We are only six games into the new season but is it already time for Newcastle fans to wake up and smell the coffee?
The Toon Army currently sits second from bottom in the Premier League table by virtue of goal difference. Only neighbours Sunderland have started as poorly. Although unlike their Northeast rivals, Newcastle parted with over £50million on new players in last summers transfer window, which will only increase the fans’ frustration.
Throughout Pardew’s tenure at Newcastle the majority of fans were calling for his dismissal. It was often said that he wasn’t big enough for United, and a club of Newcastle’s stature deserved a manager with a higher pedigree. This is fair enough; Newcastle is a big club, one of the greatest in Premier League history, so why shouldn’t they aim higher than Pardew and his short fuse?
I also saw no problem with John Carver stepping in on an interim basis to keep the new manager’s seat warm. This presumably allowed the hierarchy plenty of time to carefully assess the possible candidates, while also evaluating Carver’s capabilities. What a great plan; “Don’t worry Newcastle fans we’ll make it worth your while next season, in the meantime keep supporting the team and don’t forget to purchase your season tickets for next year.” This is what Mike Ashley might have said to the Newcastle supporters during their last campaign.
McClaren is not an upgrade from Pardew; he’s not even on the same level as Pardew. Before taking the Newcastle job, McClaren was manager of Derby County in the Championship.
It was widely anticipated that he would guide Derby to automatic promotion, given the strength of their squad. Derby didn’t even make the play-offs, finishing in 8th place.
He was consequently sacked by Derby County, which allowed Newcastle to negotiate a new dugout for McClaren to shelter in.
For Christ’s sake Newcastle United, show some ambition! Since Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle’s managerial appointments have taken them one step forward and two steps back. For example they replaced Robson with Souness, Allardyce with Keegan and Hughton with Kinnear. For every good appointment Newcastle make, they quickly bring in a replacement to undo all their predecessor’s good work. McClaren will surely follow this trend after replacing the successful Pardew.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, which perhaps explains McClaren’s resurgence with Dutch side Twente. McClaren guided Twente to their first ever league title in 2010, and gained automatic Champions League qualification as a result. McClaren was undeniably popular in Holland, although since then he has underperformed massively.
McClaren’s last sustained job in top-flight English football was with Middlesborough, almost 10 years ago, and that was followed by his infamous spell in charge of England. With all this in mind, Newcastle fans must be bitterly disappointed with his appointment, especially when realistic targets such as Frank De Boer, Michael Laudrup and Gus Hiddink were overlooked.
The story of Newcastle is one of the great Premier League soap operas, starring their very own pantomime villain Mike Ashley. As owner of the club Ashley has foreseen many managerial appointments, but this one has to be the worst. McClaren may no longer have his brolly, but he is still very much a wally.
Newcastle’s next two Premier League fixtures are at home to Chelsea and away to Manchester City, so unless McClaren can find some Dutch courage from somewhere soon, it is going to be yet another very long season for the Magpies.