NEWCASTLE (AFP) - Newcastle United have been ordered to pay all of Kevin Keegan's costs after their former manager's victory in a constructive dismissal case - a total which could reach 1.5 million pounds.
Former England boss Keegan left the north-east club in September 2008 after they signed Uruguayan midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez against his wishes.
This month an arbitration tribunal found in Keegan's favour and on Wednesday ordered the club to pay costs and interest on the two million pounds compensation award dating back to September last year.
It was another success for Keegan over Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who claimed the former Liverpool, Newcastle and England striker had breached his contract.
The tribunal added Newcastle had also made "entirely unfounded allegations" against Keegan and rejected Newcastle's claims they should not be liable for costs because they had offered to settle the case before the hearing.
A tribunal statement said: "We direct that the club should pay all of Mr Keegan's costs.
"Moreover, we reject the club's attempt to rely on the various offers which it made both prior to and during the hearing to settle the claim since none of them involved the club's acceptance that he had been constructively dismissed and all of them involved a condition of secrecy or confidentiality.
"We direct that the club should pay Mr Keegan's costs on an indemnity basis given the manner in which it conducted this litigation: its defence on the primary liability issue was, in our view, wholly without merit and it chose to make entirely unfounded allegations against Mr Keegan."
The tribunal said if Newcastle and Keegan were unable to agree on costs they would decide the figure.
Newcastle, after Keegan's exit, endured a torrid season which saw them go through four managers in total, including fans' favourite and former Magpies striker Alan Shearer, before being relegated from the elite Premier League.
They are currently second in the second-tier Championship under Chris Hughton, who has had several spells in caretaker charge of the club.
Hughton is currently in talks with Newcastle to become their manager on a permanent basis.