Lee Clark knows what Newcastle United are capable of, when the right manager is in place.
A key member of Kevin Keegan’s team that went from fighting relegation to the third tier, to within a whisker of winning the Premier League, the former player knows that if the right man is backed at St James Park then the club can pick up great momentum.
The same happened with Sir Bobby Robson, Lee Clark watching on as a Newcastle fan then playing for Fulham, Sir Bobby having NUFC compete at the very top of the Premier League with finishes of fourth, third and fifth, as well as Champions League football.
Clark no regularly watches Newcastle since being sacked as Bury manager in October and like every fan knows: ‘The club has a world-class manager and he must be given the tools to kick on and work at the level he wants to take the club.’
He thinks Rafa Benitez has done a ‘tremendous’ job but if he is not supported in trying to realise the ambitions that both he and the Newcastle fans have, then Mike Ashley will end up driving him out of the club.
The former Newcastle midfielder thinks his old club will stay up but that this can’t be the limit of their ambitions, whilst he also hopes Saturday’s opponents will also survive.
Dean Hoyle gave Lee Clark his first job in football management back in 2008 and he believes he is a ‘magnificent owner’ but could be facing a battle to keep David Wagner, due to the job he has done at Huddersfield.
Lee Clark talking to The Star:
“If Huddersfield stay up, it will be an incredible achievement, and David Wagner will be one of the managers of the season, but the biggest problem for them will be that he is a man very much in demand.
“Dean Hoyle, who is a top guy and a magnificent owner has been fighting off bigger clubs for 18 months and it is only going to get harder.
“Like David Wagner, Rafa Benitez has been tremendous.
“Of course, fourth bottom isn’t what he’d have wanted back in August, while staying up is a cause for celebration in Huddersfield’s case.
“Knowing their [Huddersfield’s] owner and his ambitions, he’ll see that as the start of a journey but for Rafa…it’s imperative Newcastle break into the top ten and start challenging for Europe.
“The club has a world class manager and he must be given the tools to kick on and work at the level he wants to take the club.
“Rafa wants Newcastle back to where they were under Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson and with his own background, he believes, quite rightly, that’s where he should be working.
“Newcastle will survive this year and I’m backing Huddersfield to do so as well, but then the two clubs have another battle on their hands holding on to their managers, and that’s one I want them to win too.”