Well, can things get any worse for Newcastle United than they currently are? One win in the league in 3 months, the manager still recovering from his triple heart bypass operation, crowds are falling, the caretakers pointing out, in case you’ve missed it, that Newcastle find themselves in a relegation battle and then today the English papers are full of a certain ex-England manager riding to the rescue of the Geordie nation.
Ah, the return of Terry Venables to the Premiership once again. Could he be the man to save Newcastle United from returning to the Championship, 16 years after they left it? A man who has given me some of my favourite footballing memories during his spells at Barcelona, Tottenham and England but has seen his stock fall rapidly with disastrous spells at Crystal Palace, Portsmouth and Leeds United during the beginning of the implosion for the Elland Road club.
Now El Tel has several contacts in the media and his name often crops up whenever high profile vacancies or situations are in the media, so it’s no real surprise to see this latest connection being made today but honestly, can Venables really save Newcastle United? I’m not so sure he’s got the clout to pull it off at all anymore. At Leeds United, his term there was dreadful and the club were in real danger of going down, despite having a much stronger squad than Peter Reid inherited, ultimately keeping them up.That was nearly six years ago now and Newcastle are in more trouble than Leeds United were when he took over. Venables has always been Teflon coated in the eyes of some media outlets in the UK, who conveniantly forget the Palace/Pompey/Leeds situations. In fact, for a glimpse of Newcastle potential future, they only have to cast eyes down the A1 towards West Yorkshire.
The report uses the usual British media tactic of ” a club insider told us” to give credence to the story,but ultimately, Venables has been so out of form managerially recently I can’t see there being any substance to it. As much I loved the memories of the 80’s and 90’s under Venables at White Hart Lane, I can’t seeing him being able to do anything to save Newcastle United. Yet, it wouldn’t surprise me under the current regime if he did reappear at St James’ Park as interim manager until the end of the season such is the lack of football knowledge in the boardroom in Newcastle.
The Geordie fans may be thinking just what they’ve done to deserve this but ever since Bobby Robson was sacked after 4 games of the 2004/2005 season, Newcastle have fallen further and further down the table, seeing 5 managers and 3 caretakers try and fill his boots. What they would give for Robson to be anywhere near healthy to come in and save them but his battle with terminal cancer is catching up with him sadly. Mike Ashley’s made plenty of mistakes, hell, he’s hardly made any right decisions since coming in, but getting Venables in would compound them all.
Newcastle are facing relegation in the face, with trips to Liverpool, Tottenham, Stoke and Aston Villa to come and the only bonus being that they’ve got to play Middlesbrough at home. To stay up, they need all the luck in the world to fall for them but with every passing defeat safety becomes a more distant prospect and the realisation that next season could see them playing at Barnsley, Peterborough and QPR will reduce the staunchest Geordie to tears. If Mike Ashley is serious of transforming Newcastles fortunes, he needs to prepare for relegation under Kinnear, wait until the end of the season and then ask SV Hamburg to name their price for Martin Jol and allow him to rebuild them in the Championship.