IT was always going to be likely that there would be a reaction at some point following extracts from Kevin Keegan’s autobiography being serialised in The Times, and Mike Ashley’s camp has decided to hit back now – before the book is even available for purchase.

Ashley may not have moved to have his own say on Keegan’s revelations about his time working under Ashley's regime or what led to his resignation in August 2008, but one of his key allies at that time has gone public.

Tony Jimenez was the club’s vice-president, while working alongside Dennis Wise in his executive director (football) guise, so claims to remember clearly the events and the disagreements the boardroom had with the Magpies’ legend.

Jimenez, given his opportunity to defend that chapter in his life in The Times too, started off by suggesting that Keegan knew there would be financial constraints when he was offered the post and still accepted it.

Jimenez said: “Kevin was a great player but lives in a time-warp. He played in an era when the top managers ran every aspect of football clubs and thinks his status in the game means he should have the same control.

“He didn’t understand that it doesn’t work like that anymore. Perhaps God had given him so much talent in his feet that he’d taken something else away?”

There has certainly never been any loved lost between the two sides and Keegan, who has the support of the fans who remain disgusted at the way their favourite was treated, was not afraid to hit back during his time in charge when he regularly disagreed with transfer targets.

Jimenez, reflecting on their first meeting in central London, claims: “Things seemed to be going well as we explained our business plan, but after an hour he decided he wanted to go and talk to his wife, who’d come down to London from Glasgow with him.

“He left the room, but then ten minutes turned into 20, 30, then 40 minutes so we went looking for him.

“We couldn’t find him in the building and it turned out he was driving back to Scotland without having said anything! That was his first tantrum, and he didn’t even have the job.”

And while a lot has been made of Keegan’s disapproval of signing players such as Xisco and Ignacio Gonzalez, Jimenez has hit back with some incredible claims himself.

He added: “The minute you questioned him he lost the plot. During that window we offered him the players that we were working on when we thought Harry Redknapp was coming as manager — Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Lassana Diarra — and he said none of them were good enough. The other player we were really keen on was Daniel Sturridge. He said he’d had him as a kid at Man City and that he wasn’t good enough for League One.

“He didn’t want Hatem Ben Arfa or Karim Benzema either. We asked Kevin for a list of players for every position, bearing in mind he had £25m to spend. Our list included Benzema and Ben Arfa who were young players at Lyons, as well as Samir Nasri.

“Kevin took one look and called them all chancers. His list was David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Ronaldinho, Kaka among others. We added their transfer value up and it was £399m, plus £100m in wages.”

On the signings of Xisco and González in August 2008, which proved the crucial blow that led to Keegan’s departure as well as the sale of James Milner to Aston Villa, Jimenez alleges: “He has made a lot out of Xisco and González, but they were part of deals to sign Fabricio Coloccini and Jonás Gutiérrez, who were also players he didn’t want who did well for Newcastle.

“Sometimes you have to take a player to get the one you really want. He’s made a lot of only being given YouTube clips, but he didn’t go and watch Coloccini and Gutiérrez. Kevin was looking for an excuse to go and could have walked out at any point from the moment he joined.”

Jimenez also went on to claim that there were other wrangles of contract negotiations was argued about. Newcastle were unwilling to meet Michael Owen’s wage demands and he suggested Keegan was eager to sell the then 19-year-old Andy Carroll to Norwich City for £300,000.

“Kevin wanted to give him (Owen) a new five-year deal on £140,000 a week,” Jimenez added. “We made a counter offer of £80,000 which would reach £120,000 if he played 65 minutes per game. Keegan went ballistic.”

With a large chunk of Ashley’s side of the story out now, Keegan’s autobiography (My Life In Football) is likely to contain more revelations when it is released on October 4.