With the dust now settling in the wake of Chris Hughton’s shock dismissal as manager of Newcastle United yesterday afternoon, the spotlight is on owner Mike Ashley and his (hopefully) inevitable decision in choosing Hughton’s successor.
Even before the announcement yesterday, the rumour mills had already been churning with nearly every available, out of work manager being touted as a possible replacement, and none all too eye-catching at that. Let’s take a look at some of the players:
Frank Rijkaard has been recently dismissed from his own post after a poor run of form had seen his Galatasaray side slip prematurely out of the Europa League with their league form no better, picking up only 12 points from a possible 24 in the opening round of fixtures. His attack-minded coaching could do well with the Newcastle side currently on a slump of form and seemingly lost as to which style of football they play best. Still, a long shot with presumably high salary demands and most detrimental to the chance of him joining would be how much Ashley would be willing to put into the upcoming transfer window. Anything Ashley could scrounge together would surely not be enough for Rijkaard’s liking.
Another name that’s been doing the rounds in some circles, and one this writer would not be all too displeased with would be Lee Clark, currently managing First Division side Huddersfield Town. Having just missed out on the play-offs last term, Geordie Clark has his young troops in contention again early-on this campaign. Many supporters believe Clark will one day manage his hometown club, though probably side with the owner in saying he may still be too inexperienced just yet.
At a Stretch:
Alan Curbishly and Steve McClaren have both been mentioned as possible replacements, but with McClaren currently in his first year managing VfL Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga, surely Newcastle would have to be a step down for the manager, whose former side FC Twente only last season won the Dutch Eredivisie. It’s not been an easy start to life in Germany with his side currently sitting thirteenth out of eighteen teams, but surely it isn’t a challenge he’s ready to give up on just yet.
And with Curbishly on the back of a recent court settlement in his favour for reasons strikingly similar to that of which involved a certain Kevin Keegan and one Mike Ashley, could you really say it would be the wisest move to bring in a manager who will inevitably get played with by Ashley, and then this all turns sour only for Ashley to pay out a settlement again? I’d like to think even he couldn’t be that stupid. Not too mention, his appointment wouldn’t exactly rekindle any hopes in the fans or players of getting something out of a seemingly woebegone season. Alan Shearer has also been mentioned but surely his inexperience rules him out as a serious candidate.
Alan Pardew, recently let go from League One side Southampton and claim to a managerial track record almost as uninspiring as Joe Kinnear’s, would seem Mr. Ashley’s obvious choice were it his to make alone, and, unfortunately for Newcastle supporters and to the bemusement of rival fans across the globe, it is. Bookies closed betting early on Pardew, only for it to be opened some hours later, so Newcastle fans can only hope that change signifies the reality of the situation.
Perhaps the two name’s being mentioned most though, and one of either preferred to most Newcastle fans would be Martin O’Neill and Martin Jol. Naturally it would seem Martin O’Neill’s reasoning behind walking away from Aston Villa would be the same issues that would keep him from joining Newcastle, but with managerial vacancies few and far between, he might just take his chance. Even still, with communication basically non-existant from the Newcastle board, it’s still a crapshoot as to whether the new manager will be given significant trust to lead the team, thus, funds to invest and freedom to appoint.
Martin Jol would be the obvious candidate to lead Newcastle forward, if we must choose one, after Hughton’s sacking having, perhaps inadvertently or otherwise, thrown his name into the ring after announcing his resignation from Ajax yesterday evening. His track record across Europe should speak for itself, and you’d be hard pressed to find any Aston Villa fans who say they were overly pleased with the football played by their team during O’Neill’s reign. Since his time at Tottenham Hotspur, his managerial exploits with Hamburg SV and Ajax boast a win percentage of just under sixty-three percent, while O’Neill’s, if you disregard his years with Celtic, is significantly less, including his tenures in England’s lower divisions. O’Neill’s purchases in the transfer market, bar Ashley Young and John Carew in his first year in charge, have been questionable and with Randy Lerner obviously not shy when it comes to backing his manager, you wonder what it would have taken to please Martin O’Neill. Surely he would not find similar backing at Newcastle?
Coincidentally, his undoing was down partly to the very same player with whom Kevin Keegan had taken a grievance to losing before his resignation as well- James Milner.
In a best case scenario, the club would come forward to shine light on the circumstances surrounding Chris Hughton’s sacking and what their intentions for Newcastle United Football Club are and how they plan to move forward from this. Conspiracy theories have been rife with rumours of the club being put up for sale again, and true, they could be just rumours, but are fans really ready to wait another two months to hear anything from the club and come the end of January, receive their annual explanation of the club’s failures in the transfer market? It looks as though the situation is becoming more and more dire and seems to be heading in that direction. And unfortunately as Newcastle fans know all too well, the only thing to do now is to wait.
Who would you like to see installed as Newcastle’s next manager?
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