Kevin Henning continues his celebration of the finest moments of inspiration and lunacy from the inspired lunatics on the touchline….

Keegan explains himself to the Geordie Nation.
In the days before Sky Sports News took over the football fanatics’ world, transfers often happened out of the blue and caught us all by surprise. One such occasion was when Newcastle United hot-shot Andy Cole left the Toon. Manchester United had been looking for a new partner for Eric Cantona for some time but nobody would have guessed that they’d go shopping at title rivals Newcastle.
A crowd gathered at St. James’ Park demanding an explanation for the departure of their top goalscorer but nobody could have expected what happened next. Kevin Keegan emerged from the stadium and proceeded to re-assure the Gallowgaters that he knew exactly what he was doing. Keegan stood for a decent period of time and responded to the questions fired at him openly and honestly. The fans who had arrived demanding answers left feeling that they had a true man of the people looking after their club. The thought of an Arsene Wenger or an Alex Ferguson doing this kind of thing nowadays is simply unthinkable.

Souness runs the gauntlet.
After Graeme Souness’ unsuccessful attempts at rebuilding King Kenny’s decaying Liverpool team, the ex-page 7 man’s reputation had been damaged. Souness was offered a chance to resurrect his managerial career in Turkey with Galatasaray. During the 1995/96 season, Gala were struggling with their form in the league but had managed to scrap their way to a two-legged cup final with arch-rivals Fenerbache whose Chairman had previously enquired publicly “What are they doing employing a cripple?” referring to Souness’ recent heart operation.
When Dean Sanders scored the decisive goal in the second leg at Fener’s home stadium, Souness celebrated in one of the most provocative ways possible. He marched onto the pitch and planted a huge Galatasaray flag into the centre spot of his rival’s sacred turf. The scene was comparable to an image of Turkish hero Ulabatli Hasan who was killed as he planted the Ottoman flag during the Siege of Constantinople, earning our Graeme with the nickname “Ulubatli Souness”.

Alan Ball – Football Genius.
It was Francis Lee who famously stated that “If they gave out cups for cock-ups, Manchester City would win the lot.” A truer statement was never spoken. One of the greatest cock-ups ever played out at the theatre of base comedy – Maine Road was the defining moment of Alan Ball’s tenure at City.

Niall Quinn had been watching the drama unfold on a dressing room monitor when he realised what was happening.

On the last day of the 1995-96 season, the Citizens went in to a home fixture against Liverpool knowing that they had to better the results of Coventry and Southampton to avoid relegation. The Merseysiders’ players tried their utmost to help City but were incredibly 2-0 up at half-time. The Mancunians toiled in the second half and fought their way back to 2-2. During the final few minutes however, word reached the football genius that was City’s manager, that the Saints and Coventry were losing and a point for City was enough to stay up. The source of this information remains a mystery although I seem to recall word of a cheeky United fan with a wireless in the Main Stand at the time. Ball instructed his charges to play for time and the sky blues were holding the ball up near the Platt Lane corner flag when the truth was revealed. Niall Quinn had been watching the drama unfold on a dressing room monitor when he realised what was happening. He raced out of the players’ tunnel and along the touchline, screaming for his pals to go for a third. The relegation rivals were all drawing and City stood to be relegated. Big Niall’s actions were in vein unfortunately, all three games ended in draws and Manchester City were sent down by their manager’s buffoonery.

Houllier punishes Fowler’s accuracy.
This next example is the only one I’m aware of in which a player has been punished for demonstrating his skills. At the start of the 2001-02 season, Liverpool were preparing themselves for the Charity Shield and were practising penalties during one training session. Assistant manager Phil Thompson was retrieving balls from the back of the onion bag when Robbie Fowler decided it would be a laugh to fire his penalty towards Gillette Soccer Saturday’s resident Scouse excuser.
Fowler’s shot whistled into the goal, narrowly missing Thompson’s nose. Quite a feat when you consider the size of Phil’s hooter. Manager Gerard Houllier was far from impressed by his striker’s keen eye for a target though, and dropped Fowler from the Cardiff showpiece, threatening the Toxteth Terrier that he wouldn’t feature until he apologised to the Melwood Bogeyman.

Ruud tells the messiah he’s a very naughty boy.
Ruud Gullit arrived at St.James’ Park promising to bring his brand of sexy football to the North East. Newcastle has always done slapper a lot better than sexy though, with Sandra, Tracey and now Cheryl providing evidence that the Geordie Shoreline is packed with ever-receding hemlines. The Dutchman was simply never going to be suited to the bar-codes and he proved this by dropping the latest product off the Bigg Market Messiah Production Line – Alan Shearer.
The laugh-a-minute Match of the Day pundit had recently been signed in a British transfer record breaking £15 million move from Blackburn Rovers and the Geordies simply adored him. Gullit though, had a differing view and shockingly left him out of the Tyne Wear derby at home to Sunderland. The sight of Shearer sat on the bench in the pouring rain with a face like a slapped arse was fantastic. He did manage to get on the pitch though, he was brought on just in time for the Mackems’ number 9 Niall Quinn to rise like a salmon and head home Sunderland’s winner.
Gullit was never going to let his position be affected by the events of that night however. He picked himself up, dusted down his Saville Row suit and fought on for an entire 3 more days before resigning from the self-proclaimed hot-bed of English football.

The Best Manager Moments (Part 1)