Over the past 30 years, Newcastle have employed as their Manager, the following giants of the football world.

World Cup winners; Jack Charlton & Ossie Ardiles.
European cup winners; Kevin Keegan, Ruud Guilit, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Sourness.
England Manager and multi European trophy winner Bobby Robson and of course Championship play-off winner, Mackem Sam.

Yet despite all of those highly successful people being in charge, it’s Alan Pardew who is the first to win the Manager of the year award. Does it make him the best Manager at St James’ Park over the last 30 years? In my opinion the answer is no, not at the moment. However, should Alan manage to repeat or even better the season we have had over the next couple of years, then he will rightly be held in the same esteem as Kevin and Bobby.  The truth is there hasn’t been too much competition for this accolade from the 16 men who have held the position since 1982. Sadly the same cannot be said for  the title of  the worst Manager we have had.

I think there are 6 men who have no case to answer due to their record; Keegan, Robson, Cox , Jim Smith, Hughton and Pardew. I am also going to omit from the running Willie McFaul, Glenn Roeder and you may think surprisingly,  Joe Kinnear. This is because I believe all three of them were appointed into a job they should never have been given and just were not able to cope with it. They did the job to the best of their ability, or in JFKs case, lack of ability. So that leaves me with a short list of six to choose from

Sixth – Ossie Ardiles
Lovely fella, believed in total football, gave youth a chance etc etc. The truth is though; Ossie took the club to the brink of the third division and possibly oblivion. For those crimes he could easily have been much higher up this list if it were not for the quality of the opposition.

Fifth – Jack Charlton
The absolute opposite of Ossie. Jack believed in hideous kick and rush. The only man on planet earth who thought Reilly and Cunningham were a better strike force than Beardsley and Waddle.  Mind you he once told my wife that our baby daughter, who was decked out in pink ribbons at the time, was a good looking lad.  I reckon Jack may have had eyesight issues.

Fourth – Ruud Guilit
If only Ruud had been half as good a Manager as he was as a player, we would have won the double. He will always be remembered for that night against Sunderland in the rain but the fact that he ended up managing Terek Grozny (no, me neither) really says it all.

Third – Sam Allardyce
To only have BFS at third place, sort of sticks in my throat a bit, because if this was based purely on hatred then he wins hands down. This is the man who brought Alan Smith, Geremi and Viduka to the club on unbelievably ridiculous contracts, played truly awful football, lasted 6 months and then walked away with millions of pounds in his back pocket. I really didn’t like this man.

Second – Graeme Souness
There are so many things you want to say about Souness  but because people get locked up these days for things that they write, it’s probably best not to. Let’s just stick to the facts. He took over Bobby’s team that had underachieved by finishing 5th and promptly took us to 14th. He also allowed his ego to get in the way of what was the best for the team, had an almighty bust up with our more emotive players (Bellamy and Robert), which resulted in us blowing a wonderful chance of winning a European trophy . He is another Manager who talked a better game than he was able to deliver.

Top of the pile – Kenny Dalglish
My winner, sadly by a country mile, is King Kenny.  The man who took over the best team Newcastle United have ever had and destroyed it in 12 months. In my eyes there are simply no excuses that can be made for what he did in his two year spell at St James Park. By getting rid of the likes of Ferdinand, Asprilla & Ginola and replacing them with Barnes, Rush, Pistone and his own bloody son, he undid all the progress we had made during the previous five years. His recent dismissal at Liverpool only backs up what many of us already knew. Kenny Dalglish was a truly abysmal Manager.

So come December,  should Alan Pardew find himself managing a team who are sitting 12th in the table, let’s not be too quick to be calling for his head. Remember what has gone before him.

  • Richard

    Agree with you to a point, but it could be argued that It was Keegan that set the foundations for the next 10 years of mediocrity by petulantly getting rid of the reserve team and thus depriving us of good quality home grown talent and a decent development policy. Therefore it could be argued that Keegan did more damage to the long term prospects of the club than any of the names mentioned. Maybe.

  • Wellwellwell52

    True enough, but KK was forced to dump the reserves by sir John. It was either money for players or the reserves. It was also sir J. that further forced the path he took by demanding isnstant success. I’n not saying KK was squeeky clean on this but can’t take all the blame

  • Richard

    Yet dalglish reinstated them still under the auspices of Sir John. I seem to recall the reason for disbanding the reserves was that the Central League at the time demanded that 50% of home games were played at the club’s home ground, which Keegan refused to do as it would play havoc with the pitch. He wanted the Reserves to play at Gateshead stadium. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree with your list (probably would have put Gullit higher for not giving Bobby Lee a squad number).

  • Spoon_Army

    not bad. tend to agree wih the list and the order. McFaul did ok considering.

  • Why only 30 years Malcolm?  As another child of the seventies who idolised Jinky Jim, I would have had to make those first five words “Over the past 40 years …” to make the candidature of Gordon Lee possible.  Then I would have been able to make him the worst of the lot, more abysmal even than miserable Kenny!  The parallels between those two are striking – they both destroyed a great manager’s team and left devastation in their wake bringing substandard players in whilst shipping out quality.  And they both lost a Cup Final.  But Gordon Lee did more than that – his brand of football made Fat Sam’s look entertaining.  Gordon Lee has to be the worst manager we’ve ever had if for one reason only – in the week before the League Cup Final, with several players stricken by flu, Jinky Jim, recovered from injury, was packed off to Celtic because Gordon Lee had no time for genius.  Case proven?

  • Brynwills

    personally would have had keegan in there twice for both spells, this is the man that walked around with a resignation letter in his top pocket all the time!!!

    would never take advice tactically inept, he was just lucky to have sir john throwing money at him

    • Beefy

      Don t know if you are on drugs or just a sap of a mackem mate, but to put Keegan anywhere near that list let alone on it is a joke, KK gave us players and performances  that no manager before or since has 

  • TheGuv

    Bryn you sir are clueless.

    It really makes me sad when people have a go at Keegan.  KK would not stand for any crap and would rather as he has shown right throughout his career as a player and manager to walk away, even at the expense of money, especially where Newcastle United is concerned. This is a man who when he first took over with the club at the bottom of the old 2nd division and skint paid Terry Mac’s wages from his own pocket and didn’t claim a salary himself until the club was not only safe but financially stable too. Indeed he wasn’t going to ask for anything if the club were relegated so had we went down he would have been massively out of pocket. I say massively, he had a few bob back then because he was prepared to buy Sir John Hall out or give him his money back for the club and run it himself. This by the way people – these facts – is why we love him so much more than anything, because he genuinly cares about the club, enough to walk away if he feels he’s being taken for a ride.

    KK is the single biggest reason why we survived. You dared us to believe and dream of better from our club too. You looked at Newcastle, a then club on the verge of 3rd tier football and possible extinction, and thought do you know what, this club can compete and beat anyone and be as good as anyone and in 5 years you did it. We competed with anyone and we beat anyone. Man Utd, Barcelona, Liverpool, Arsenal. We bought the best as well. You showed the way, for the fans and the future generation of owners, managers and players, that NUFC can be as big as anything, as good as anything. For that he deserves our eternal gratitude. Regardless of what you think of the man, his charachter, whatever, he always held the very very highest of thoughts for this club and did his level best to take us to the very very top of football, not only in this country but in Europe too.Before KK fans hoped for survival, keeping our better players and the odd cup run and some decent football. KK said f*** off to that, with our gates, our passion, our club, we can achieve anything, and we can.And we will, one day.And when that day comes, should I be alive, I’ll raise a beer or two to wor Kev, for starting it all.

    • Juniorchubbs

      top notch mate.

      yet theres still folk (mackems and jealous southerners) who will say he bottled it.

      no, he walked away when he was being taken for a ride and even went to court to prove some folk were liars.

      long live king kev.

  • Vasey

    I simply do not have words for how stupid Bryn’s initial comment is. You are telling Kevin Keegan’s first spell in charge was ruinous? Were you born this stupid or have you recently undergone a lobotomy?

    What possible criticism can you have for Keegan’s spell between 92′ and 97? I am lost for words. The only possible argument is that we acrued debt, however, thanks to his entertaining football, we also massively increased our revenue, so our debt as a fraction of revenue actually decreased.

    Newcastle United owes everything it is today to the limitless ambition of Kevin Keegan.

  • Paul Soulsby

    KK getting grief, really ? how soon people forget. KK might have his faults but his impact on this club was massive, what would a manager be worth now if he could take a club from the relegation places of the fizzy pop league   to 3rd in the Premiership in 25 months ?. I certainly don’t think the Hall  clan will ever regret KK pitching up at NE1, he made them tens of millions. Opinions re like aresholes, every bugger has one, unfortunately arseholes also have opinions.

    • Bogyface12

      Where’s Alan Shearer ? He took us down !!