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The 14 Premier League Newcastle United Managers ranked in order of greatness

2 years ago

Newcastle United Managers of the Premier League era.

How would you rate them?

I was inspired to contribute after watching a discussion on Saturday night’s Match Of The Day, where three former Newcastle United Managers were discussed amongst a group of 10 considered to be the best in Premier League history.

Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, discussing the merits of Kenny Dalglish, Rafa Benitez and Sir Bobby Robson amongst others.

However, that was a debate about overall Premier League records, I am only bothered, like most of you, about what they did for NUFC.

I have listed below the 14 Newcastle United Managers (I have left out Alan Shearer as impossible to judge him on only eight games and the situation he was thrown into) of this Premier League era.

In ascending order, from the not so great to the greatest, from 1992 up to the present day. Taking into account all kinds of factors, including results, style of football, situation they inherited and conduct off the pitch.

John Carver

Almost achieved the impossible, nearly relegating NUFC from what looked a totally safe position.

His press conferences and readiness to say whatever Mike Ashley wanted him to, were arguably the very worst we have ever seen.

Graeme Souness

A terrible manager, didn’t have a clue.

Ripped apart Sir Bobby’s team which needed fine tuning and instead ruined the club with shocking transfers such as Boumsong, Luque and Owen.

Having inherited great players such as Given and Shearer, it helped cover up for a time just how clueless Souness was.

Steve McClaren


Even though he had no say on transfers, the team he had should never have been relegated. Full of excuses and another one willing to say anything Ashley wanted him to.

Joe Kinnear

Was key to that 2008/09 relegation and as for his conduct off the pitch…

A total embarrassment the way he acted but as a friend of Mike Ashley, what more could you expect?

Sam Allardyce

A total chancer playing shocking football.

Was actually backed with decent amount of money by Mike Ashley, especially paying big wages to likes of Viduka, Geremi, Smith, Barton, Beye and others.

Took over an average team but his disastrous time at the club laid the foundations for the relegation the following season. Another one who was embarrassing at press conferences.

Steve Bruce

So many poor appointments in recent times, as Mike Ashley dips into the lower divisions to find people who are so desperate they will take the job on any terms. Willing to say whatever Ashley wants them to and have no say on transfers.

A total fluke that Newcastle are as high as thirteenth. He hasn’t got a clue, like a number of others above, absolutely no tactics in terms of trying to score goals, just defend and hope something happens.

Probably the most boring negative football that I have ever seen at St James Park, which is up against some pretty tough competition!

Alan Pardew

Very lucky to inherit a very decent team from Chris Hughton – with Tiote, Krul, Coloccini, Jonas, Enrique, Simpson, Carroll, Ben Arfa etc.

Then Graham Carr had his finest hour when discovering Cabaye and Ba had clauses allowing them to leave for £4m and £0.

Those players (and Cisse added mid-season) meant fifth place can now be looked at, as maybe not quite the miracle it was seen as then, but still Pardew has to share the credit.

However, he nearly relegated NUFC the following season and as for his off the pitch actions and words, truly shameful.

Ruud Gullit

Not the greatest manager in the world but not the worst, he’d done alright at Chelsea.

The football was decent at times and a very good cup run (against some tough opponents such as Everton and Spurs) saw us at Wembley and qualifying for Europe. If his ego hadn’t got in the way and he’d been prepared to work with the likes of Shearer, rather than against him, might have done ok.

Kenny Dalglish

A difficult one to judge.

Looked a great appointment  having won the title at both Liverpool and Blackburn. Taking over from Keegan mid-season he guided the team to runners-up playing decent football.

Maybe could have just possibly have pulled it around if given more time, as he made some great signings (Solano, Speed, Given) amongst a lot of cheapish poor ones (including his own son!). Hall and Shepherd disastrously stopped showing any ambition at exactly the wrong time (getting into the Champions League) due to wanting to sell the club, Ferdinand sold and the veterans Rush, Pearce and Barnes recruited on frees. The injury to Shearer just before the 1997/98 season was massive but still didn’t excuse that really poor league season.

Glenn Roeder

After taking over in February 2006 from the disaster that was Souness, Roeder did an excellent job initially.

Alan Shearer was his assistant whilst also still playing and between them they (won 10, drawn 2, lost 3) somehow took Newcastle from fighting relegation in fifteenth spot, up to seventh and qualification for Europe.

The following season without Shearer by his side (nor on the pitch), Roeder and Newcastle struggled, the manager sacked late in the season.

Rafa Benitez

Did a very good job in very very difficult circumstances.

Not the greatest football to watch but after instant promotion, Mike Ashley refused to honour promises on transfer backing and Rafa did his best with what he had. With decent backing who knows how high he could have gone on this list.

Chris Hughton

Pretty much faultless.

Summer 2009 he had a massive mess to sort out, a relegated side, Mike Ashley selling off a host of players but refusing to give him any money to buy players.

Went up as champions with 102 points and after Ashley refused once again to allow any realistic investment, Hughton had NUFC safely in mid-table after wins such as 6-0 v Aston Villa, 5-1 v Sunderland and 1-0 at Arsenal. It was shameful of Ashley to sack him, simply because Hughton refused to do his bidding.

Sir Bobby Robson

Just misses out on top spot, did a brilliant job.

Inherited a mid-table team from Gullit and produced a side that now only played great football but had finishes of third, fourth and fifth in the Premier League, a semi final in the UEFA Cup and those brilliant Champions League nights.

Kevin Keegan

There could only be one winner.

Took Newcastle United from the brink of the third tier to finishing third in the Premier League in just over two years.

Then built a side that finished twice as runners up. Only later on were significant sums of money spent as the team and club grew but a constant was brilliant attacking football.


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