Former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has labelled Newcastle United as ‘pathetic’ after the way that the club handled the unveiling of Steve McClaren.

Andy Gray’s sidekick says that he likes McClaren ‘a lot’, but thinks the new Newcastle Head Coach’s coronation was a major own goal.

Mike Ashley allowed only two ‘preferred media partners’ to speak to Steve McClaren on Wednesday, the Daily Mirror and ironically, Richard Keys’ former employers, Sky Sports.

Richard Keys writing on his own personal website:

“How silly that the unveiling of Steve McClaren was attended only by two press organisations. Pathetic. Not becoming of a fine club. What on earth next?

“McClaren I like…a lot, but he did himself no favours taking over in those circumstances. What a missed opportunity to let everybody at the Toon, importantly supporters first, and those who currently own the club, know ‘I’m in charge’.”

A new era:

“A new era, already scarred by the deep cuts and injuries inflicted on the club by its ‘own’. Sad.

“Steve McClaren will only succeed there if he gets everybody, and I mean everybody, on side.”

Whatever you think of Richard Keys, the new manager/head coach surely needs every bit of help he can get to turn Newcastle United around. So to wind up the vast majority of the media before McClaren has even stepped into the job, isn’t exactly what he needed.

Various journalists later revealed that they had got in touch with Steve McClaren but he was then in the embarrassing position of having to tell them he wasn’t able to speak to them because he was under orders not to.

With Newcastle United needing a dominant figure who can act decisively and make big decisions, it hardly paints the best picture when he doesn’t even have the freedom to speak to who he choose to.

Very hard to believe that the likes of Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson would have taken the Newcastle job on such a basis.

Being optimistic, we have to hope that McClaren’s acceptance of orders in relation to how he deals with the press, are no reflection on potential limitations he may or may not have accepted in the rest of his job specification.

So much is wrong with the club, which was summed up by last season’s comedy of errors and near disaster, Steve McClaren must surely be given total freedom to change whatever he sees wrong at the club.

The truth of course is that everything else plays second fiddle to results on the pitch and the players who are (or aren’t) signed in the coming weeks will go a long way to telling us just how much the new head coach is changing things and the amount of backing Mike Ashley is prepared to give him.

Credible signings such as Charlie Austin would pretty much sweep away worries about Ashley’s crass handling of things such as the relationship with the media, but with every day that goes by and no concrete evidence of transfer market action, worries about how desperate an out of work McClaren was to take the job (and limitations he was potentially prepared to accept) will fill that void.