Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Alan Shearer for Newcastle Utd (v Portsmouth), 4 February 2006

So, Graeme Souness has gone, and Newcastle United are, again, in search of another manager. All the signs point to ex Leicester and Celtic boss Martin O'Neill as the man charged with spending gazillions of pounds on show ponies and other assorted sh*t in a doomed attempt to actually bring a trophy to St James Park.

I don't like Graeme Souness and never quite understood why he got the job in the first place (other than for the reason that Fat Freddy thought he might be able to handle idiot divas Craig Bellamy and Lee Bowyer.) His signings were pretty poor and his dour humourless attitude (although my team's boss can hardly claim the high ground in that regard) never clicked with the Newcastle fans.

Alan Shearer has already says he doesnt want the job. He is a hero on Tyneside and for that reason alone needs to steer clear of taking the Newcastle managers job....forever. Is it the worst/most difficult job in the game? Whilst I like Newcastle United, it strikes me that the gap between the expectations of the fans and the reality of the team are wider than with any other team in the league. Although, perversely, the size of the ground and the financial backing should mean they ought to be competing at the top end of the league instead of scrabbling around in mid table with Fulham and Aston Villa.

Newcastle are not going to win the Premier League in the next decade. Fact. Their turnover of managers and comedy board should prohibit that alone. However, it must be galling for Newcastle fans, desperate for silverware, to watch the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Millwall, Southampton, Bolton, Leicester, Tottenham and particularly Middlesbrough get to major cup finals, and win trophies over the last ten years.

With a decent manager and some decent signings (come on, Toon fans - given a clean slate how many of your current first choice XI would you retain? Parker? Given? Owen?) they could start competing for Champions League football and certainly with a bit of luck could make it to Cup Finals and win a trophy. But it's such a thankless job that I can't see why you would put yourself through the heartache....

6 comments:

SwissToni said...

there is a very interesting article in the guardian today about the amount of money that Hall and Shepherd have stripped out of the club.

*nips off to find a link*

Ah, here it is

Very interesting.

ST

El Tel said...

The article on NUFC finances is fascinating, ditto the nufc-finance site link.

The opportunity for impact NUFC branding of the north east - with St James Park at its epicentre - really was there in the early 90s. Remembering the battle between Hall and McKeag, I suspect John Hall did regard himself as something of a saviour. Then again, maybe the 'faithful' are happier now than they would have been had the Halls not taken over.

Oh, and that Mr Shearer - local and loyal and all that - sure, and an opportunist of Hall-/Shepherd-like proportions too.

Ben said...

El Tel: Hall certainly regarded himself as something of a saviour, and to be honest, the fans were happy to do the same. From the brink of relegation to the old Third Division in May 1992 to the Premiership in August 1993? Phenomenal. He was, after all, the man who took the gamble on bringing Keegan back.

Lord B: While there's much in your piece that I can't really argue with, I have to pick you up on one or two points.

1. It's looking unlikely it'll be O'Neill, given his Sunderland connections / allegiance. At least, I hope that might rule him out of the running...

2. Souness's signings. Boumsong, Faye, Babayaro and Moore - all poor. But Owen, Parker, Emre, Solano and Luque (even though the latter hasn't lived up to his billing yet)? They were inspired. (Of course, you could argue they were all Shepherd's work rather than Souness's...)

3. Everyone harps on about how unrealistic we are to expect success. Why? We have the fanbase and financial clout to compete with the best, so why should we be disappointed when it doesn't happen? Of course, this attitude is routinely interpreted as us arrogantly thinking we have some "divine right" to success - which we don't. The flipside is also taken to be the "Small clubs - know your place" attitude. Well, that's not true either. It just beggars belief that we haven't achieved anything for so long. It's not so much, then, that the expectations are unrealistic - but that the reality is so poor.

4. Given the opportunity I'd retain more than just Given, Owen and Parker. Not too many more, granted, but...

5. A thankless task? The job's continually referred to as "a poisoned chalice". And, in some ways, I can see why. BUT (and it's a deliberately big but) if the new man comes in and gets things right, it'll be the most thankful job he'll ever have. Fans may have been surprised and disappointed by Souness's appointment, but no-one wanted to see him fail.

Ben said...

Oh, and...

6. I don't think you can make a sweeping statement that any side isn't going to win the Premiership for the next decade. Another Abramovich could appear out of thin air and pump millions into (say) Leeds. Conversely, the Russian could tire of his plaything and pull his money out of Chelski. Questions of money aside, teams' fortunes wax and wane - I think Man Utd and Ferguson, imperious for so long, got a bit complacent before Mourinho arrived, while the Invincible tag looks a little odd for this season's Arsenal...

El Tel said...

Ben, I get the impression that this matters to you. ;) Also good to see that my clearly 'in-touch' plea - through B&W&RAO - for patience with Souness was listened to.

Would be good to see Glen Roeder have a good spell at the helm. I have fond memories of his part in a NUFC 4-0 victory over Luton Town many moons ago. Ditto Kenny Wharton.

Ben said...

El Tel: Yeah, it just goes to show that no-one at the club reads or pays any attention to B&W&RAO. We're just shouting in the desert...

As you might have been able to tell, I'm glad we lost patience. Though perhaps that's speaking too soon - we haven't heard who Fred's getting in to replace him yet... Don't fancy Roeder long-term, though.