Kevin Keegan has spoken of the affinity he shares with the Geordie region on his return to St James Park as Newcastle manager.
Keegan made a shock return to the club for his second spell as manager on Wednesday, 11 years after his first spell came to an end.
During his first spell in charge he led the club to promotion and came close to winning the Premier League, squandering a 12 point lead to Manchester United in the 1995-96 season. The stress of that campaign apppeared to unsettle Keegan and within 8 months he quit the club saying he had taken them as far as he could.
The former England, Manchester City and Fulham boss, who has has succeeded Sam Allardyce, believes he can revive the fortunes of the north-east club
He told talksport: “It’s a big job. It’s a great club and people outside the region don’t understand it.
“You listen to the phone-ins and people talking about it. They’re people who don’t understand this place, they don’t understand the Geordies.
“I do. This is my third time here, my dad was a Geordie so I understand them and I know what they want. I know what they don’t want as well.
“As long as they are realistic and a little bit patient as well, I think we can try again to help them have dreams again that we could possibly win something.”
Keegan admitted that his decision to return was an easy one to make once he had heard the plans of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.
“I wouldn’t say it was a big decision, I love this club, I don’t think anyone would ever doubt that, so from that point of view it was very easy,” he continued.
“I had to make a decision and in the end it was a very easy one. I met the owner, I like him very much, I met the chairman, and I just asked them what they felt was needed, particularly the owner, ‘what do you want from your football club?’
“Having spent an hour with him that convinced me it was right to come back.
“I’ve maybe got a little bit of unfinished business here.
“Everyone’s got opinions on the game of football and what people should and shouldn’t do. But I think this is right.”
Keegan’s first game in charge will be Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Bolton, but despite the team’s recent travails he believes he already has a good group of players to work with.
He said: “We’ll have a good look at it, we’ll have a good look at the squad. I’m going to learn a lot in a short space of time and we’ve got a big game on Saturday.
“I’ve certainly inherited a really strong, talented group of players, which is something I didn’t have when I came last time.
“When I came last time we were wondering whether we could fill the stadium. That’s not the problem here, it’ll be trying to get the stadium big enough if we can put the football on and get any success here.
“It’s very, very exciting. I’m just as excited as when I came to play here and when I came to manage here.”