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Garth Crooks comes up with bizarre replacement for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle

3 years ago

Garth Crooks was full of praise for Sunderland after they defeated Chelsea on Saturday, a result that leaves them hot favourites to survive.

The BBC pundit says that they threw everything into the match ‘including the kitchen sink’, saying that they had no other choice than to do that for them to have hope of staying up.

It makes it all the more bizarre as to why Newcastle played so conservatively against the worst team in the Premier League by far, as Ian Wright said on Match of The Day, if Newcastle had pressurised Aston Villa then it would almost have certainly led to mistakes and goals, rather than the 0-0 result which was of little or no help.

Garth Crooks chose Sunderland’s Khazri and Defoe in his Premier League team of the week but predictably no Newcastle players, though he did have a bizarre suggestion to replace Rafa Benitez.

Crooks stated that if Newcastle United go down ‘Will Mike Ashley ask former boss Chris Hughton to bring them back up again’.

For many of those who are paid to talk about football, it is amazing how ignorant and lazy they are when it comes down to doing any basic research before they speak.

Firstly, Chris Hughton has been so unlucky with Brighton, failing only by goal difference to get automatic promotion and they will be big favourites to go up through the play-offs. Brighton finished a massive 20 points ahead of those outside the play-offs and were unlucky to only draw at Middlesbrough in the final decisive match.

Secondly and most importantly though, does Garth Crooks not have a single idea about what happened when Mike Ashley previously employed Chris Hughton to manage Newcastle?

In summer of 2009, Ashley didn’t even give Chris Hughton the job title, instead making him caretaker boss. The Newcastle owner then sold anybody who he had an offer for and didn’t allow Hughton to spend a penny that summer in the transfer market.

Then despite no backing from Ashley, Chris Hughton got the players back as a team and they walked the Championship finishing as champions.

Then on returning to the Premier League, the NUFC owner once again starved Chris Hughton of funds, with Cheick Tiote for around £3.5m the only ‘big’ signing. Otherwise it was a bargain buy James Perch, out of contract players Gosling and Campbell, plus Ben Arfa on loan.

Despite this Hughton got Newcastle playing some decent football and safely in mid-table, only for Mike Ashley to sack him after defeat at West Brom, despite only a few weeks earlier beating Sunderland 5-1 and winning 1-0 against Arsenal at the Emirates.

Rumours at  the time suggested that Chris Hughton had upset Mike Ashley by making clear that he wasn’t prepared to see his best players sold, Alan Pardew appointed after being sacked from third tier Southampton and who only days after saying there was no way Andy Carroll was going to be sold, Newcastle’s centre forward was sold to Liverpool and no replacement bought in.

The chances of Chris Hughton working for Mike Ashley will be around about as likely as Kevin Keegan doing the same. It should be similar odds for Garth Crooks working for the BBC again but sadly that isn’t going to happen either.

Garth Crooks:

“Sunderland threw everything they could at this game, including the kitchen sink.

“But then again they had to if they had any intention of remaining in the Premier League – nothing else short of a monumental effort would have toppled Chelsea.

“Sunderland now need one win from two games and they will send Newcastle, their arch rivals, into the Championship.

“If that does happen, and it looks likely, will Newcastle owner Mike Ashley ask former boss Chris Hughton to bring them back up again?”



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