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.