Robbie Savage is not often lost for words (unfortunately) but events at Newcastle United have almost, but not quite altogether, struck him mute.

Savage says that Newcastle were right to make Steve McClaren ‘walk to the end of the plank’ but that they showd no class in doing it in such a public way – retaining McClaren still, while very publicly chasing Rafa Benitez.

However, the end result is that Newcastle now have a ‘class’ manager and Robbie Savage has little sympathy for a manager (head coach) who he thinks should never have got the NUFC job – an opinion shared by many Newcastle supporters.

The former Derby player points out how McClaren failed dismally at his old club and now the mess he has made at Newcastle – second bottom with only 10 games remaining, despite over £80m spent on players in the last two windows.

Newcastle play another of Savage’s old teams on Monday – but whatever happens against Leicester, Robbie Savage believes that the Newcastle v Sunderland match in eight days time could be a winner takes all clash.

If Newcastle lost to Leicester, defeat to the mackems would leave United four points behind Sunderland and a far worse goal difference, with only eight matches left to play. This is even without factoring in what Norwich might do – Newcastle having to also finish above the Canaries.

The derby match is always the biggest of the season for Newcastle and Sunderland fans but Robbie Savage says that with Premier League survival riding on it, the game on Sunday 20 March is one where even his big fat gob can’t quite find the right words to describe its importance to all involved.

Robbie Savage speaking to The Mirror (the newspaper, not the thing he admires himself in…)

‘Form is temporary, class is permanent – and there wasn’t much class about Newcastle United sounding out Rafa Benitez to take over as manager while Steve McClaren was still in the job.

But I have to confess: I have little sympathy for the now-fired McClaren, even if his long walk to the end of the plank turned into a tortured soap opera.

McClaren was lucky to get the job in the first place, he blew two great opportunities to take Derby into the Premier League and last year’s collapse to finish outside the play-offs was dreadful.

And his record at Newcastle speaks for itself.

They spent almost £80million on players in the last two transfer windows, and what have they got to show for it?

Three-quarters of the way through the season, they are second from bottom in the Premier League for a reason: They are not a very good team.

Next weekend’s Tyne/Wear derby was always going to be huge.

With £150million of TV money riding on survival, its importance is now too massive for me to find a word big enough to describe it.’

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