Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is going back to the drawing board with his dream for the club in tatters in the wake of Kevin Keegan's resignation.
The billionaire sent Tyneside into raptures in January when he persuaded Keegan to manage the club for a second time but eight months on, Gallowgate is shrouded in storm clouds again after Keegan announced his resignation on Thursday night citing interference from the board after a dramatic three days at St James' Park.
"It's my opinion that a manager must have the right to manage and that clubs should not impose upon any manager any player that he does not want," Keegan said in statement released on his behalf by the League Manager's Association.
Rumours initially surfaced on Monday morning that the 57-year-old had left his post, only to be followed by statements from both sides insisting that was not the case.
However, the split was confirmed unilaterally by Keegan in the statement, which added: "I have been working desperately hard to find a way forward with the directors, but sadly that has not proved possible.
"It remains my fervent wish to see Newcastle United do well in the future and I feel incredibly sorry for the players, staff and most importantly the supporters.
"I have been left with no choice other than to leave."
Keegan was furious to discover members of his already slim squad had been offered for sale during the final hours of the transfer window after he had reluctantly accepted James Milner's �12million departure to Aston Villa.
But having assured the club's fans he expected to recruit three or four top-quality signings by the time the deadline passed, he was left with only Spanish striker Xisco and loan signing Ignacio Gonzalez to add to earlier arrivals Jonas Gutierrez, Fabricio Coloccini, and Danny Guthrie, and that went nowhere near to meeting his expectations.
A club statement said: "Newcastle United Football Club is sad and disappointed that Kevin Keegan has resigned."
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