Is Steve McClaren who we expected? Is Steve McClaren who we wanted?

I have to say when he was first linked with us in 2004, when Sir Bobby was harshly shown the door by Freddy Shepherd, I wouldn’t have been enthralled at the news. The reaction probably would have been the same as if Steve Bruce had been appointed, or Sam Allardyce, or Graeme Souness.

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However, in 2015 I can’t help but think that he makes a good fit for the role of Newcastle Manager/Head Coach.

Mike Ashley stepping away from the board has to be seen as a good thing, a positive in that now we have someone in that position who is actually a football man, after all, Lee Charnley’s knowledge about football could be written on the back of a postage stamp.

If Graham Carr and Steve McClaren (friends apparently) can knock ideas and transfers about, then present them to Charnley to go and do the bidding, this can surely only be another positive, IF the player in question gets to speak to McClaren and NOT Charnley himself.

Talk of how much is available to spend is pretty pointless. It’s far more logical for McClaren and Carr to pinpoint the need for two centre backs and two strikers and make that a starting point for where funds need to be targeted most.

There are other areas that need attention of course, but these two positions (four signings) are paramount and if Charlie Austin has had a £15m tag slapped on his head, this is not the time for the club to play their previous hardball game.

Bid the £15m, get a top striker and that’s one position covered, simple as that. Move that mythical ‘line’ closer to the player, not the other way around.

Steve McClaren has impressed me straight away for two reasons.

Firstly, he did what I and many others knew was needed, but many of us didn’t expect to happen. John Carver and Steve Stone are no longer here, positions untenable.

Secondly, in keeping with Ashley’s final day statement that he wants to win something, the statements from McClaren and Newcastle are that we should be targeting the top 8 and winning a cup.

Ok, I’ll believe that one when I see it. I look forward to the teams selected in August and next January when the first League and FA Cup ties are played, but it’s a welcome policy shift, if genuine.

Other things that are afoot will be McClaren bringing in his own bodies on the coaching staff. I’ve been encouraged by the mention of Steve Black coming back to the club.

However, one thing that needs to be looked at is the physio and fitness departments at the club, they need to be put under harsher scrutiny over the coming months.

Aside from what’s going on behind closed doors, there’s another body of people that need to look at themselves and get behind the new manager. Us, the fans.

We can’t harbour dreams of getting a Jose Mourinho or a Rafa Benitez. Even a Patrick Vieira would’ve been a gamble. And that’s the point, every appointment is a gamble, every signing is a gamble. The problem in the recent past is that the club has been run down at an alarming rate, almost deliberately so. This must change.

We now have a Manager in place, unlike John Carver, who was a Head Coach at best. We had a Manager in place before him in Alan Pardew, who did a reasonable job under the circumstances, even though I disagreed with things he said (and did) and felt the time was right for club and manager to move on.

The new man needs to have substantial backing from the owner AND the fans.

No half-hearted stuff please.

If he gets neither, then we all suffer. If he gets one but not the other, then his job is made twice as difficult as it needs to be. However, if he gets both . .



  • Terry Davidson

    lets back the man !

  • Michael Maximus Moose

    He`ll impress me when players are signed !!  Its all all up to now

  • Peter Nealon

    McClaren is a great coach he makes average players better and that’s all we’re gonna buy so he fits perfectly for us

  • magpiefifer

    My biggest worry is Charnley – who will he manage to sign the dotted line with Ashley pulling his strings and telling him to remember the balance sheet!!!

  • Paul Patterson

    He’s a worry for me too . .

  • Seventy2

    We all live in HOPE

  • Andgeo

    Penfold needs a rocket up his arse.

  • Squintytoonarmy

    Ryan shawcross, Charlie Austin, Robbie Brady- all gettable and better than what we got

  • Paul Patterson

    Squintytoonarmy  I like it. I’ve been shouting for a Ryan Shawcross for a few months now . .

  • Squintytoonarmy

    Think we could get shawcross steady 7/10 player can’t think of any other centre halves in premiership who are gettable and can do a job. On this point can’t understand fixation with French imports why don’t we look at scandanvia for centre halves loads of success stories in premiership.

  • Jimmywayhay

    Another day gone and no news of any new members of staff ,three days to go and that’s another weeks wages been saved !

  • DownUnderMag

    Squintytoonarmy in fairness a steady 7/10 player is exactly what we need.  We don’t need some flash in the pan superstar one game, liability the next.  We need to start and build on a steady foundation and the best way to do that is to get some good solid british centre-halves in.  Tired of us getting flair player for the backline and then wondering why we are leaking goals all the time.

  • DownUnderMag

    I’m backing McClaren, I just hope Ashley will too.  If we get rid of Cisse as is being suggested, then we literally have a squad that would struggle to stay up in the conference.  We need a goalscoring forward, a forward who can hold the ball up, someone in midfield who can pass more than 3 yards and who can preferably cross a ball and/or take a free kick, a commanding centre-half and a LB.  Minimum!  That’s before any outgoings (with my mind still not 100% on the likes of Krul, Sissoko, Tiote and others staying put).  Sissoko is probably our main saleable asset, but his desire for first team football for the France squad is to our advantage after he saw what happened to Cabaye!

  • radgiegadgie

    Jimmywayhay well the transfer window is not open if you are talking about playing staff.  As for McClaren’s back room staff, I think I would give him more than 6 days to sort it out.

  • Paul Quigley

    Not in my top 10, but he’s our manager/coach he gets my full support. Let’s get behind him and the team. Onwards and upwards

  • Peter Nealon

    Top 10 for us or just top ten managers full stop?

  • Jimmywayhay

    Who said sign ? Other clubs are all make more positive moves than Newcastle and remember how long the same problems have haunted the side ,targets should have been identified at least 18 months ago ,this is one club that should have been ready to move ,the day the season ended ,pre contracts or not ,does not instill confidence ,but fingers crossed give McLaren his chance ,we’re going to know quite soon if he’s a yes man or not !

  • XerxesVargas

    I have to say that this line that McClaren and other football men on the board is a massive red herring. It will make no difference to how the club is run and is just more of Ashley’s smoke and mirrors. If you look at Ashley’s history in corporate governance he is as keen on that as he is at running a successful football club. 

    The previous board had 2 people on it, which is the minimum permitted by law. He is regarded as a “maverick” in the city because of his disregard to corporate procedure. This new board will have no real power, and if he didn’t need to have one he wouldn’t. So lets not let that get our hopes up. I suspect he’s put McClaren on it because it will then make it hard for him to criticise the lack of players coming in and good players being sold at Christmas because he can turn around and say McClaren is part of the collective responsibility for making whatever sh*tty decision we are all marveling at.

  • SGM

    Good read very valid points. Lets hope that the powers,that be are reading.