Former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has labelled Newcastle United as ‘pathetic’ after the way that the club handled the unveiling of Steve McClaren.

Andy Gray’s sidekick says that he likes McClaren ‘a lot’, but thinks the new Newcastle Head Coach’s coronation was a major own goal.

Mike Ashley allowed only two ‘preferred media partners’ to speak to Steve McClaren on Wednesday, the Daily Mirror and ironically, Richard Keys’ former employers, Sky Sports.

Richard Keys writing on his own personal website:

“How silly that the unveiling of Steve McClaren was attended only by two press organisations. Pathetic. Not becoming of a fine club. What on earth next?

“McClaren I like…a lot, but he did himself no favours taking over in those circumstances. What a missed opportunity to let everybody at the Toon, importantly supporters first, and those who currently own the club, know ‘I’m in charge’.”

A new era:

“A new era, already scarred by the deep cuts and injuries inflicted on the club by its ‘own’. Sad.

“Steve McClaren will only succeed there if he gets everybody, and I mean everybody, on side.”

Whatever you think of Richard Keys, the new manager/head coach surely needs every bit of help he can get to turn Newcastle United around. So to wind up the vast majority of the media before McClaren has even stepped into the job, isn’t exactly what he needed.

Various journalists later revealed that they had got in touch with Steve McClaren but he was then in the embarrassing position of having to tell them he wasn’t able to speak to them because he was under orders not to.

With Newcastle United needing a dominant figure who can act decisively and make big decisions, it hardly paints the best picture when he doesn’t even have the freedom to speak to who he choose to.

Very hard to believe that the likes of Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson would have taken the Newcastle job on such a basis.

Being optimistic, we have to hope that McClaren’s acceptance of orders in relation to how he deals with the press, are no reflection on potential limitations he may or may not have accepted in the rest of his job specification.

So much is wrong with the club, which was summed up by last season’s comedy of errors and near disaster, Steve McClaren must surely be given total freedom to change whatever he sees wrong at the club.

The truth of course is that everything else plays second fiddle to results on the pitch and the players who are (or aren’t) signed in the coming weeks will go a long way to telling us just how much the new head coach is changing things and the amount of backing Mike Ashley is prepared to give him.

Credible signings such as Charlie Austin would pretty much sweep away worries about Ashley’s crass handling of things such as the relationship with the media, but with every day that goes by and no concrete evidence of transfer market action, worries about how desperate an out of work McClaren was to take the job (and limitations he was potentially prepared to accept) will fill that void.

  • Prateek Thammineni

    Who’s Richard Keys? oh wait, it’s the guy who’s famous for nothing apart from saying ‘banter’

  • Phil Douglas

    Wee’s richard keys are these?

  • A lex

    Well said. The way announcements and communications are made these days is just secretive and underhand.

    Fan behaviour or desires have nothing at all to do with making NUFC a laughing stock – it’s the way Ashley projects us to the media and the rest of the football world

  • mactoon

    So much for the new era, a Manager under instructions not to talk to the press. Keys has it spot on.. pathetic

  • Jarra MIck

    The bairn has just received his renewal form. Christ what a load of henry hollicks.

  • Keith Brooks

    Was I just imagining things or did Steve Mc Claren not give a detailed and one on one interview with the Chronicle? #whydogeordiesfocusonthe negative ?

  • Stephen McMenzie


  • GToon

    Yes, he’s spot on with yet another decision based purely on ….you guessed it ….. making money, with just a few close paying journalists invited. Hey, why bother announcing the news to the world and looking to generate future interest and business growth when your can make a quick few quid in the short term. This attitude of the fast sell, repent later ought to be the club motto under Ashley. You would think that reputation is something he might have an idea about. So we are now going to become the club that doesn’t speak. Just imagine how the journalists will hound McClaren when things go wrong for him. And I very much doubt it’s his decision. Poor bloke. Very little say in transfers and now very little say at all. And all of this in a country that has freedom of speech. Well it’s not quite free is it Mr Ashley. What next, conduct the interviews in an airless room and make them pay for oxygen?

  • Simon Sharp

    I’ll tell you what’s pathetic: off the mic comments about a female assistant referee.

  • wor monga

    What difference does it make if there’s a hundred of them
    sitting there or just the one…McClaren’s only got the same prepared statement
    to make to the media, and only questions focussed strictly on his own views and
    ideas for the future would get any response from him…

    Keys should know by experience that speaking outside of set
    company guidelines, in any employment…ends in the sack, and it would be no
    different for McClaren…

    …but who really cares about the press, they just make things
    up as they go along anyway…to make certain London /Manchester clubs look good
    and the rest of the clubs mediocre!!

  • Demented_Man

    wor monga Yeah! who cares about the press!  After all, they’re just one of the guarantors of democracy.  Let’s burn all the papers in the street.  While we’re at it, let’s burn all the dissenting books too!

  • Wallsendstu

    It boils down to exactly what GToon says ‘money’.  If you pay you get access, that way the Fat man and Penfod can control what is said. It just proves that the crap about changes being made is lies. Penfold said at the start of last season that better communication was needed he didn’t add that it would only happen if you are willing to pay for it. Gagging orders, confidentiality clauses, court orders, bans if you don’t show the regime in a good light, bans for getting minutes of meetings out before the spin doctors could change them to suit. All of these things constantly put or club in a bad light and make us a laughing stock. Keys is right Pathetic.

  • Mal44

    They should have had a full press conference, lifted all the newspaper bans and also the NUST ban and signalled a new start. What is it with the NUST ban? You get less of a sentence for GBH. A spectacular own goal.

  • Peter E Hutchinson

    The media in all it’s guises will always take a swipe at NUFC no matter what we do, they always have and always will. It is they, that is pathetic!

  • NottsToon

    Except Keys didn’t describe Newcastle United as pathetic, he described the handling of the press conference as pathetic. Big difference.

  • Toon Darren

    Not really interested in what keys had to say. This is a man who was sacked from Sky. Yes NUFC should should lift the media ban and this with 100 things that are wrong with our great club. Yet let’s start to fix the most important thing first.
    Getting a team that are proud to wear our famous shirt.bring pride back to our amazing city and never have a repeat of last season.

  • wor monga

    Demented_Man      This is football we’re talking about here…remember!!…not
    the end of the free world as we know it.

  • Greg Codling

    Sexist sheeeet, how about you shave your hards, or your heed off.

  • wor monga

    Toon Darren        That seems like a bit of good common sense on here for a

  • Demented_Man

    wor monga Demented_Man It would be, if Ashley had his way.

  • mrkgw

    Always likes the Keys-Gray partnership and he is right in his comments. The club are sadly, a PR disaster. My guess is that Charnley is the man behind it all, not necessarily Ashley.

  • dav_art

    NottsToon  What? A misleading headline this site?  Never!

  • Mark Brooker

    That’s coming from one of sky’s worst ever anchorman who treated viewers as if they were stupid and was just there as a stooge to make Andy Gray look good.

  • LeazesEnder

    Demented_Man wor monga thats a hell of a ‘snarl’

  • kuromori

    How come no-one’s asked *who* is gagging Schteve? He’s on the Board now so surely he has enough clout to conduct his own press conferences? 
    Definitely a case of follow the money – it’s cash for questions.

  • mactoon

    He won’t have any clout about deciding what press to talk to as this cash for questions policy was introduced by the club last season and it dictates which press are allowed access to the club and it’s employees. It just indicates to me that there is no change in policy or approach at the club regardless of what Ashley said in front of the sky cameras. It’s up to the club to prove me wrong..