Newcastle Manager – The most dangerous job in football
So the day is finally upon us – the day that Pardew finally bade farewell to this great football club, when it seemed all hope was lost.
After he had weathered a maelstrom of discontent and turned around a run of results which seemed sure to cast him upon the scrapheap of ex-Newcastle managers which had claimed so many, he has walked away during a time of relative calm and success. What? I did say relative…
I’m sure a few of us are casting our memories back to the moment we split the Christmas wishbone and are wondering if dreams do, indeed, come true; however I cannot help but meet this moment with a pang of anxiety, despite how often I’ve dreamt of a day Newcastle United would be Pardewless once again.
Wherein I pictured myself dancing down Northumberland Street with a bottle of champagne in each hand, I cannot help but fear who will be gaffer next. I won’t venture down the redundant avenue of trying to persuade you that Pardew was a good or bad manager, as I’m sure you’ve already made your decision on that… and he’s gone now, so it doesn’t matter either way.
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Instead this article is written to consider the likely replacement of Alan Pardew from the perspective of a fan who has a semblance of understanding of what our owner wants and requires from the prospective replacement. A perspective that the general media (and bookmakers) seem to lack, as they bandy around names without rhyme or remit.
Hopefully by the end of the article you can respect why I haven’t accepted the news of Pardew’s departure with the unremitted glee that I had dreamt of… and I’m sure that a number of you reading this will be experiencing similar anxiety.
Before we begin an examination of the possible candidates for the job, I’m sure you will agree that it is important to consider the requirements of the man offering the job, Mr. Ashley, so we can precisely determine what we can expect from the new Newcastle United manager.
It’s important to accept from the beginning that the exercise we’re about to embark on is by no means an exact science – I’m sure you’d agree it’s impossible to accurately judge things from Ashley’s point of view, after all, who on Tyneside would have correctly predicted Pardew would have been appointed after Hughton was dismissed?
So we must act within the realm of speculation and on the basis of a few, unrevealing, facts. The first thing to consider is that after Hughton was dismissed, three days passed before Alan Pardew was appointed as the anointed one. That timeframe has already elapsed and we are yet to appoint a new manager.
It is fair to assume in the former case that Ashley had Pardew lined up prior to sacking Hughton, as Newcastle were 11th in the table when the axe fell upon Hughton, at a very similar time of year that Pardew was dismissed. In other words, the team was in no immediate danger of relegation and in no immediate need of managerial change… yet the new manager was appointed swiftly.
There are dubious reports that Coloccini was offered the job but turned it down, if this were true it suggests Ashley is looking for a replacement that will cost the least hassle and money. After all, why else would you appoint a manager who barely speaks English? A point raised previously by another Mag contributor (Graham Porter).
So, failing the appointment of a manager within a similar timeframe it is fair to assume (but by no means certain) that Ashley didn’t have a replacement lined up when Pardew was allowed to leave. So this begs the question – why exactly was Pardew allowed to leave?
After all, Mike could have said ‘get on with the job, you’re under contract for three more years’, as he reclined on his sunlounger in Barbados, when Pardew requested to leave the club.
After all, finding a new manager is an unnecessary hassle and would facilitate an increased level of personal publicity (both of which Ashley loathes), when he could have simply told Pardew to crack on.
So, again, I ask: why did Ashley allow Pardew to leave? Especially when he remained so reticent in front of such vociferous protests from the NUFC supporters to sack Pardew in the first place. It can’t be for the financial remuneration from Palace, as the £2m fee is not only a pittance of what he earns from his other business interests in a year, but is also 60% less than Pardew’s ,uch publicised contractual buy-out fee obligates, a sum you’d expect Ashley to hold out for for dear life.
So why is it that he was willing to let Pardew go without a replacement lined up?
I can only assume that this is the beginning of the end of the Ashley reign, for better or worse, and he is attempting to garner as much profit from NUFC as possible, by selling off its assets (an assumption which doesn’t bode well with the transfer window looming).
I believe that we are seeing the last days of the Ashley reign, as he wishes to take on ownership of Rangers, considering the massive potential exposure of his SD brand on the Champions League stage, after the Scottish FA decreed he can’t own/influence both Newcastle FC and Ranger FC.
Mike Ashley’s reason for buying NUFC in the first place was to gain an advertising medium for his brands, as it would be beamed directly to males at the ages of 10+, be it on Sky or match of the day, i.e. those who watch football i.e. the vast majority of the market for sportswear – information Sir John Hall was privy to when he sold his stake to Ashley. And boy has this tactic worked! The share value and profits of SD has rocketed since Ashley bought NUFC and decked its halls with SD adverts.
Never underestimate how big a deal brand recognition is, Just last month I found myself in need of a new backpack, and what was the first thing that sprang to mind? Sports Direct. This wouldn’t have been the case 10 years ago, but after constant bombardment of the brand logo, that is the first thing I thought when I thought ‘cheap sportswear’. Never forget how important constant exposure to a brand logo is for big companies. If you doubt this take a stroll down Northumberland Street and count how many Coca-Cola logos you see.
The paragraphs above may seem long-winded, but elucidate a key point – the man hiring the next Newcastle manager is doing so with the hope of doing it as cheaply as possible and (with less certainty) he aims to sell the club in due course.
With these facts in mind let us assess the potential of these managers, with the odds of BetVictor at the time of writing, though beware, the exact odds seem to change every hour.
Steve Bruce (33/1)
The national media seem to see this as a fair shout… after all he’s a Geordie isn’t he? Can’t see it myself, Ashley would have to buy out his contract (not likely) and he’s spent £40M to take Hull 17th in the league in the last 12 months. Isn’t frugal enough for Ashley and the media assumptions we’d welcome him with open arms (despite him managing the Mackems) are far wide of the mark. I’d be very, very surprised if we got Bruce.
Tim Sherwood (7/2)
I wouldn’t want him personally, but I can see him as the most likely candidate. No need for a compo payout (like Bruce), not a great deal of experience, but I can see him as a fair choice in Ashley’s eyes. Seemed to criticise the board a bit at Spurs (if memory serves me) which may be a point against, but I reckon Ashley may favour another cockney. Wouldn’t be a complete disaster, but wouldn’t exactly inspire me with confidence. Probably fair odds at 7/2.
Christopher Galtier (7/1)
I don’t know much about him as a coach, so I won’t pass judgement.May be cheap to employ as he manages in La Ligue, also a francophile so would get the best out of the (largely French) squad. I will say this though Galtier seems a choice which would take the team forward and I think Ashley is in the market for a quick, cheap fix. Can’t see him paying a buy-out fee. Probably a 4/1 shout realistically.
Steve McClaren (5/1)
Surely not a smoggy? In fairness, he has knowledge of the North East but as I remember, the smoggies weren’t too keen on him even when he took them to the UEFA Cup final. Can’t see it myself as he’s already employed.
John Carver (3/1)
Would be a disaster for the fans, but I reckon he’s a frontrunner for Ashley as he’d cost nothing extra to employ, would accept a short term contract (which is preferable to any potential buyers) and already toes the party line.
Nigel Worthington (33/1)
Can’t see it myself. The ex-Northern Ireland boss is by no means a renowned coach though and I can’t see Ashley appointing him ahead of someone who is already involved with the club. After all, anyone within the club already toes the line and would ostensibly cost less to employ, as you would assume you’d have to pay someone more to relocate. Poor value in my opinion.
Ally McCoist (18/1)
Tough one. Did he leave Rangers in protest of Ashley’s increased influence, or is the fact he remains on the Ashley payroll significant? decent value as he may very well be Ashley’s ace up his sleeve. Worth a flutter at 18/1.
Peter Beardsley (18/1)
Represents good value in my opinion. Would be impossible for the Geordie public to protest his appointment, already on the payroll and already complicit in Ashley’s way of running things. I reckon he’d be a fair appointment and probably represents the best value. Only name I’d definitely be happy with seeing appointed out of the candidates so far, admittedly though I don’t know much about Galtier.
Rafa Benitez (20/1)
I’d be happy to see him here, but I can’t see Ashley paying Napoli the compo. Not worth a punt at 20/1.
Others to consider:
Joe Kinnear (66/1)
Wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest, given Ashley’s fondness for winding us up. Cheap as chips for Ashley (number one consideration), not bad value considering the odds.
Frank De Boer (33/1)
Says Newcastle is a ‘sleeping giant’, but has also rejected advances from Spurs and Liverpool. It would show real ambition for Ashley to bring him here… something we know he lacks in regards to this club. Would suprise me, but if it did happen I’d be over the moon.
Jurgen Klopp (66/1)
His team is in the relegation zone so his stock is lower than ever… unbelievably good coach so why not? Oh wait, that’s right, no ambition from the owner. If Ashley wanted us to go places, this would be the man to chase after, can’t see it happening myself though as he wants a cheap and easy fix. Still, our needing a manager coincides with him being at his most desperate, so there’s hope.
Glenn Hoddle (33/1)
Cockney? Check. Out of work? Check. Willing to do what he’s told? Check? By no means likely to get the job, but not a bad shout at 33/1.
Overall though I think Ashley wants someone that A) he doesn’t have to pay to release from a contract and B) someone who’ll toe the line. This suggests to me the next manager is already on the payroll…make of that what you will.
To place a bet and/or to see odds for all potential next Newcastle managers go HERE
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