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Steve McClaren exposes the shambles at St James Park

5 years ago

Steve McClaren had already expressed his displeasure at the pre season trip to America and now that has been taken to a whole new level.

Before flying off to the States the Newcastle Head Coach said that what had been arranged for pre season before his arrival wasn’t necessarily healthy for the squad, but it was ‘something we have to deal with’.

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Steve McClaren:

“It’s going to be a lot of travel and I can’t say it is always healthy that kind of travel, normally like to stay European based, but it is something we have to deal with.

“Next week will be the games and discipline & organisation – players knowing their jobs.”

After Tuesday night’s farce against Portland Timbers’ second team, it wasn’t hard to predict what McClaren’s reaction would be.

Not only did many of his players look lackadaisical and/or well off the pace as they collapsed to a 4-1 scoreline at one point – but the Head Coach revealed after the game that he couldn’t even play the team he wanted because of the venue Newcastle United had agreed to play at.

Steve McClaren that he couldn’t risk half a dozen players including Coloccini, Lascelles, Taylor and Williamson because of the dangerous artificial pitch, as well as having to be careful with how long he gave certain other players.

I’m guessing he was especially referring to Siem de Jong who was only risked for 15 minutes, whilst Wijnaldum was restricted to 45.

Steve McClaren:

“In the first half it was a makeshift back four as we had no centre-halves really.

“They couldn’t play on this surface and so that was always going to be difficult.”

Six or seven couldn’t play:

“We had six of seven who couldn’t play on that surface, whilst quite a few played who we only wanted to give a small amount of time to because of troubles that they can get.

“In that respect, the key thing was that everyone came through safely and no injuries. We’ve more or less done that.”

Hard to believe that those at St James Park can allow such amateurish planning, only two weeks before the season starts and having travelled thousands of miles the Head Coach can’t put any kind of recognisable team out on the pitch.

It must surely be one of the most bizarre sights seeing Shane Ferguson, who is as robust as an empty crisp packet, having to play at centre-back.

Before the matches in America, as per the quotes above McClaren said that these games in the States were all about ‘…discipline and organisation, players knowing their jobs’.

I’d love to know what he thinks now of what he has been landed with, having to put out that makeshift team against Portland Timbers’ second team with the ‘discipline and organisation’ to let in four goals (which could have been a lot worse) and in terms of ‘players knowing their jobs’, well I think you’d have to ask right-back Bigirimana, left-back Aarons (who almost singlehandedly saved the day with an assist and two goals, including a superb overhead kick – watch it HERE) and centre-half Ferguson.

Then to really put the cherry on the top, Yoan Gouffran was made Captain for the second-half…the lunatics had most definitely taken over the asylum.

Before Steve McClaren’s appointment, in official statements the club made clear that the new Head Coach would have very limited powers and just basically have the job of coaching the players he was given.

Let’s hope that this has been well and truly torn up now because there are clearly some clueless people who have made poor decisions about many things, including this pre season, and Steve McClaren needs to be given total power to do things his way and not accept any nonsense that is thrown at him as Pardew and Carver did before him.

It is of course great that Newcastle fans in this part of the world have been able to see the players up close but that is a separate issue and the club needs to ramp up the levels of professionalism by many notches if Steve McClaren isn’t going to be faced by an impossible task.

The whole club needs a shake-up and hopefully the former England boss is the man to do it.

Promising as the signings of Mitrovic and Wijnaldum do appear, it is no good bringing players in with great potential who will then be wasted because the club is permanently in chaos.


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