Life After Pardew?
Imagine that Alan Pardew has left by one circumstance or another. Where do we go from there, notwithstanding influence from up top?
What would be the best route in terms of the type of manager and who would be the individual within that ‘type’?
Route 1: Oh No
It’s the fear of all Toon fans; Joe “Water off a Duck’s Arse” Kinnear gets the job as Ashley wants to replace one sycophantic yes man with another. Kinnear would be a disaster. The man showed his managerial skills back in 2008 and hasn’t been in a job since. He’s cocked up the Director of Football job and if he were to be appointed, I could see the club imploding. However, I genuinely don’t think Kinnear is waiting in the wings. Ashley is sure to know that appointing a knacker like Kinnear, even if he does tell Mike what he wants to hear, is not the way to go. Hopefully.
Route 2: The local lad
This is an oft-touted belief of those who think we have ‘too many foreigners’ in our squad; that we need a new Milburn or Robson to take over – someone who really understands what the club means to the fans and the job itself. This puts people like Alan Shearer, Lee Clark, and Peter Beardsley (who is already involved with the club) into the spotlight. Shearer is surely not cut out for Premier League managership, albeit that he is untested. I would like to see him try out in a couple of other places before he makes his meteoric return to the Gallowgate, as romantic and unrealistic as that idea is. Beardo similarly has little managerial experience.
Lee Clark then stands out as the number one ‘local lad’ option; he has done decently well at Birmingham and seems to still have a soft spot for the Toon. However, we have seen the dangers of appointing Championship managers before they are ready – Holloway at Palace, di Canio down the road. In addition, the aims of the owner and any such manager would obviously be at odds with one another; see also Kevin Keegan. I’d love the idea of Clarky coming back – but I really don’t think he would do well under Ashley’s leadership. Even Hughton (is a Geordie, la lala la) might not be able to recreate the success we saw under him.
Route 3: The coup de force
This is the dream scenario, really. We pull off a managerial acquisition somehow, despite the turmoil and shambles ongoing on Barrack Road, that is way out of our league. Someone who knows how to get the best out of players: Rafa Benitez, Roberto di Matteo. Again though – are they going to get on with Ashley? Probably not.
Route 4: The French Connection
In for a centime, in for a franc – we go for a French Ligue 1 manager who could be attracted to our squad of players and the opportunity to make his name in England. Lyon’s Remi Garde has a good record but his status as a club legend there means he’s unlikely to move. Laurent Blanc is fresh in at PSG and wouldn’t dream of moving from there to our crazy little corner of the north east.
In general this is an unlikely option due to the fact that French Ligue 1 is often perceived to be of an inferior quality with a different management style to the Premier League; there is a huge divide between the top teams and the mid-table stragglers.
Route 5: The mediocre yes-man
Surely what would be the most likely option: Pardew is replaced by a manager of similar quality and ambition who’s looking for a nice secure job if he tells Ashley what he wants to hear.We end up with Lawrie Sanchez, Eddie Howe, Sven-Goran Eriksson or Neil Warnock.
Route 6: The gamble
The most interesting choice available to us; we go for an untested manager with a good record. This worked for Southampton and Swansea – clubs we should realistically be trying to emulate. Sean Dyche’s win record at Burnley almost touches 50% with a low-quality squad. Stale Solbakken got burned in Germany when he tried managing at Koln, but his impressive record managing Copenhagen (albeit one of the few ‘good’ clubs in the Danish league) can’t be ignored. Perhaps the leading candidate would be Watford’s Gianfranco Zola who has taken the club to a Championship play-off, albeit with considerable help from parent club Udinese. His 23% record at West Ham before that isn’t exactly encouraging either.
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