Touching Distance: Kevin Keegan, The Entertainers and Newcastle's Impossible Dream
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Shortlisted in the Best New Writer Category at the 2016 Cross British Sports Book Awards
The book is part biography and part thriller but most of all a love story. It is a real page turner, I genuinely got misty eyed. At least twice I found myself thinking, 'We can still do this!' Touching Distance is a rollercoaster of a read and I'm sure it will arrive down tens of thousands of Geordie chimneys on December 25.
Transported back in time to heady days of Keegan's Entertainers courtesy of Touching Distance by Martin Hardy. An engrossing, must-read trip!
The biggest compliment I can pay Martin Hardy is that Touching Distance evokes memories of NUFC that I thought I had forgotten. Not even major memories. Daft little things like conversations before games with my Dad. A frankly brilliant book.
Many great anecdotes in Martin Hardy's Touching Distance, including Kilcline's Del Boy falling through the bar impression on the Tuxedo Princess.
At the start of February, 1992, Newcastle United were facing relegation to the third tier of English football for the first time in their history. They were also facing bankruptcy. St James’ Park had been neglected, the club’s best players had been sold.
In a daring move, Newcastle appointed Kevin Keegan as manager. Keegan, the two-time European Footballer of the Year, had played for the club between 1982 and 1984. He had been out of football since.
His appointment as manager was as big a shock as when he arrived as a player.
Exactly four years after Keegan’s return to the North east of England, Newcastle were top of the Premiership, nine points clear of Manchester United, having played a game less.
It would turn out to be one of the most memorable seasons in the modern history of English football. Keegan’s side would play a unique brand of football and become known as the Entertainers. They would take part in a game at Anfield that became widely recognised as the best the Premier League has ever seen. Keegan would also famously square up to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Touching Distance tells the story of that remarkable season, through the highs and the lows of a truly dramatic campaign. It also traces the seeds of the revival back to Keegan’s first spell as a player, to his return and the dramatic impact he had on a football club, its supporters and an entire region.
Touching Distance talks to the people who made it happen, the players, the coaching staff and the board and relives a truly momentous period for the club. It is a story of hopes and dreams and when, for Newcastle United, anything seemed possible.
About the Author
Martin Hardy has been writing about football in the North East for three decades.
He was senior sports reporter at the Sunday Sun, before moving to the Sunday People and then to the Daily Mail. More recently he has worked for the News of the World and the Independent. He currently writes for the Sunday Times.
Touching Distance is his first work as an author.
|Publication Date||May 2016|
This is a must read for any toon supporter. Once started I just couldn't put it down. Some real gems and laughs and tears along the way. What a great time that was and what comes across to me more than anything is the respect the players had for Kev and the bond between the club and supporters. Hopefully we might see this again under Rafa - the signs are there.
Reviewed by Mal on 1 Jul 2016 | Permalink
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