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.”

steve mcclaren

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.



  • v0ices

    Nice to see him saying it how it is, you have to wonder how much freedom of speech McClaren will be allowed before Ashley wheels out the lawyers.

  • NottsToon

    Shut up Steve, stop being negative…..everything is awesome !

  • Hughie

    “6 or 7 couldn’t play on this surface”. Ambiguous comment. More like 12 or 13 with 6 or 7 already carrying knocks and 6 or 7 not fit to wear the shirt!!

  • DecMacK

    Portland were the better side. The pitch was fine. No one in Portland ever complains, and they have a better injury record than the Toon. Excuses don’t make for good self-assessment. Right now these jokers playing in the Black and White have some serious self-assessing to do. McClaren needs to drop the hammer on half the squad and stop pretending that travel and friendlies are the real problem. We all know the real problem.

    The one thing to take away from the US trip is that second and third tier teams in the States should not be treated with contempt. All three teams outplayed Newcastle.

  • fireflyuk

    I didn’t want McClaren at the club however he is slowly going up in my estimation. He comes across as really professional, or at least more professional than the last two incumbents and the board who make the decisions. 

    Hopefully he can get the club to start operating as a professional football club and not the circus it has been. This needs to be written off and we need to move forward, on a positive note a very bad result in a pre-season friendly will actually do us more good than a handful of easy wins (remember Orient).

  • toonmad1956

    Shane Fergusson at centre half – now that I must see!

  • wor monga

    In reality this game meant little more than a chance to put
    some players on the field that hadn’t been out yet, and let the coach see how
    they looked, before the flight home, and the serious friendlies begin on Sunday…

    … it wasn’t so much due to the lack of effort but simply that once the Portland
    side found out that our whole back line was ‘piss weak’ and couldn’t get
    themselves up more than 4 or 5 inches in the air to defend a high cross…the
    best way to go was…by aerial assault.

    …Maclaren will know for sure now that Ferguson, Bigirimana,
    and Satka haven’t improved anywhere near where they should be by this stage of
    their careers, and he must have doubts that it will happen now…also Abeid is
    too slow, and although he has looked decent at times last season, I think he
    will be too far behind the other midfielders now to play any part…so if a buyer
    comes in they will sell him.

    …Same applies to Gouffran, Williamson, and Collocini if serious
    attempts are made to replace them either in this window or the next…

    …He must do all he can to keep Aarons at the club though…if the lad can protect his
    hamstrings he will be in the top bracket, in the near future!!

  • keeganRescueUs

    Why is a U.S. Tour do bad for us when the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United can seem to cope no problem? To be honest I couldn’t care less where they do pre season. Long haul trips are the norm for premier teams nowadays so why the hysterics!!!?

  • desree

    Don’t panic everyone Steve was just giving our cup team a run out!

  • v0ices

    keeganRescueUs New coaches trying to learn about the players, no time to train properly due to the schedule of the matches and chelsea and manchester united have huge squads they can call on not a squad half full of substandard or injury prone players the coach does not to play.

  • v0ices

    wor monga glad you feel so positive about it McClaren looks more than a tad upset in the pictures.

  • DownUnderMag

    keeganRescueUs because they have relatively settled squads, don’t have a new manager, have a lot bigger and deeper squad…
    We are thread bare as it is, needed time at home for the new manager to get to know his players and had to sort out implementing new tactics and add new players.

  • 1957

    I think McClaren has been a breath of fresh air to a club that was stagnating. Whether he is or not he gives the impression that he is in control of the club and he will do things his way in future, that is essential in terms of his relationship with players.
    A regular contributor to this site described him as ‘…a joke…’ he isn’t, if he were Steve Black would never have come onto the staff, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Black at a seminar and I doubt he is easily conned.

  • BONESNUFC

    I think McClarren has a point the USA is to far to travel for such a small squad, I personally dont really care if we lose all freindlys its really just a training exercise.but conceding 4 goals in one game surely makes you think we need height and strength at the back,  lets face it theres a lot of better teams in the premiership

  • Morpeth mag

    It’s not the trip that is the problem, it is the way the club has been run for the last 8 years, the players we have at the club, with the exception of maybe 7 or 8, are not good enough, we need two center backs, this is a priority and all the Ashley backers can argue as much as they like, the club has been mismanaged for the sole purpose of his financial greed,,,,

  • wor monga

    v0ices        Starting that game on their plastic pitch, with probably only
    4 / 5 players likely to start games in the PL, and getting beat due to the
    weaknesses of the other 5 /6 (who will probably never start games)…

    …isn’t a valid reason for yet another Wilkin’s article
    attacking the club…Mac was right not to risk players on that surface, and give
    them the chance to cry off…

    …he didn’t arrange the shambles, but had to play it…and
    we finished without injury, job done!!

  • v0ices

    wor monga v0ices i dont significantly disagree with you I was just pointing out Mr McClarens rather obvious upset and frustration. Something i think most fans feel at losing to a 3rd tier american side.

  • Connora

    The long travelling is not ideal for a squad, however it is more than understandable why a trip to the states was planned for pre-season. The mls and football in general in America is booming at the moment, the quality of play is improving, wages are increasing and attendance’s are at an all time high. So it is a wise move to capitalise on this market, get the clubs name out there, build a reputation in America, as this will lead to American players in the future wanting to play for Newcastle, not just man u and Chelsea etc… Also, probably the main reason it was organised is the amount of money it will generate compared to a tour in western Europe

  • Mal44

    Our pre season tours always seem to be a shambles. Questions have to be asked as to why our final game was set up against a reserve team on an artificial pitch. A complete waste of time.

  • PhilYare

    Connora so why did we go to new zealand last year? i don’t think there is anybody intelligent enough at the club to make such decisions, its always random

  • kuromori

    Connora How do we build a reputation in the US by losing to their lower-tier teams? Is that going to make us a more attractive option? Our only win was from an OG.

  • Connora

    kuromori Connora granted we haven’t been impressive, but the yanks go crazy over a premier league team, but I agree our performances won’t have done us any favours

  • Iandunn1234

    Why even bother going past Dover? Its not like were going to need plane tickets soon is it?