Fergie on Keegan
Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to former rival Kevin Keegan for putting together a ‘very good team’ at Newcastle United, but the Manchester United legend believes the ‘Cantona effect’ has proven the difference in a thrilling title race in 1996.
Newcastle were 12 points ahead of Manchester United at one point, but the Red Devils ‘winning experience was finally revealed as Sir Alex’s side revised the Magpies’ lead.
Cantona played a crucial role in this turnaround and the Frenchman scored the only goal in five 1-0 wins between January and March to put Manchester United in the driver’s seat, writes Ciaran Kelly.
Sir Alex then stepped into Keegan’s shoes after the Red Devils narrowly beat Leeds at Old Trafford before Newcastle faced Howard Wilkinson’s side 12 days later.
Sir Alex suggested the Leeds players were “cheating” their manager by raising their level of play against the league leaders and said “you wait and see the difference” when they play at Newcastle.
Keegan had also been angered by suggestions that the outcome of Newcastle’s penultimate league game against Nottingham Forest could be swayed by Blacks and Whites agreeing to play in Stuart Pearce’s testimony at City Ground within one week later.
The Newcastle boss then expressed his feelings in an iconic post-match interview after the Magpies beat Leeds at Elland Road and said: “We are still fighting for this title and he has to go to Middlesbrough and get something and i say you, honestly i would love it if we beat them. i love it! ”
Manchester United finally held their cool and Sir Alex watched that unforgettable title race while promoting his new documentary on Amazon.
“Kevin and this team that he developed, they were a good team,” Sir Alex told British GQ. “It was a very good team.
“That year I think they were 11 points ahead of us at one point, but I think the Cantona effect on our team was great then.
“He was fantastic and the team was developing really well, so I wasn’t afraid of anyone.”