Thursday, January 10, 2008


With the Allardyce reign now consigned to the bin of history, the focus inevitably shifts towards who will be next to take the helm of the good ship Newcastle Utd.

Back in May, following Glenn Roeder's departure, I wrote:

"The question now comes as to who will be the man to drink from the "poisoned chalice" as the media have dubbed the post. A description which I think is absolute rubbish - Dalgleish went because he signed crap players and wrecked a perfectly good team and we promptly played shit football, Gullitt went because we only had room for one ego and Shearer's was more important, Robson went because his time had finally come, Souness should never have been appointed and his bully boy tactics didn't work and Roeder has now gone because he doesn't appear to be a big enough bastard to motivate multi-millionaires.

Anyway, on to the question of who to bring in...

In my view, the new manager needs to:

- have a proven background in management
- be a strong personality who can impose his will on the team and cope with the "goldfish bowl"
- understand that we are now living in the 21st Century and not the 1970s, and that players are different now


- be committed to attacking, attractive football
- be connected with the club"

I remain convinced that these criteria remain in place. The only change I'd make is that the new manager must to be committed to attacking, attractive football. Allardyce wasn't and he's gone.

Whoever it is that comes in, their task doesn't actually look an insurmountable one - we're currently sitting in 11th place, and despite some pretty lacklustre performances under Fat Sam, we should be more than capable of ensuring we're still in the Premier League next season. With a resurgence we might even start to worry some of the teams above us scrapping for a place in the UEFA Cup, but in truth whoever comes in will have the next few months to get a feel for the squad and decide who should stay and who should be ushered out of the door come the summer.

At least having ditched Allardyce at the start of the transfer window there's a slight chance that the new person will be able to bring in a couple of new faces before the end of the month. What is certain is that they need to get the team passing the ball around, and looking to cause our opponents (whoever they might be) some problems.

To that end, we'll hopefully have seen the last of the Butt/Smith axis which is about the least creative midfield combination I've ever seen. As I mentioned at the start of the transfer window, an additional creative midfielder wouldn't go amiss, together with a decent centre half to support Taylor and Faye (particularly whilst the latter is at the African Cup of Nations). Getting the players to play with a smile on their faces would be a start!

Of course, the first question is who will be the one to seek to instill the confidence and humour back into our dour squad. What it will take is a manager who commands respect, and is able to convince the squad to all pull in his direction (something Fat Sam never managed).

The options seem many and varied, but then I'm always unrealistically hopeful about the quality of manager we realistically can expect, so here's a few thoughts:

Harry Redknapp

Apparently, he's been heavily linked with the job and has a proven track record of attractive football. He also has a record for signing hundreds of players, half of whom last one game before sinking away in the reserves, and is also happily ensconced on the south coast. If he brings his daughter-in-law with him then so much the better, but to be honest I'm not sure I can see him swapping the South Coast for the Northumbrian one. His refusal to speak to the BBC should at least provide one element of consistency between managers.

Alan Shearer

This will inevitably happen at some point. However, I sincerely hope that this won't happen until Shearer has left the TV studio and had a few goes managing other clubs. I just don't think he's ready for the job. According to press sources, both Shearer and Mike Ashley agree on this point, so it seems unlikely that this will happen. When we do appoint an ex-player as manager, I wouldn't bet against it being Gary Speed rather than Shearer. In any event, neither is ready.

Mark Hughes

Did well with Wales, before keeping Blackburn up after Souness had worked his magic on them. Now manages a well organised, neat team who are unlikely to ever really climb much higher. Having taken them as far as he can, might he now be interested in a significantly bigger challenge?

David Moyes

A possibility, although it took him several years to get Everton where they are now (time which he might not get on Tyneside) and equally I'm not sure he'd consider moving to us to be a real step up. If he fancies the challenge then he could be a good appointment, but then we've had more than our fair share of dour Scots already.

Steve Coppell

Attractive football, and miracles on a shoe string budget have seen Coppell's stock rise. However, the relatively low expectations which he has in Berkshire seem to suit him, and I suspect that he probably doesn't want the hassle of the Newcastle job.

Steve McClaren

International experience, a house down the road, and wonderful CV as a coach. I'm kidding of course - he's an imbecile and I'd rather have Sam back than appoint the ruddy faced imbecile. Seeing as England's failure to qualify (and the impact it will have on the economy) has probably impacted Mike Ashley more than most, I can't ever see this happening.

Martin Jol

Out of a job, but did good things at both Spurs and previously in Holland. An intelligent, articulate man who likes attractive passing football. Things only went sour at Spurs when his chairman started behaving like a complete arse. We could do a lot worse.

Jose Mourinho

The self styled special one remains a great coach. Ignore the fact that he had roubles to burn at Chelsea - he made a mediocre Portuguese side into Champions of Europe with very little cash to spend. He's certainly arrogant enough to think he could do the job. But would he want to? Probably not.

Roy Keane

Only kidding.

Jurgen Klinsmann

Attractive attacking football seems to be his preferred style, and his self deprecating humour would certainly help to endear him to the masses. But unless we bombard him with old McEwan's Export adverts ("Florida's horrider than Whitley Bay...") the chances of him relocating seem remote.

With a new regime in place, it's heartening to think that we won't be calling Steve Bruce for once, and it will be interesting to see who Ashley and Mort eventually go for. What is certain is that whoever takes the job must be given time to settle in.

The last remaining tie to the old regime has been cut, we stand on the verge of a new era. Let's hope for all our sakes that the decision made is the right one.


Post a Comment

<< Home