It was with total gobsmackedness that I greeted the news that Australia had actually elected a Prime Minister called Kevin, not so long ago, and I have been astounded by the fanfare which has greeted Kevin Keegan after he ended a prolonged sabbatical this week and returned to take the reins at Newcastle United, as the Magpie Messiah.
After seeing rather too many Ford Escorts, in my time, with Kevin and Tracey emblazoned across the windscreen, I have to admit that my expectations of anyone called Kevin are pretty low. Despite knowing quite a few Kevins, many of whom are total bricks, they don't quite aspire to the status of hero and in fact, the name Kevin usually promises such ordinariness, that I suspect that if Superman had been created this side of the Atlantic, he would definitely have disguised himself as Kevin Kent.
Kevin Keegan is the ordinary-bloke-done-good par excellence - the quintessential football hero. Despite the fiasco of his frizz and a pop career, which never quite took him to Vegas, he's one of the last icons of English football. He represents so many of the values of previous football generations and is the total enthusiast rather than the technocrat of the modern game. Newcastle seem to have chosen the Dr Feelgood quick-fix over the long-term slog of Allardyce and the only problem they have yet to face, is that of getting Shearer in the tent pissing out, as opposed to his recent habit of being outside pissing in. If he's not given a role, it's always going to look like he's John the Baptist heckling Jay-Cee during the Sermon On The Mount.
But say what you like about Keegan, the media clamour has been astounding. My memory's not great but I can't quite remember the same acreage of newsprint greeting O'Neill's arrival, or the same level of traffic in football chatrooms across the web, discussing its implications. So when it comes to media interest, despite their rather empty trophy cabinet, it looks like Newcastle are seen as bigger news than Villa. The general prejudice seems to be, that Newcastle are the sleeping giant, the fans of other clubs would prefer to see snoozing on. Their ambition matches that of their local bank, Northern Rock, which has enjoyed very similar success.
In terms of the media, King Kevin is manna from heaven.
What with Ferguson, Allardyce and Redknapp all not speaking to the BBC, out of pique at Auntie's red-top antics, in traducing these guys or their relatives, the relationship between the media and the Premiership's managers, has never been worse. McClaren has even fallen out with the Daily Mail for inventing the headline 'Wally With The Brolly'. It seems to have all gone a bit crazy and any kid stuck without satellite or cable, might actually think Carlos Queiroz is in charge of Man United these days. For reasons no one has yet explained, not even the sponsors, who presumably would prefer to see the manager standing in front of their logo, have any choice but to lump it. Keegan promises something better. Once the words 'war chest' have been uttered, they can print what ever they like.
Presumably, if 'Head Over Heels In Love', can be forgiven, Kev will do the honourable thing and forgive the media for their many crimes of passion, against him.
It seems no coincidence that on the very night that Vera Duckworth makes her final appearance in Corrie, that an old character from the long-running soap opera known a Newcastle United, should return for the joy of an avid and addicted audience. Both characters enjoyed their best years with a guy called Jack and both characters are famously associated with a long-running dysfunctional family. Both families had a wayward son sent to gaol for GBH (Terry and Joey). Spooky or what?
Keegan seems to prove that there are very few footballers who manage to achieve the status of cool and that all attempts to do so are destined for failure. Keegan (Super Mouse to the Germans) totally validates the great philosopher Izzard's analysis of coolness, which he describes as circular, and which starts at Dickhead at one extreme, moves on to Ordinary and then gets progressively cooler until reaching a maximum coolness rating of Totally Cool, which once exceeded turns into Dickhead again. Footballers just have too much money and too little taste to prevent them arriving sooner or later at Dickhead. I offer the evidence of Beckham flipping into Dickhead when he chose that Mohawk hair-do: see the link below for evidence.
Sir Les is cool and God was cool but football is more about sincerity than cool. Graham Taylor is probably king of the anti-cool but for me he is unsurpassed as Villa hero. Of course in this world where style always holds sway over substance, he is unjustly held in lower esteem than he deserves but every day Villa have had in the sun since Mr Taylor arrived, owes a debt to him.
But it seems, I might have to re-assess Graham, after I enjoyed a rosy glow this week, when I read the story of how he agreed to be the best man at the wedding of a Watford fan he didn't even know but who had the total cheek to ask him. Just imagine having a Villa legend as your best man - how cool would that be?
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