Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unwise words

Perhaps you have to forgive them (it's been a while since there's been any scraps of speculation to feed upon, after all) but the media have got themselves into a right lather over the possibility - nay, likelihood - that Alan Shearer is on the verge of becoming our new manager. And all of it extrapolated from an interview Rob Lee's given to The Mag, the justification being that, as the pair are close friends, "Lee's comments are highly significant and can be interpreted as coming directly from Shearer". Is it equally possible Lee may just have got carried away and started telling his interviewer what he thought they wanted to hear?

It all hinges on rather a lot of hypotheticals: IF Ashley continues to struggle to sell the club and contemplates staying on, "IF the job is how [Shearer] wants it, without all the silly games going on that have killed it" - which would mean Ashley losing face by backing down and dismantling the off-field system he put in place, resolutely stuck by in the confrontation with Keegan and then robustly defended to the fans.

You have to wonder whether Lee's just intent on talking himself into a coaching role - something which I and most other fans would naturally welcome but which isn't likely to be forthcoming if he continues to dispense public advice to Ashley, no matter how sound that advice might be: "Mike Ashley would solve a lot of his problems by appointing Alan and accepting that mistakes have been made. Alan could be a priceless get out of jail card. Now is the time to make the club what we all want."

Someone else who's once again been busily lecturing our chairman on what to do, though out of an orifice that plainly wasn't his mouth, is Wigan's Dave Whelan, who obviously is in no way motivated by being his business rival. There was a bit of everything in the comments he made in the wake of Saturday's match: straightforward sniping ("Is he being greedy now? Yes"); a bit of patronising I-told-you-so ("I said 'Mike, just get your money back and step away. Football's a very difficult game. If you sack the golden boy Kevin Keegan you are in serious trouble'"); and yet more talking-up of his own manager to such an extent that you'd think he was gladly offering him to us on a plate ("I don't want to lose Steve but in the end I suppose I'll have to, one of the big clubs will come for him. He's been linked with Newcastle before. He's from here. He loves Newcastle").

Most priceless of all, though, was Whelan's statement that "Hopefully Freddy will come back. I rated him very highly. I don't think Newcastle fans realised how great a chairman he was." Yes, you read that right. We were blind to Fat Fred's charms and talents, apparently. No wonder Whelan admires Shepherd - how could he not be admiring of one of the few people in football able to spout off even more shite than him?


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