Newcastle United’s new coaching staff have been speaking for the first time about their latest club and the difference they hope they can make to bring success to St James Park.
Whatever the reality ends up being, no coaching staff have ever been appointed at a major club with such goodwill, that is goodwill produced simply by not being the people they have replaced.
John Carver and Steve Stone presided over a disastrous second half of the season and not carry the ‘honour’ of being responsible for the longest run of consecutive league defeats in Newcastle United history.
So what can their replacements do.
Speaking to the official NUFC website, Assistant Manager Ian Cathro had this to say:
“There is a good feeling around the place and everyone is keen to make some progress. My view is to give everything I possibly can and spend every hour of the day, trying to support Steve and the rest of the staff, help the players improve and just give every part of me that I can.
“I know I’m still probably quite young, and that’s written in the first line of most things, but I don’t feel it. I’m just a hard worker and you get a lot done when you focus entirely on one thing.”
First team coach Paul Simpson has followed Steve McClaren from Derby and his take on the new challenge:
“It is a great opportunity for us all to come to a football club like this.
“Steve’s tried to put a management team together that’s going to help as much as we possibly can. He has brought Ian Cathro in, who is a very bright up and coming coach with a fantastic energy to him and really good ideas, as well as myself to help with the organisational stuff, an extra pair of hands out on the training field.
Bringing the good times back…
“Alessandro (Shoenmaker) has come in on the fitness side to go alongside what is already here…hopefully with us all together we can help bring some real good times back to the football club.”
“They (players) are showing that they have got the enthusiasm, that they want to learn and listen. I think they’re still a little bit nervous because of all the changes that are going on but they’ll get used to us.”
A bit like players when they sign, the coaching staff are saying all the things you would expect them to.
As fans we all want to believe that McClaren and his coaching staff can prove that the current players are not as bad as they have shown, certainly in that last five months of the season.
However, exactly how big a role do coaches/assistant play?
Newcastle’s best times in the modern era came about under Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson.
Keegan famously had Terry Mac as his assistant/’buffer’, somebody to bounce things off and a friend he could rely on. Also, somebody who would be his link into the dressing room.
In terms of coaching it was Derek Fazackerley who was the main man and yet he was usually well away from the limelight. Fazackerley went on to coach at various clubs including teaming up with Terry McDermott a number of times to work with Lee Clark at clubs such as Huddersfield and Birmingham, now he is assistant head coach at League Two Oxford United.
With Sir Bobby, his assistant was of course John Carver as Newcastle competed in the top four and the Champions League. With Carver seen as doing a similar job as Terry McDermott had done, as Sir Bobby’s man in the dressing room.
Like Steve McClaren, Sir Bobby was somebody who was hands on with the coaching, whereas Kevin Keegan joined in but was the first to admit that he relied on Derek Fazackerley to coordinate that side of things.
Fairly or not, most Newcastle fans judge John Carver as being a major factor to blame for what has gone wrong in recent years and yet give him little or not credit for anything that happened when Sir Bobby Robson was in charge.
Steve McClaren made his name as a coach and helped Manchester United to win numerous trophies.
The minimum we do expect is that McClaren and his coaches will put out teams that aren’t regularly shown up as being unable to deal with the basics, such as defending and attacking set-plays.
Mixed reports have came in as to just how adventurous/attractive Steve McClaren’s teams have been in the past.
What would most definitely help is if in the next few weeks the new Head Coach and his coaches are given some more ‘attractive’ players to work with via the transfer market.