With the next Newcastle Manager a huge talking point for supporters, some thoughts about who should take the hot seat.
John Carver insists that he is the man to take the club forward. Before the critical weekend fixture with Leicester, against another former Newcastle coach, 2 wins in 16 outings does not give the same sort of confidence to the majority of supporters. As he often tells us, in his favour he worked with Sir Bobby. He has also toed the party line in accepting that he would have no say over transfers.
(To feature like Rex N, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)
Hot news off the press suggests that Carver has also received encouragement from Steve McClaren when they met at the under 21 fixture in midweek, a match that the Derby youngsters won 4-0. McClaren has also been touted as a favourite in the press.
McClaren can also (as well as Sir Bobby) claim credentials at international level, though he failed to qualify for the 2008 Euros after losing at home to Russia. However, he also shares an experience with Sir Bobby besides managing England, winning a league title in Holland.
He also shares some things in common with Carver. They gained their Pro License together. Both are nearing the end of a half season in which they fell out of the FA Cup perhaps too readily. McClaren, after heading the table, can also boast 2 wins in a dozen games, fading in the 2nd half of the season as has become the custom under Ashley.
The local press keep telling us that a decision will not be made until after 25th May. Lee Charnley has had long enough to sift through the alleged 80 applications for the post.
Amongst the speculated targets is a manager, Jurgen Klopp, who supporters would love to see. Sadly, he is too expensive, too successful and too charismatic to suit Ashley’s blueprint.
A more realistic target is a certain Paco Jemez, who share similar career history as Alan Pardew. Sacked twice, one automatic promotion from the 3rd tier, one play off reached from the 2nd tier. His highest placing in the top flight is 8th, with most goals conceded in 2 of the last 3 seasons. He could come cheap.
This raises a general question of a British or overseas manager. There is a curious pattern in the Premier League before the crucial last 4 games. Gary Monk, the young manager at Swansea, is the only English manager in the top half of the Premier League, albeit accompanied by a fellow Brit, Welshman Mark Hughes.
The bottom half of the table is littered with British managers, the exception being Dick Advocaat, with another Welshman in Tony Pulis making up the numbers. Dyche and Sherwood aside, the general profile is 50+. Of the current British managers, only McClaren, back in 2004, and Redknapp, currently out of the market, have actually won a domestic trophy.
Of course, it may seem disingenuous to exclude the Scottish managers such as Ferguson, Dalglish and Souness, but McClaren is the only English manager to win the League Cup since Clough in 1990, Redknapp the FA Cup, in the 20 years since Joe Royle and Howard Wilkinson (who led the FA when the current crop went through their Pro License) the only Englishman to win the league since Howard Kendall in the 1980s.
There are of course other English managers, out of work or who have done well outside the top flight. Dyche is in the company of our own Chris Hughton, Nigel Adkins, Brian McDermott, Ian Holloway, Paul Jewell, Aidy Boothroyd and yes, Ian Dowie, who have come up only to lose out at the top level.
Down in the Championship, a couple of young managers have shown how McClaren really should qualify himself to manage a top flight club. Eddie Howe has done a stunning job at Bournemouth. Slaviša Jokanović has done likewise at Watford, becoming only the 3rd non-British Isles manager to gain promotion from the 2nd tier, following Jean Tigana and Roberto Di Matteo.
To the naïve outsider, it would seem that English and British managers are set in Wilkinson’s ways, able to ply their trade without foreign competition in the lower leagues but with a brand of football that is outshone by more technical and strategic managers from overseas.
It depends what Ashley wants. McClaren is a British manager who has achieved league success overseas and some cup form in England. Cups have been the least of Ashley’s priorities and McClaren has been blessed with spending power from a philanthropic owner previously.
If cost is an issue, Ashley would surely be better advised to go for young English talent, if any are indeed capable of elevating themselves, or an overseas coach. The question then becomes who.
Klopp can aim higher, the same can be said for the likes of Simeone, despite the lure of Premier League riches.
There may be other survivors in other leagues, indeed, Remi Garde (pictured top), who was speculated upon as a potential candidate, is available, even former Toon favourite, Temuri Ketsbaia.
Given recent protests, all eyes will be on the appointment. Given past records, we can expect a cheap and uninspiring option. There are alternatives to the mundane long ball style favoured by English coaches in their 50s, including McClaren, Carver and yes, Joe Kinnear.
Ashley has a challenge, to dare to be bold. He also ostensibly has a desire for cheapness. There are examples: Koeman at Southampton, Pochettino before him. Sadly, if the decision, as reported, is going to wait until after 25th May, even the best of the low paid will have gone.
The ball is in Ashley’s court. Will we have a season to look forward to, or more of the same?