On this day in 2001: Kevin Keegan returns to management with Manchester City

Former England boss Kevin Keegan took charge at Manchester City on this day in 2001.

Having stepped down as manager of the national team the previous October after a 1-0 World Cup qualifier defeat by Germany in the final game at the old Wembley, the then 49-year-old had indicated that his managerial career was over after a difficult spell at the helm.

However, persuaded by close friend Dennis Tueart, the former Newcastle boss changed his mind and accepted City’s offer to replace the departed Joe Royle at Maine Road.

Describing the club as “truly a sleeping giant”, he said at the time: “The six months out have done me good. When you are involved every day, you can lose focus, but I have got a nice clear picture.”

Keegan inherited a club which had just been relegated from the Premier League, and a squad boosted by the signings of Stuart Pearce, Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia and boasting the firepower provided by Darren Huckerby and Shaun Goater hit the ground running.

City won the the Division One title at a canter, amassing 99 points, 10 more than second-placed West Brom, and they did not rest on their laurels.

They paid Paris St Germain £13million for striker Nicolas Anelka and also recruited vastly-experienced goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and later £6million former Leeds frontman Robbie Fowler among others, and their investment paid dividends.

Shaun Goater and Robbie Fowler provided some of the firepower for Kevin Keegan's Manchester City
Shaun Goater and Robbie Fowler provided some of the firepower for Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City (Martin Rickett/PA)

City surged to a ninth-placed finish in their first season back in the top flight, beating derby rivals Manchester United 3-1 at Maine Road courtesy of Anelka’s strike and a double from Goater along the way.

However, life proved more testing in subsequent seasons as they ended the 2003-04 campaign in 16th, and they were sitting in 12th place in March 2005 when, three years and 10 months into his reign, Keegan left the club by mutual consent.

It appeared that he had turned his back on the game once again until he made a sensational return to Newcastle in January 2008, although he lasted just eight months in his second spell at St James’ Park during a turbulent period in the club’s history under owner Mike Ashley.