Work in Sports
Keegan resigns after England defeat at Wembley
LONDON (AP) -- Kevin Keegan quit as England soccer coach on Saturday after a 1-0 loss to Germany in a World Cup qualifying match, admitting he did not think he was up to the job.
"I really just feel a little bit short of what's required," said the former Liverpool, Newcastle and Hamburg star who had been in charge for 18 games and had a record of seven wins, seven ties and four losses.
"I probably had a longer run than I could've expected," Keegan said. "I just don't feel I can find that little bit of extra that you need at this level to find that winning formula."
The sudden resignation after just one qualifying game leaves England without a coach just four days before another World Cup qualifier against Finland. Howard Wilkinson, who is in charge of the Under 21 team and is technical director of the England coaching setup, is likely to handle the squad lineup against the Finns.
Dietmar Hamann fired home a quickly taken 35-yard free kick to give Germany the win which puts Rudi Voeller's team six points ahead of England already.
"I just felt that things weren't right and I couldn't find in myself at the time the way to solve the problems," Keegan said about the loss at Wembley which followed first round elimination at the European Championship in the summer.
"I have got to be judged by my results and my results have not been good. I fell short of what's required for the job.
"We under achieved at Euro 2000 and my story looks back on a chapter that's not been successful, sadly," Keegan said after his team was booed off the field by the England fans in the 76,377 crowd. "With it you carry the weight of expectation. I am the sort of person who is always honest with himself.
"I told the players and their reaction was that they were shocked. But they know me. They knew what I expected today."
Keegan, who played 63 times for England scored 21 goals, took the job in succession to Glenn Hoddle in February 1999. At first he did it on a part-time basis while also acting as director of football at division two Fulham but, in May, took the role full time.
Football Association chief executive Adam Crozier said he spent 20 minutes after the game trying to get Keegan to change his mind.
"I felt Kevin Keegan felt things were not going right for him. He said he could not get as much out of the players as he would have liked,' Crozier said.
"As soon as the game was over the reaction of the crowd pushed him further down the line. We tried everything to make him stay but he wants to go.
"I am very, very disappointed for Kevin Keegan and for the country. I think Kevin has been a terrific manager. He came in at a hard time after Glenn Hoddle's departure. He built a close-knit group of players.
"I respect him as a person and a manager," Crozier said. "He showed great dignity at all times and it is disappointing that he does not want to carry on. I understand the reason."
Former England captain Alan Shearer, who quit playing international soccer after Euro 2000 but still plays for Newcastle, said he was stunned by Keegan's decision.
"He must be hurt and he is obviously very, very disappointed," Shearer said. "He took us into a tournament in the summer [Euro 2000] and he had players, and I include myself in that, who let him down and let the country down.
"The players as well have to take responsibility and I'm amongst that group because for the majority of Kevin's time I was in there playing and we haven't as a team done well enough."
Hamann's strike meant that the final game to be staged at Wembley Stadium before its demolition and reconstruction was a German victory over its old rival.
It was at Wembley 34 years ago that England won its only major title by beating the Germans 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup final.