he plainly had a difficult relationship with Mr Wise and Mr Jimenez but we are satisfied that what triggered his resignation was the Club’s signing of Gonzalez notwithstanding Mr Keegan’s strong opposition to it. Both at the time and to us he described the Gonzalez signing as the final straw and the evidence shows that the Club appreciated that proceeding with it against this wishes might well lead to his resignation.

    34. It follows that we do not accept the Club’s case which is that Mr Keegan resigned because he could not continue to operate within the structure of the Club and that the Gonzalez deal may have represented a convenient excuse for him to do so. First, he told us, and we accept, that he wanted to stay at the Club. Secondly, there were very good reasons for him to want to do so. He had a valuable Contract worth £3m for the first year, £3.2m for year two and £3.4m for year three, plus benefits and he was managing a Club about which he clearly felt passionately and whose fans supported him no less passionately. Thirdly, the Club had had an encouraging start to the new season: in the Premiership, they had drawn away to Manchester United and then won at home to Bolton and in the Carling Cup they had since won away at Coventry. True it is that they had just lost away at Arsenal but that cannot have come as any great surprise. And the atmosphere in the dressing room was described as excellent. Finally, as we set out in more detail below, he was being told by the Club that they wanted him to stay.

    35. The Fourth Issue:
    Was Mr Keegan justified in leaving the Club?
    We have concluded that he was for the following reasons.

    36. First, it is settled law that if one party to a contract is in fundamental breach of that contract, for example, by breaching one of its fundamental terms, that breach can amount to a repudiation of the contract entitling the other party to resign. This is what is known as constructive dismissal. In the present case, we have no hesitation in accepting that the Club’s breach of contract in signing Gonzalez contrary to Mr Keegan’s wishes amounted to a fundamental breach of his Contract. We have no difficulty in understanding how, in a case where he has been given the final say, a Manager’s position, for example, his authority over the players, would be undermined if a player whom he did not want was brought in by the Club over his head.

    37. Secondly, as Mr Wise accepted in his evidence, Mr Keegan had made it clear how strongly he opposed the signing of Gonzalez, yet the Club nonetheless went ahead with the deal.

    38. Thirdly, we do not accept that, as the Club has argued, “the taking of a minor player on loan (without a fee) for the purposes of cementing commercial ties with agents was not a repudiatory breach”. Not only was this inconsistent with the emphasis which the Club placed upon the fact that Gonzalez was a Uruguayan international, but it also misses the point. Gonzalez was a signing which Mr Keegan had opposed, in breach of what we consider to have been a key term of his contract.

    39. Fourthly, the Club also argued that he should have discussed the matter further with it and “taken up the olive branch which was offered” but the difficulty with this submission is that what the Club were offering was not what had been agreed under the Contract.

    40. Finally, we do not accept that Mr Keegan either waived the Club’s breach of contract or affirmed it by confirming on 1 and 2 September that he had not resigned and releasing a statement to the press on 3 September to the same effect. His willingness to see if the position could be resolved could not, in our judgment, involve any waiver on his part. In any event, it is clear that the “final final straw” occurred on 4 September when the Club handed to him the letter to which we have referred above in which it made it clear that were he to remain at the Club he would still not have the final say.

    41. In view of our conclusion on this issue, we do not need to address Mr Keegan’s case as to the propriety or otherwise of the Gonzalez transfer and we do not propose to do so save to note that although it was suggested on Mr Keegan’s behalf that the arrangement was improper and irregular, it was not suggested that it was in breach of any of the Rules of the Premier League or any other applicable or relevant rules.

    42. The Fifth Issue:
    Would the Club have been entitled, at the time when Mr Keegan left it in September 2008, to dismiss him if he had not resigned? If so, on what grounds?
    The Club raised a number of grounds upon which they submitted they would have been entitled to dismiss Mr Keegan had he not resigned on 4 September 2008. We reject them all. Moreover, it is clear on the evidence that the Club had no intention of dismissing Mr Keegan either then or in the foreseeable future. On the contrary, they wanted him to stay, they believed that he was doing a good job and, as was recorded in the letter of 4 September 2008 and in evidence by Mr Llambias, they believed that he was crucial to the future of the Club. We consider that the grounds relied upon should never have been raised and it does the Club no credit for having chosen to do so.

    43. For these reasons, we have concluded the Mr Keegan was constructively dismissed by the Club. We turn, therefore, to assess the compensation to which he is entitled. The Club contended that under the Contract, specifically Clause 14.8.1, Mr Keegan’s damages are limited to £2m. Mr Keegan contends that this clause does not apply, alternatively that it is unenforceable, with the result that he is entitled to damages assessed on the basis and in the sums which we have set out in paragraph 1 above. It follows that we need, first, to determine the issues which arise in relation to Clause 14.8.1 of the Contract.

    44. The Sixth Issue:
    Is Clause 14.8.1 applicable to the circumstances of this case and, if so, is it enforceable?
    Clause 14.8.1 provided as follows:-
    “In the event that the Club terminates this Agreement or requires Kevin Keegan to cease being the Manager of the Club at any time during the Term, other than where the Club has grounds to dismiss Kevin Keegan pursuant to Clause 14.1, the Club shall pay to Kevin Keegan pursuant to Clause 14.8.4 a sum of £2million …(“Payment in Lieu”)”.

    45. It is also necessary to set out Clauses 14.8.3 and 14.9:
    “14.8.3 The parties agree and declare that the Payment in Lieu is a genuine pre estimate of the damages that Kevin Keegan may suffer as a result of the Club terminating this Agreement and takes into account the provisions of Clause 14.9 hereof and shall be in full and final settlement of all claims in respect of such early termination…

    14.9 If this Agreement is terminated by the Club other than pursuant to Clause 14.1 and Kevin Keegan receives the payment specified in Clause 14.8 then, in consideration of such payment, Kevin Keegan agrees and warrants he will not work nor be employed in any capacity for any other United Kingdom Premier League Football Club for a period of six months from the Date of Termination.”

    46. Mr Keegan contended that Clause 14.8.1 did not apply because he left the Club not because the Club had terminated the Agreement but because he had been constructively dismissed. We reject that argument. We consider that, properly interpreted, Clause 14.8.1 is wide enough, and was intended by the parties to be wide enough, to include constructive dismissal. We do not consider that the parties intended that in the event that as a result of a dispute such as this Mr Keegan left the Club the financial circumstances would depend on whether he was constructively dismissed or whether the Club terminated his Contract. Nor do we consider that the parties intended that he should be in a better position financially were he to be constructively dismissed by the Club than were the Club to have terminated the Agreement which, we note, the Club would have been entitled to do either for a bad reason or for no reason at all. Indeed, we can see no good reason why the parties should have so intended.

    47. We also reject the argument that the clause does not apply because the Club has not, in fact, paid to Mr Keegan the agreed sum of £2m. In our judgment, the effect of this part of Clause 14.8.1 is merely that that sum is now owing to Mr Keegan thereby creating a debt which he is entitled to recover.

    48. Next, Mr Keegan contended that Clause 14.9 was unenforceable on the basis that it was an unlawful restraint of trade and that because the two were inextricably linked, Clause 14.8.1 was unenforceable also. Specifically, Mr Keegan argued that the restriction in Clause 14.9 on Mr Keegan working or being employed for any other United Kingdom Premier League Football Club for a period of six months following the termination of the Contract, was unreasonably wide because it would prevent him from working or being employed for such a Club in any capacity, for example, it would prevent him from carrying out any journalistic, administrative or corporate hospitality work for any such Club. In our judgment, there are two answers to this contention. First, we consider the prospect of Mr Keegan accepting work for another Premier League Club in such a capacity (rather than as the Manager, Coach or Director of Football) to be more theoretical than real but, secondly, we do not consider such a restriction to be unreasonable. We can well understand that Mr Keegan may have been of value to another Premier League Club to the detriment of Newcastle United in some capacity other than as Manager, Coach or Director of Football and he would have taken with him, of course, his knowledge of the Club, its players, their salaries, details of their contracts and their position at the Club (for example, whether they were unsettled there or not) all of which might have been of value to the other club. Even his association in some capacity with another club may have given that club a boost which might be reflected by the performance of its team on the pitch.

    49. We also note that the restriction applied only to working for or being employed by any other United Kingdom Premier League Football Club (and thus excluded foreign clubs and international teams and, of course, Championship clubs) and that it applied for only six months. Moreover, the restriction did not prevent Mr Keegan from looking for another job as a United Kingdom Premier League Club Manager during those six months, only from taking up such employment. Accordingly, he would have been fully entitled to enter into negotiations to take up such a position provided that his employment with such other club did not begin until after the six months had expired.

    50. Finally, Mr Keegan contended that the sum of £2m to be paid under Clause 14.8.1 was unenforceable because it was a penalty in that it was not a “genuine pre estimate” of loss, notwithstanding that by Clause 14.8.3 the parties had agreed and declared that it was. We reject this argument also. In our judgment, it would have been impossible to provide anything remotely approaching a precise pre estimate of loss in this case. For example, Mr Keegan might have begun employment with another club immediately after the expiry of the six month period but he might not have done so for, say, a further year or two in which event his loss would be very different. However, on analysis, what the parties in substance agreed was that in the event that Clause 14.8.1 applies, Mr Keegan would receive the equivalent of six months’ salary (i.e. £1.5m at least in year one) plus a further £500,000 to provide a cushion in the event that he did not take up other employment as soon as the six month period expired. In our view, the parties were entitled to assume that, if he wanted to, Mr Keegan would be likely to find further employment, if not immediately after the expiry of this period, then within a reasonable time thereafter, given his experience. In view of the near impossibility of estimating precisely what his loss would be, we consider such an approach to be reasonable and to represent a reasonable pre-estimate of his loss to the extent that it was possible to carry out this exercise at all. It follows that, in our judgment, Clause 14.8.1 does not amount to a penalty clause. We note, although we do not base our conclusion on this, that when cross-examined, Mr Keegan very fairly accepted that Clause 14.8.1 was fair and reasonable.

    51. We conclude, therefore, that Clause 14.8.1 applies and is enforceable and thus Mr Keegan is entitled to damages in the sum provided for in this clause, namely £2m.

    52. The Seventh Issue:
    Is Mr Keegan entitled to any further damages, that is to say, over and above Clause 14.8.1 and, if so, why?
    In view of our conclusion on the Sixth Issue, it follows, as was accepted on behalf of Mr Keegan, that he is entitled to no further damages. However, if we had had to address this issue, we would have decided that the publication of a finding by us that Mr Keegan had resigned because he had been constructively dismissed by the Club and not because he had decided to walk away, would restore his reputation and in evidence he agreed with that proposition. Moreover, he also accepted that he did not know whether or not anything that happened at the Club was going to stop him getting a job. Thus, even if he had been entitled to seek further damages (i.e. stigma damages), which we have found he is not, they would have amounted to very little.

    53. An eighth issue would have arisen as to the Club’s counterclaim for damages against Mr Keegan but this issue does not arise given our finding that he was constructively dismissed.

    54. Conclusion
    As recorded in the award, we, therefore, assess Mr Keegan’s damages for his constructive dismissal by the Club at £2m subject to determining whether there should be any discount for early receipt or for earnings received since Mr Keegan’s constructive dismissal about which we have yet to receive the submissions of the parties. To this must be added interest which we will assess if it cannot be agreed by the parties. It has been agreed that we will determine the question of costs once the parties have been notified of our award and have had an opportunity to make written submissions about costs to us. We will also determine the questions whether there should be a discount for early receipt and/or any deduction for earnings received since Mr Keegan’s constructive dismissal once we have received written submissions on these issues.

    55. Publication
    As indicated at the outset, we agree that both our Award and the reasons for it should be made public. To that end, we direct that both the Premier League and the Club should publish both on their respective websites. It also follows that the parties are at liberty themselves further to disclose and publish the Award and our reasons for it as they choose.

    PHILIP HAVERS QC (CHAIRMAN)
    LORD PANNICK QC
    KENNETH MERRETT

    1 October 2009

  3. Stardust – seems to me that it’s all probably there in black and white, as to exactly why he didn’t do that. Although in truth, I haven’t read the whole lot and I’m going to read it after I take a victory march up to Speedys and grab some bait.

    To be honest, today is great for the reason you state. That we finally have closure. But probably as importantly, I guess it means as much to me that a bloke I trusted doesn’t appear to have let me down.

  4. Well done Kev, not only for winning but also for retaining your dignity throughout. At last now we can find out the truth and but to bed the crass reports that keep surfacing regarding this magnificent club.

    Howay me bonnie lads!!

  5. Just goes to show there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye.

    This statement is a much stronger endorsement of Keegan’s actions that I expected.

  6. Stardust i think you are wrong and i think that any manager including Alan Shearer would have left if he had a player signed behind his back and the only footage was seen on you tube.

    It begs a further question in what was wise thinking and are any of these transfers that he did so called favours for above board. ?

    I am glad Kevin won and he is able to tell us the truth and his side of the story.

    I am also glad he has come out and thanked the fans for all the support and he really is a great man.

    I wish him the best of luck and hope he continues to manage as his team always play good football.

    bet you 10 pounds we here nothing from Ashley or the rest of the cockney mafia :)

  7. While I don’t think Keegan is a scumbag, it is a bit cheeky to be expected to be rewarded up to his 65th birthday. Claiming until the end of his contract is fair enough, but expecting to be paid until he retires is akin to Sir Fred Goodwin of RBS taking his big payoff for leaving the bank.

    So, just how much is Keegan getting? Is it £2m?

    Keegan has proven in a court of law that he was right and that Ashley is an incompetant buffoon. Ok, so we all knew that, but it’s now been proven beyond doubt.

    I still stand by my opinion that it’s wrong for Keegan to be taking money out of the club. Some fans still think it’s good that we are losing the money, judging by some other homes on the internet.
    In conclusion Keegan is not to blame, Ashley is, again. Will we ever get sick of saying that?

  8. Sorry, forgot to say, I expect the sale of the club to go through very quickly now.

    No wonder people were nervous when KK was claiming £25m the greedy bugger. £25m would have indeed crippled the club and probably would have been the death of any promotion push.

  9. Well I have now read in depth – Keegan is a disgrace.

    He has left on a technicality of 1 player, Gonzalez – the club state he was signed for commercial reasons – and Keegan walks out and sues for 25m.

    ONE PLAYER I say again – a minor difference of opinion on why he should be signed.

    The club stipulate Keegan used this transfer as an excuse to walk out as he was unhappy with the size of the squad etc, the panel do not comment – but therein lies the truth.

    Keegan – a technical winner – but a weak willed opportunist from this day forth. Whatever happened to the real Kevin Keegan.

  10. well done sir kevin for showing what a lyeing fool ashley was and still is long live sir kev and ASHLEY OOT

  11. three cheers for KK – hip hip hooray – hip hip hooray – hip hip hooray – and one for luck – hip hip hooray !!

  12. Stardust – try paragraph 34 mate. They say all they need to in there.

    The principle of the Gonzalez issue and the manner in which Keegan was dismissed for objecting to it and what that would mean for the future is why this happened.

    If you can’t accept that, it’s because you don’t want to.

    £25m sticks in the craw and I don’t agree with the argument but that seems to me to be solicitor-led and KK appears to have accepted the verdict and their explanation with good grace.

  13. Post 15 – If, as you say, you’ve read the verdict of the Arbitration panel in full, then you will know fine well it was not “a mere technicality”, seeing as it states clearly that it was, in their verdict, “the final straw”.

    What has been proved in court of law is that Kevin Keegan was constructively dismissed, and that the club willingly lied to the fans – unforgiveable. I’ve been sympathetic on some apsects of Ashley’s tenure, but this is disgusting.

    On the brightside, we can finally move on, hopefully in the hands of someone less disposed of a mendacious nature.

  14. Stardust – While Keegan sued for up to £25 million i don’t think for one moment he ever expected to get anywhere near that amount, you always claim for a higher value. And you say ‘therein lies the truth’ regarding statements from the club, when the panel have proved Ashley and Co to be a bunch of liars. Keegan may have claimed too much but surely you cannot come on here and condemn him without any criticism for the behaviour of the club as well.

  15. omg he tried to sue us for 25 mil and people still love him kk was right for walking and ma is still a w*****r but kk is a greedy t**t

  16. STARDUST the way your going on aboot it any 1 would think you put MA 1st and nufc 2nd now pack it in and abide wit the decision lol

  17. “5.2 The Club admitted to the Tribunal that it repeatedly and intentionally misled the press, public and the fans of Newcastle United.”

    Unbelievably dissapointed and dismayed at this revelation.

    The most damning indictment of the current regime at Newcastle United you will ever read. Factual. Unequivocal. The final, absolute judgement.

  18. Stardust – you deal in facts?

    Read post 24 and the other supporting paragraphs of the findings and tell me you haven’t changed your views about the board?

  19. 24 – Shiver – that needs putting into context against the backlash of Wises appointment.

    BBM – for gods sake! That means you accept the suing of the club and walking out over the difference in opinion of one LOAN player then! Im incredulous!

  20. FFS BBM – read it, I have dealt with law, case summaries, prosecution and defence all my life – think about what you say before you say it.

    Youre on a down hill ski run without any brakes.

    He ran like a little girl one the difference of opinion of one player on loan.

    I dont believe that personally I think he was unhappy generally – but if you stik tot he verdict as you chose to – he ran on the signing of one player only – you can not argue both points. he was either an opportunist hissyfitter – or he ran and reverted to type on one event.

  21. 24 – With respect Stardust, that’s absolute piffle.

    There is, nor should there ever be, no justification for the club to willingly lie to the supporters, especially given the subjct matter concerned.

    Unlike others, I reserved judgement on the case until the facts were presented. Now we have those facts to hand, we all should take the judgement with good grace irrespective of what ‘side’ you may have been on beforehand. Anyone who doesn’t only continues to highlight their inherent predujices to the detriment of common sense in the face of fact and law.

    Now let’s put this tawdry affair behind us and move on…

  22. stardust your backing ashley to the death and your starting to make your self look a fool m8 ashley is a lyeing crook signing a player to keep an agent happy and lyeing to us fans including you m8

  23. what now for ashley ? , oh yes – just a little matter of an investigation by the serious fraud squad for price fixing..it never rains but pours.

  24. Roy Cropper

    ‘what now for ashley ? , oh yes – just a little matter of an investigation by the serious fraud squad for price fixing..it never rains but pours.’

    LOL

  25. the mob were right from day one about ashley.
    stardust you say kk had a hissyfit over 1 player and walked,if he didnt he would of been a doormat.and god knows how many other favours have been done for agents

  26. Bemused – so people back Keegan after reading this – that after the signing of one player it was OK to walk and let the club implode and eventually be relegated.

    right…….I see now I must be a lunatic and in the wrong…….ok batty you win…..,i give in.

  27. The fact is Keegan didn’t just walk on the Gonzalez issue, the club also refused to rule out any further signings of this nature in future.

  28. Like I said hitman – I support NUFC – not one man.

    Cant believe after reading the verdicts people think he was right, sane and honest in his actions….my god.

  29. I think it was wrong Hitman (if you refer to misleading the press) but understandable given all circumstances.

  30. stardust,what gets me about you is your quick to slate kk and the fans in defending ashley,but when we have evidence that ashley is a scum bag you say nowt

  31. “I think it was wrong Hitman (if you refer to misleading the press) but understandable given all circumstances.”

    8O !!!

    Honestly, I have nothing….

  32. I think it was wrong Hitman (if you refer to misleading the press) but understandable given all circumstances.

    you missed out fans.

  33. Stardust – I know we’ve had disagreements in the past but I’m genuinely surprised and disappinted that you’ve taken the news like this.

    I’ve got sh*tloads of work to do (of all days….) so if I don’t respond I apologise.

    Just know, I expected some give and take from you.

  34. If the club were so convinced that the ‘continental’ system was the correct way to run the club despite not being categorically clear with Keegan either on his appointment or subsequently and that there comments to the press / media were not accurate, then why did they agree to change the status quo and give Joe Kinnear the final say when he was appointed? (Para 16)

  35. Bowburn?

    Im shocked at anything other than anyone taking this as a damming indictment on Keegan.

    The Panel do not comment or accept he walked for any other reason than the signing of Gonzalez.

    This is the whole crux of the verdict AND Keegans statement.

    The club wanted to gain future favour with agents for the small fee of 1million – a commercial decision.

    I really am shocked at many of you, very very shocked and saddened actually – the fact you think KK was a) right to walk in such circumstances (not the technical law aspect of it) and b) just in suing the club thereon for 25million.

    Gone is the man.

  36. Mags – I believe the defence of the club was wrongly placed – it should have focussed on the commercial aspect of Gonzalez signing – the rest was a nonsense and irrelevant – Keegan knew a DOF was coming in, they had talked about it and the fact it could have been Wise.

  37. Stardust – You cannot excuse the club lying to the fans, it just highlights what kind of character Ashley is. And if he was lying to the fans what treatment do you expect Keegan got while he was at the club? How can you expect the fans to believe anything that Ashley says in future??

  38. Yes but at the end of the day Stardust it has been proved that the club were attempting to state that under Keegan’s time as manager he did not have the final say on players in and out (despite Keegan’s own understanding in this matter) yet they changed this status quo for Kinnear. I think that is palpably clear from my reading of this award and has nothing to do with on which area the club should have pursued the case.

    Also the murky world of how my beloved Newcastle is run has been laid bare for the whole world to see. Very sad.

  39. Stardust says:
    October 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm
    Bemused – so people back Keegan after reading this – that after the signing of one player it was OK to walk and let the club implode and eventually be relegated.

    right…….I see now I must be a lunatic and in the wrong…….ok batty you win
    <<<< lol no i dont want to win you win cos your never wrong lol

  40. Macas – I do not try to defend that – I have just provided an alternative insight as to why.

    Keegan and the tribunal DO NOT ACCEPT HE WALKED OUT FOR ANY OTHER REASON THAN THIS ONE LOAN SIGNING.

    If they accept it you must accept it.

  41. stardust dont you think it had summit to do with athem trying to keep the agents sweet dodgy dealings

  42. My gast is well and truly flabbered.
    Stardust, I cannot believe that you think it’s ok for the club to come out and state that they lied to everyone. Whatever good Ashley brought to the club have all been washed away by this one statement.
    I too support the club and not just one person. Personnel come and go, but the club lives on. No one person is bigger or more important than the welfare of the club. However the people who run the club are part of it while they are there and for the people with the most influence over what happens at the club to come out and admit that they have lied on this issue is scandalous.

    I never though I would say this, but Keegan was right to walk and this judgement has proven it. I’m still bitter that the club has to pay out the money, but that’s the law of the land and had Keegan managed to get his hands on all £25m and the club was royally shafted then the only people to blame are the people who put Keegan inn this situation, Mike Ashley and his gang of robbers.

  43. ashley is not from peckham is he the nelson mandella estate and dus he have a youger bro called rodney

  44. Batty – remember that your Brazillian superstar who was going to sign for us, if they did a favour for 1m – it could generate tenfold in time.

    That was Ashleys decision to spend it – it was his cash – cant believe the Coward sued us for that.

    Kevin Keegan is as dead as Billy Bunter as far as I am concerned.

  45. Batty – remember that young Brazillian superstar who was going to sign for us, if they did a favour for 1m – it could generate tenfold in time.

    That was Ashleys decision to spend it – it was his cash – cant believe the Coward sued us for that.

    Kevin Keegan is as dead as Billy Bunter as far as I am concerned.

  46. iam glad sir kevin wanted nowt to do with the dodgy dealings and i think ashley is as bent as freddy shep

  47. Im shocked at anything other than anyone taking this as a damming indictment on Keegan

    i agreee todays verdict showed kk in a bad light but you havent admitted it doesnt paint ashley in a good light eother

  48. smike ashleys statement on the club website sorry iam a fat lyeing crook i learnt every thing i know of freddy shepperd

  49. No Batty (61) “The Club will be making no further comments on this matter” – well nowt new there then!

  50. Stardust – your refusal to admit there can be any other version of the truth than the one in your head is bewildering.

    Let me say how I see your argument……

    1) Within the realms of the tribunal, the actions of both parties was reflected upon and in due course the verdict went Keegan’s way.

    2) If you want us to consider the circumstances outside of the law, the one incident he’s been vindicated for, and about which you are wound-up, then in doing so surely you should accept given the evidence that there was a whole lot more going on that could justify Keegan leaving?

    The facts are, that during the tribunal he didn’t need them. They’re merely there now to allow us to reflect on just how glad we can be when the current incumbent move on.

  51. Another area that concerns me is this £1m ‘sweetener’ by bringing in Gonzales – you don’t suppose the FA could be sniffing around our owner do you, as well as the fraud squad?

  52. Beye – I agree that one statement is damaging – but you have to put in in context.

    Wrong all the same but understandable.

    I hate the fact a cheap skate coward is allowed to divert the eyes as he ruined the club.

  53. Mags – commercail reasons – KK has dressed it up in other ways – they were trying to gain favour to get access to other players – Ashley had to pay that 1.0m so he must have judged it value for money and legitimate.

  54. what context ?? and also their is probably 2 that is damaging

    1 the fact that kk didnt want gonzales

    2 ths staement about him misleadingthe fans and media etc

  55. I hope your interpretation is right Stardust, I remain concerned. As I have said previously, the murky world of the running of Newcastle has been laid bare for all to see.

    Let us hope rather than damaging the club, it can have a cathartic affect from which we as a club can move on.

    However, I am firmly convinced to enable us to do this, the current encumbents must leave.

  56. Trying to gain favour to get access to other players by paying £1m. In the real world this is called bribery.

    Stardust, I’m more convinced than ever that you just like to argue or debate as you might see it, with people. Is it some kind of game you play? Pick an argument and see if you can win, even if you don’t truly believe in what you are saying?
    No one can think that Ashley comes out of this with anything but a big steaming pile of crap on his face.

  57. Its amazing how many try and twist this into a Ashley is a liar debate.

    Is that again because the accusation they forced Keegan to sign Xisco, Jonas, Colocini etc etc etc is now shown to be rubbish.

    Ladies and gentlemen – this arbitration process was about constructive dismissal – Keegan walked because of 1 loan signing – he vehemently denies he would have walked otherwise – you have to accept that.

    keegan walked because of 1 loan signing made to favour Newcastle and gain access to other great players.

    There was the reason your King walked and wanted 25million.

    Dress it up any way you wish – but the verdict and evidence is now laid bare for you to see.

    You might choose to try and divert the eyes with the fact the club misled the fans – that was not on trial here – it was the reasons Keegan walked – he succeeded on a limp technicality.

    While I totally accept that the club do not comeout of it in the clear – KK is now hung out to dry as far as I am concerned.

    You can not argue or debate that – Keegan reduced his defence down to this one point – while in law it might have won him 2million – in life and my eyes – he is Kevin Keegan no more..

  58. Stardust – that post doesn’t make sense.

    The reduced defence was all that was needed. Something clear and determinable which would win the battle. The other reasons just seek to support it outside the court. But they are far more damning in their entirety.

    All of the evidence, other than the £25m part of it paints only one party in a bad light.

    I can’t see how you can see it any other way.

    And the substantial amount can be countered simply because we know that’s how the sols operate when claiming damages. Aim high and hope to get somewhere near what you deserve.
    They have written objectively that he appeared to accept the dismissal of that particular claim with good grace and accepted their suggestion that the victory itself would clear his name and negate the need for compensation.

  59. BBM – can I ask how much experience you have of these things?

    The Panel ruled – KK was happy – KK stated he was Happy – he was not about to walk out – he argued that! The club said he was about to walk – he denied it – its a major inconsistency to argue two sides of the verdict.

  60. Kevin Keegan won his case for constructive dismissal.

    Unarguable.

    Irrespective of your feelings towards him, he has been vindicated in a court of law. There is no grey area regarding this, and anyone who wishes to try and argue otherwise in defence of the club’s heirachy are – how can I put this delicately – not on good speaking terms with either common sense or the truth.

    As someone who is neither an Ashley hater or Keegan lover, such words cannot be spun.

  61. KK only states he walked because of this issue BBM – and he was so disgusted he wanted 25m.

    The truth imo is that he was unhappy – this was a catalyst – but he couldnt say that as he would have lost 2million and lost his case.

    Either keegan lied or he didnt – if he didnt you have to accept he was happy and therefore he walked for next to nothing.

  62. If on the other hand he lied – and the truth was outed – he would have lost his case and be assigned to where he belongs.

    I am so blumin saddened that people can not read and take in these things – but form opinions all the same.

  63. Therein lies the problem, Stardust. It’s merely an opinion garnered from the verdict, whereas i’m sure BBM would counter-argue that it shows the club up in an extremely bad light.

    The one thing – the only thing – that can be stated with any degree of fact sans supposition, guesswork and tittle-tattle is that Kevin Keegan was successful in his claim for constructive dismissal (on a seperate note, the £25 million claim is a moot point: it’s common practise in legal terms to start off with an artificially high figure in cases such as this).

    On previous posts regarding this case, I did state I would reserve judgement until the facts of the case were presented. Now we have it, i’m satisfied we have a conclusion and can, in theory, attempt to return to some sort of semblance of reality. Some chance…

  64. Stardust,

    “The truth imo is that he was unhappy – this was a catalyst – but he couldnt say that as he would have lost 2million and lost his case.”

    The tribunal accepted that KK was unhappy about other things at the club but they also accepted that KK didn’t walk out for any other reason than the club breached it’s contract with him about the final say on transfers. The Nacho deal was the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was *not* a ‘commercial deal’. The club was just throwing up a smokescreen with that.

    The tribunal said:

    Thirdly, we do not accept that, as the Club has argued, “the taking of a minor player on loan (without a fee) for the purposes of cementing commercial ties with agents was not a repudiatory breach”. Not only was this inconsistent with the emphasis which the Club placed upon the fact that Gonzalez was a Uruguayan international, but it also misses the point. Gonzalez was a signing which Mr Keegan had opposed, in breach of what we consider to have been a key term of his contract.

  65. Now you really are just being frickin contrary!

    Why does it mean he lied?

    It was undoubtedly the catalyst and it was at the same time all that was needed to win the tribunal. Why do they have to be mutually exclusive?

    And why is it not fair that he wins on his technality and that we can consider everything in it’s entirety? One instance of him being undermined would have led to others. He also clearly states they didn’t do all that they could to keep him. And it’s implied by him and from others giving evidence that the relationships weren’t great and that the communications were misleading and explicitly states they were intentional in some cases. Why would he want to stick around in that sort of situation?

    I respected your arguments in the past but find it difficult to accept you can’t or won’t see that your understanding was flawed?

  66. He won his appeal with the technality but he walked because of what it represented.

    Yes, I get it.

  67. Stardust, even if it was just about the signing of one player (which, according to the findings of the Arbitrary panel it wasn’t), it was still ultimately grounds for constructive dismissal as evidenced by today’s judgement.

    The current regime have set a dangerous precendent in openly admitting lieing to supporters over a major issue; surely any future utterings from such individuals cannot hold any credence?

    Kevin Keegan is no hero of mine (neither is Ashley the devil incarnate), but like it or not he has been vindicated in a court of law.

    There are occasions when you just have to acede to things/decisions you don’t necessarily agree with. Such is life…

  68. stardust king kevin won ashley the twisted crook lost hes no better than freddy shep in my eyes GET IT

  69. There has been too much read into the ritual over-advocacy (from both sides) and inevitable legalese. Such is the way tribunals function. The bottom line is this whole sorry affair probably cost the club its Premiership status. It should have been settled quickly last year when KK and MA were deep in post walk out discussions when a clear, clean break was needed. It’s all slightly meaningless now, except for KK, who will (rightly) feel vindicated but far from virtuous.

    Despite the bluster and ludicrous claims, all that has happened is the Tribunal has pointed to the compensation clause in the contract, and asked MA (trading as NUFC) to honor it. As a gentleman he could admitted the de facto breakdown in relations with KK and have sorted this last year, moved on and saved the club wasteful legal fees (a lot more than £2m I suspect) and uncertainty – and appointed a proper replacement.

    But, alas, MA is no multi-tasker, and until this trifle was resolved, or the club sold, its day to day welfare was of no importance to this bloody-minded hawker until we slid under the waves through his sheer neglect and denial.

    I have some sympathy for Stardust’s view (…I said ‘some’..) but can see where a situation like this becomes irresolvable but for 3rd party arbitration / intervention. However, a tribunal is not a football game, you can’t win 5-0, a technicality is all it takes and KK probably could have won on several, including Milner’s sale; his legal team simply chose the most damaging.

    Let’s hope opposing factions have kissed and made up by tomorrow and this does not represent a long term schism, as I suspect neither KK nor MA are about to play any role in the long term future of the club. Pleased about the result, unhappy about the fact the whole sorry incident ever occurred.

    Closure, PLEASE!

  70. Mike Ashley has over seen a regime that has been totally discredited and humiliated!

    Just because he didn’t do you dirty work himself doesn’t make him any less culpable!

    His regime, his responsibility!

    Saddam Hussein had generals to do his dirty work….

    At last we’ve seen all in front of us and it’s filthy.

    Can we ever believe anything that the club says now?

    The tie between the supporters, the city and the club has been broke and won’t be repaired until he has taken his generals and fcked off!

    ‘Get out of our club, get out of our club, you fat cockney bast*rd get out of our club’!

    I’ll be singing that tomorrow without a doubt!

    Oh and shame on KK for asking for £25m!

  71. My god, the humanity…..the humanity! All this proves is Ashley’s regime is bent and Keegan couldn’t conscience it. His claim for £25m, while being punted around, could have been a misnomer…..he tried to blast a hole in Ashley rather than the club.

    The £2m while be paid sharpish and, hopefully, the sale while glide through soon after.

    In any event, another obstacle has now been removed between us and promotion.

    The dream of unity inches ever closer!

    Excelsior Out!!

  72. Has anyone considered the possibility that Keegan claimed 25 million to get his day in court as Ashley wouldn’t fork out that amount willingly??

    If Kegan asks for 2 million ( paid off without the truth)
    If Keegan asks for 4 million (paid off without the truth)

    However, he asks for 25 million, Ashley faints then tells him not a chance in hell….Thus we have a court hearing and the whole truth comes out!

    One really damaging point to come from this is signing of a player “that isn’t intended to play in the first team” paying 60k per week in wages!! Where do you think these wages were going?? In effect we were probably paying the agents brother 60 grand per week for a 12 month holiday in the uk and several parties splitting the money!! This must be illegal in some way, is this the new way Agents get their bungs??

    Then the letter received by Keegan stating that he would have no future control over these “commercial deals or Financials” it beggars belief that a club could operate in this way.

    Having read the whole document and had time to digest it I feel that Keegan was fully vindicated in his decision and if the time ever arose for a third spell at the club he would get my backing.

  73. Headline should read “Keegan wins v Ashley”

    Why is Stardust allowed to post on this (otherwise sensible) blog?

    The bloke’s a first rate buffoon

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