Steve McClaren looked astonished when put in the picture about what used to happen under Alan Pardew when it came to pre-season training at Newcastle United.

The new United Head Coach was asked whether he thought it was important that as many players as possible returned for training as soon as possible and replied that it was vital that they started working together as soon as possible.

McClaren looking bemused when the interviewer revealed that under Alan Pardew, players returned for pre-season in ‘dribs and drabs’, a group of players at a time over a longer period.

In the interview with the club’s official website, the most amusing interchange happened when the interviewer queried why on the first day of training the players were playing with a ball, revealing that under Alan Pardew it was far longer into pre season before that happened.

Steve McClaren replying with the one-liner…’Well you play football with a ball‘!!!

The new Head Coach is definitely starting to grow on me….

Hopefully we will see a much more professional approach to first team training under Steve McClaren than what appeared to be the case under Alan Pardew and John Carver. Maybe even a bit of practice on set-pieces and trying to attack the opposition?

steve mcclaren

Whilst McClaren came across well in the to interview to camera, the fact it was a club production means that of course none of the questions fans want answering, were asked.

Such as why no assistant manager or first team coach has been appointed and how concerned he was at no players signed as yet.

Though in answer to another question, Steve McClaren did inadvertently show how urgent/desperate the situation is, when he mentioned how short this year’s pre-season is and the fact that they only have nine more days of work before the squad head off to America.

The clock is ticking with only five weeks until the season kicks off and Newcastle and McClaren desperate for quality players to be added to the team/squad:

Interviewer – ‘In years gone by the players tended to come back in dribs and drabs, a few groups, today (Wednesday) they were pretty much all back together – why do you think that was important?’

Steve McClaren:

“It is vitally important that we got the majority here, Monday we have the rest of the internationals (back) who have been playing up until mid-June.

“I can’t wait until we have everybody working together. Talking is all well and good but this is why it is important to get them out there and start the work.”

Interviewer – ‘You got the ball out very early for this stage of the (pre) season, compared to what we have seen the past here?’

Steve McClaren:

“Well you play football with a ball!

“It’s vital that we do that and the players enjoy that, I do also.”

9 days work then America:

“It’s a shorter pre season, we have 10 (now 9) days hard work before we go to America.

“So we want to get some structure and some ball work into the players and try to incorporate fitness work and ball work.”



  • DownUnderMag

    Hopefully we can be a bit better at set pieces this season with more plans up our sleeve than “look the other way” on defence and “kick it to Willo” in attack.
    I think we need to give the new manager some time and a little slack.  Let him show what he can do and judge him on his own results HERE, not what he’s done elsewhere, not his aversion to rain and not on who the owner is.
    Or would fans have preferred us to not have a manager at all??

  • magpie9

    Why isnt he asked the questions all fans want answered? Reporters frightened they might lose free tickets?

  • LeazesEnder

    DownUnderMag We havn’t got a manager.

  • NIToon

    magpie9 It was an in house interview, stage managed by PR. No outside reporters there.

  • 1957

    A simple but true statement that gives me some hope that McClaren might improve things; “Well you play football with a ball…”
    Clearly the self proclaimed best manager and his pal the best coach in the Premier League didn’t believe in that ethos which might explain the difficulty some players had with the basics, passing, heading etc. Could this mean an end to pointless long balls and a new tactic of keeping the ball on the ground. Put in some coaching on effective set pieces as well and McClaren will get time.
    Although he must be doing it wrong…Pardew and Carver were perfect, we were just ungrateful.

  • radgiegadgie

    Were those players not coming back in dribs and drabs because they had played in world cups?

  • TonnekToon

    1957 Aah, Pardew and Carver the best comedy double act ever ! Pity we didn’t appreciate it at the time.   Ungrateful sods were are !

  • magpiefifer

    I was never a Pardew fan,but are these questions not ‘loaded’ to show McClaren in a good light!?
    Yet more controlling propaganda from this shower?

  • Kev82

    If it’s important to have the players working together early, does that not apply to new signings? Surely there is more benefit from having a full preseason with us rather than turning up the day before the season or on deadline day.

  • Hez

    magpiefifer  totally agree, pathetic questions from the club, what are they trying to prove?

  • Hez

    Don’t fall it, staged managed by the club “in house interview”, wouldn’t surprise if it was scripted, they’ll be a purpose to it

  • ArtyH

    Ha ha ha, only season ticket holders will believe that shy#@, well they believed everything else that comes out of the club, don’t they?

  • magpiefifer

    Hez magpiefifer  They are proving just how manipulative they are!Thankfully,it looks as if more and more supporters are seeing this odious regime for what they are.

  • amacdee

    Those three f’wits (pictured above) all stole a living at this club for far too long.

  • fireflyuk

    It shows how desperate we are, that we are supposed to be impressed that we have a HC who wants the players back on time and they actually use a football in training. Pre Ashley these things were normal.

  • AB233

    Kev82 New signings? What are those?

  • AB233

    NIToon magpie9 Which happens frequently at all PL clubs so. . .

  • DavidDrape

    well mclaren did tour Europe for 1 year apparently after the England job exploring different coaching methods. anyway, all youth teams abroad even the under 5s even warm up with a ball – thats been the way forward for youth teams n uk from hat i seen in last 5-10 years. kids don’t physically/bones develop until about 12 so it has got to be all about technique. he is applying the same approach with professionals. also its more tiring doing 3 laps of a field with a ball at your feet then simply running.

  • Steve1221

    What a load of nonsense, in exactly the same manner as last year the players involved in international duty haven’t returned for pre season yet.

  • 1957

    Last season Pardew brought the players back in small groups over a week to undergo extensive medical tests which were supposed to feed into an individual training plan for each player that supposedly would help prevent muscle injuries. Thankfully the coach he brought into the club to oversee this process isnt there anymore.
    Players on international duty arrived a couple of weeks later

  • BaldEagle10

    I think it would be in Newcastle’s best interests to stop being so negative about what Pardew didn’t do, and start being more positive about what McClaren is going to do. Good luck with McClaren by the way. And no, surely those questions aren’t loaded.