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Opinion

Amazing as 51 year old with only 11 months failed management is favourite for Newcastle United job

4 months ago
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Amongst the many bizarre events of this past year, Graeme Jones arriving on 27 January 2021 was just one of the many.

Mike Ashley actually prepared to pay compensation to Bournemouth to add the Geordie mid-season to Steve Bruce’s coaching staff.

Conspiracy theories were rife, all very strange to see a coach added midway through the season and even stranger for Newcastle United to give him the profile of a new signing or new manager, with a major interview on the club’s own website and promoted via their social media channels.

However, Steve Bruce insisted that it was his decision to bring in Graeme Jones.

There again, Steve Bruce still insists that it he who gave the final go ahead that Joelinton was signed for £40m, six (SIX) days after Bruce himself had been appointed by Mike Ashley…

For Newcastle United fans they saw the situation as one where Mike Ashley had brought in somebody to be at least a temporary replacement, if / when he sacks Steve Bruce.

At the start of February, only days after Jones had arrived, The Mag ran a poll asking…’Would you prefer Steve Bruce or Graeme Jones in charge for rest of the season at Newcastle United?’

The result was:

2.7% Steve Bruce

97.3% Graeme Jones

Graeme Jones has now been at Newcastle United for 47 days and he has been an interesting addition, certainly in terms of what fans have had to say in debating Steve Bruce’s position and Jones’ situation.

Newcastle fans wanting to give Graeme Jones the credit for the wins over Southampton and Everton, whilst blaming Steve Bruce for failing to win the other 18 of the last 20 NUFC games played.

With all rational people finding it unbelievable that Steve Bruce hadn’t been sacked yet, astonishingly the new low of that 3-0 Brighton humiliation and total NUFC no show, instead saw Mike Ashley’s people make clear via the media, that for now, he won’t be sacking Bruce during this international break.

The bookies though now have Graeme Jones as the hot favourite, ahead of Chris Wilder to be the next permanent Newcastle United manager if / when Steve Bruce’s calamitous reign is finally brought to an end.

Is this though where we do enter total madness…?

That Mike Ashley could / would sack Steve Bruce (quite rightly), replace him with Graeme Jones, then have many Newcastle fans wildly happy that Jones is given the job on a permanent basis, three year contract or whatever.

No disrespect to Graeme Jones but I think this is a case of Newcastle fans so ground down by 14 years of Mike Ashley, they have lost all sense of perspective.

Quite clearly Steve Bruce has to go if Newcastle are to stand any decent chance of survival and if that happens, then Graeme Jones in temporary charge for the remaining games of the season, would be preferable to continuing with this Bruce nightmare, but no way should supporters be thinking that a longer term deal should be handed to Jones.

The understandable ‘anything but Steve Bruce’ on a short-term basis is one thing, looking to rebuild from the Mike Ashley / Steve Bruce absolute shambles with somebody who has literally no decent managerial record whatsoever, would be madness.

Graeme Jones is now 51, has spent his post-playing career as a coach and number two, largely working under Roberto Martinez at the likes of Swansea and Everton.

However, only one managerial post.

Appointed in May 2019 at Championship club Luton, Graeme Jones only lasted 37 matches before being sacked.

His Championship record was Played 37 Won 10 Drawn 5 Lost 22, with 35 points from these games at an average of 0.95 points per game. When Graeme Jones was sacked in April 2020, Luton were 23rd in the table and looked certain to go down.

Nathan Jones came in for the final nine games and had a record of Won 4 Drawn 4 Lost 1, 16 points at an average of 1.78 points per game.

Luton surviving in 19th place but finishing only three points above the drop despite that excellent run under Nathan Jones late one, if staying with Graeme Jones then all but certain Luton would have gone down. The late replacement saving them from relegation with exactly the same squad of players.

Turning to Newcastle United and easy to look at the sheer luck Mike Ashley had when making Chris Hughton caretaker manager in the Championship and not backing him with a penny, despite selling a host of players for tens of millions, despite that Chris Hughton doing an incredible job in his first go as a manager.

That doesn’t happen very often, a managerial novice in such a high pressured first job, turning it around.

Nothing personal on Graeme Jones but this would make as much sense as when John Carver was handed the keys, another 50+ year old Geordie with zero success in management but who had picked up a decent amount of recognition as a number two, in Carver’s case under Sir Bobby.

Even if we have the nightmare of Mike Ashley still owning the club after this season, whether in the Premier League or Championship, Newcastle United need to be aiming a lot higher than the profile of Steve Bruce or Graeme Jones (though Jones could be an ideal number two if Newcastle brought in an up and coming young manager), of that I’m sure of.

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