Now that Alan Pardew has gone and a new appointment is (still) imminent, we are entering another phase in the club’s history.  Quite how AP will be viewed some months and years into the future, when the emotion generated by his reign has subsided, remains to be seen. Where will he sit in the league table of his peers – ex Newcastle United managers?

This got me thinking that assuming Pardew isn’t the devil himself, who have been the worst occupants of the managerial hot seat and why?

newcastle managersI’m ignoring the ‘inbetweeners’ (The Pearsons, Saxtons, Suggetts etc) and I’m also not going to dignify Kinnear by associating him with the term ‘manager’, or including him in any civilised debate.

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For me the 3 in contention – for different reasons – are, in podium order:

Bronze – Jack Charlton

Didn’t Arthur Cox want £100k to strengthen a promoted team?? How times have changed…

What we got instead of the dizzying magic of Keegan and  Co. was Jack’s implementation of Victorian street football minus the pig’s bladder (just about).

What went on to work in international tournaments (where the result is everything) is not what makes good viewing as we came to learn very quickly.

He got rid of Waddle (after bollocking him on the pitch for driving a late free kick in rather than wasting time) and had the knife out for Beardsley too, but thankfully was ousted in time to prevent that.

Silver – Kenny Daglish

I’m not ashamed to admit I thought this appointment was a masterstroke.  He ticked every box; fantastic player, attacking minded, done it all with Liverpool and crucially as well, replicated that at Blackburn. Surely our time had come??

But no. Keegan’s tremendous team, full of ability and not a little flair was hastily dismantled and replaced with… well, largely rubbish (remember Andreas Andersson anyone – he cost £3m..).

He also shoehorned in the Anfield old-guard; Barnes (who to be fair scored a couple of important goals) and Rush (who rarely missed a chance in front of goal for us – because he was just too slow to actually keep up with play and physically get himself into the box). Kenny even got his lad Paul onto the payroll for goodness sake… Silver for you Kenny, for the disparity between expectation and result never being wider.

Gold – Graeme Souness

Not everyone will agree (that’s the purpose of the debate I guess) but for me, Souness was wrong in so many ways that he takes the gong. Here’s why:

No discipline – Sir Bobby was shamefully ousted for ‘losing the dressing room’ and we needed a tough guy to instil order and discipline across the playing staff…who then went on to attempt to batter each other on the pitch v Villa not long afterwards..

No imagination – A mate of mine was heading up sales for Prozone at the time (championed by Big Sam and Wenger initially) and all the Premier League teams were suddenly up for monitoring in-game statistics and performance to aid decision making. Except for 2 clubs. Unsurprisingly Newcastle was one and apparently our Graeme dismissed it out of hand, continuing to prefer a wee jog round the pitch and a bit of head tennis…

No shame – After getting the bullet and taking the compo, he’s regularly quoted as expressing the desire to come back to Newcastle and have another go.  Why for god’s sake – to get another cheque?? Have some shame man!

No brain – I’ll leave you with this one as my clincher. He had already overseen what would come to be recognised as the destruction of a set-up that generated twenty years of success at Liverpool and here’s an example of why; Not only did he sell Peter Beardsley in his prime, he sold him to Everton and then spent the proceeds (plus 25%) on ….Mark Walters!!  A misjudgement so monumentally stupid, that he deserved his cards and coppers just for that one act!

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