Thru Black and White Eyes

THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – In A Hole – 22/Nov/15

by • November 22, 2015 • TBAWEComments (28)4013

TFNT15 Voucher




It is a fair question and I don’t think it’s premature to ask it now.  How did Steve McClaren get the Newcastle United job? A further question might be what is Steve McClaren doing to prove that he should keep that job?

I don’t think McClaren’s CV is particularly impressive.  He may have won the League Cup with Boro and impressed with Man Utd as a coach but even that meagre fare doesn’t bear scrutiny under the harsh light of his abysmal stewardship as an international manager with England, his failures at Wolfsburg, Forest and Derby. Four jobs which have seen him sacked two of which in a lower division. Of course it would be remiss not to mention his success with FC Twente where he won the Eredevise. I don’t wish to trash that competition but where would you place the competitiveness of that league? England? France? Spain? Germany? Italy? Portugal? Belgium? For me I’d be more impressed by a Championship win of the sort delivered by Chris Hughton.

His main qualification for the United job appears to be his long-term friendship with Graeme Carr a man who in all but McClarenSheffWedname is the Director of Football.  We are aware of the tensions between Carr and Pardew so I can understand a desire for an improvement between the coach and the man who picks the players. However, on the basis of what we’ve seen so far this season, this is the extent of the case for McClaren to manage/coach or act as the fall-guy for a dysfunctional sporting institution.

Whatever McClaren is or isn’t doing can be the subject for intense debate and I know it was in the shabeens and flop joints of NE1 in the aftermath of a quite disgraceful performance at home to Leicester City. But without getting into the minutiae of debates about individual players, let’s settle on some elements of that performance and others we’ve seen so far this season.

No.1 – MOTIVATION – the players are not motivated and have no desire. That is not the rolling-eyed extreme ramblings of a fanzine nutter, that is the opinion of one Alan Shearer who is probably the most prominent Newcastle United person on the planet.  When a figure as important to the club as Alan Shearer is openly accusing Newcastle United players of not trying, not putting the effort in, not caring then we are at a very serious point. Let’s be absolutely honest though, Alan Shearer is completely spot on.  The Leicester game wasn’t the first time the white flag has been pulled up the pole this season and I doubt it will be the last. We travel to Selhurst Park next season with  a growing sense of dreaLarge TRUE15 Voucherd.  We know we’ll lose.

McClaren isn’t motivating the players. That is crystal clear.

No.2 – GAME PLAN – McClaren has been at United since May. He had a full pre-season and he has now had coming up to half a season. No-one really understands the way McClaren wants the team to play. There are no partnerships around the pitch, no clever combinations and defensively we are as bad as we’ve ever been. The second and third Leicester goals were rank incompetence. McClaren can talk about the training ground all he likes but the fact is whatever mysterious progress he claims to be making at Benton isn’t making the journey to SJP or onto the bus for away games.

You might ask who comes up with the idea of Anita dropping into defence to pick the ball up from  Elliott and instantly pass it to a defender as the opposition moves forward to put us under pressure.  It is utterly baffling anyone would continue to do this.

No.3  – LEADERSHIP – It has been said before and doubtless it will be said again. The team is utterly bereft of leadership all over the pitch. Coloccini is completely ineffectual as club captain. Sissoko as one of our better players (and I use the term warily) does not do the basics and I’m not the only one baffled by his supposed desire to move onto bigger and better things. All over the pitch there are players hiding, going into their little shells, not taking responsibility and there is no single or group of senior players rallying the troops. No-one wants to know. There is a severe absence of character in this team.

McClaren has spoken about January and some rubbish about three transfer windows to get things right. Anyone Link to Toon Photography websiteswallowing this? If any decent offer is made for any of our players who have something about them (Sissoko, Perez, Janmaat etc) then they will be accepted and they will be sold. Further, if anyone thinks signing some new players is the answer then that route is marked Graeme Carr. After so many abysmal signings who has any confidence in Carr to bring in players who can cut it in the Premier League? Further, who has confidence in Charnley agreeing the right deals and finally who has confidence in McClaren to get them into a coherent team that can play some winning football?

Will the policy continue to be looking for players with a sell-on value from a limited number of inferior European  leagues and hoping for the best?

That model for recruitment is a tried and tested failure and our league position this season and last and before that amply demonstrate that.

It may be my pessimism but I really don’t see how Newcastle United gets out of this mess with the current personnel at the club in every position of authority, though ultimately I see no path to even modest success under the debilitating ownership of Mike Ashley.


I spent some time post-match debating whether the second half we’d just witnessed at SJP was the worst we’d ever seen. Sadly, we have a big choice to pick from.  Everyone has their own opinions obviously and none are more or less valid than the next man or woman but I’m struggling to think of a time in the 40-odd years I’ve been trudging to matches when I’ve seen our support so utterly dejected and completely defeated as that second half on Saturday gone.  The last 15-20 minutes when the team seemed to forget where they were and what they were doing with vast expanses of empty seats and fans streaming for the exits struck me as a new low. When Mags I’ve known for a long time and who are as staunchLink to NUFC Classic Football shirts site as they come are about to chuck in season tickets there is something underway, a real sea-change is happening. Of course the rank rotten football on show is the big driver for more people to join the exodus out of the stands but the continuing piss-take of match-day tickets being sold to walk-up fans for better seats than those of us on long term season ticket deals. I sometimes wonder if having a season ticket is the most expensive way to watch Newcastle United. Why do we put up with it?


This Saturday coming will doubtless be relished by Alan Pardew as an opportunity to demonstrate to his former employers and us that he was not the dummy we all thought he was. Frankly, Pardew’s record at United was poor. He was terrible in all bar one season. His record in Cup competitions was abysmal and his derby results need no highlighting. His treatment of Jonas Gutiérrez was absolutely shameful and his sucking up to Ashley nauseating. He was tactically limited and was unable to very often get the team back into games once they had gone a goal behind. But the truth is he was working at a club that is completely dysfunctional and at which I don’t think anyone will ever really be successful so long as Ashley suffocates the life from us. I don’t doubt we’ll lose at Palace and I’d expect it will be heavily.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …



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28 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – In A Hole – 22/Nov/15

  1. Stephen says:

    Some 20+ years after i was first taken on the Leazes End i wrote this little thing inside the cover of the notebook i keep with details of the games i’ve been to, some 20 years later i still read it every time i open it.

    October 1995 :-

    My dad passed away in 1975. He saw the 50’s,60’s and the good part of the 70’s. He was lucky he never saw his teams decline but i know he’d be proud now. I know he wanted me to play for Newcastle United. I was not up to that but i know he’d be proud that wherever they play i’m there and i kick every ball. I am indebted to him for introducing me to the greatest football club in the world. I know how much it would hurt him, as much as it hurts me that Newcastle United have not won anything since 1969. I hope one day soon i can go to his place of rest and say “Dad, we’ve done it at last”. That means everything.

    We were nearly there then,i was primed and ready to climb the walls of Heaton Cemetery.

    It is now as far away as ever.

  2. SteveP says:

    ‘there is no single or group of senior players rallying the troops’
    Just looked at the squad list on, of 36 players with a squad number, only 8 were born before 1989, of those 8, only 2 would be guaranteed starters if the whole squad was fit to play (Krul & Coloccini), and 1 other that may start (Tiote).
    We simply DON’T have any ‘senior players’ and one that is (the captain), is like you say, a vitual mute.
    Where was the encouragement or the beration each time we conceded yesterday? as with every other goal we have conceded this season (and last truth be known), the players just shrug their shoulders and meekly accept it.

    • Gavin says:

      Mike Ashley likes yes men who won’t answer back. Last group of players to show any leadership etc Nolan/Barton/Harper the players committee, all sold and certainly not going to be replaced.

  3. mike says:

    still be 50k at liverpool game………… nothing will change. manager/coaches had 2 weeks to prepare and what was the result? could have had a proven prem goalscorer Austin but bought tripe

  4. Vin1892 says:

    50K and 4th bottom will do Ashley.

  5. John W says:

    I just can’t believe that McClaren still has a job. At any other premiership club he would be out by now. Of course no other premiership club would have signed him to begin with.

  6. Peter Shearer says:

    The key point,as Michael asks, is “Why do we put up with it?”. A question that every Newcastle fan should be giving serious thought to.What amazes me is why people,against all their instincts,still have given Ashley chance after chance? No doubt,again,I will be hounded as anti-Ashley (which I certainly am),but my view for a long time has been the boycotters are the positive ones-it is the ones still going that prolong Ashley’s stay. The answer is staring us all in the face,but it seems that collectively we are just not up to it. All the analysis is pointless,the state of Denmark (ie Newcastle!) is rotten! In the words of Laurel and Hardy (kind of appropriate!) Be Big!

  7. Peter says:

    I think it is clear that McClaren is there because we couldn’t get anyone better. There are many now calling for McClaren to go, but I think it highly unlikely that will happen in the short-term. Even if he did go, then what? Who would come to manage such a soulless club, which is really little more than an advertising hoarding for Sports Direct.

    It is high time that the so-called expert pundits on television and radio recognised this and stopped going on about team formations, team spirit or even a change of managers at Newcastle. It is all irrelevant. Nothing will improve until Ashley sells up.

    At the end of the day, questions should be asked of Scudamore and Dyke and all the rest at the Premier League, who are allowing this farce to continue. Or is it just that, as in so many others of British life today, as long as you are a very rich ‘wealth creator’, you can just about get away with anything short of murder?

  8. tom Bates says:

    I agree with Peter Shearer we’ve heard it all before regarding people giving it up but a couple of wins or signings and the season tickets will be renewed helping to keep Ashleys regime going. We would never sign a player like Vardy as he came from the English leagues and is over 25. Tottenham have shown there is another way then signing cut price overseas players they have a quality side full of English players developed by the club.

  9. Rob says:

    To be fair, as a set of fans we don’t have a huge amount of credibility nowadays. We say we want Ashley out and then continue to line his pockets, we hound Pardew out of the job only to find that perhaps he wasn’t quite as crap as we thought he was, every time we lose and you read an online match report some wag pipes up with PARDEW OUT and you know what?,we deserve that, the other oft written insult is that we are deluded and after reading this article I’m beginning to wonder if they are right. So Steve Mclarens CV isn’t that impressive eh, nah he only delivered Boro’s first ever major trophy and took them to the final of the UEFA cup, with regards to the Dutch league, he managed to win a league that has been historically dominated by 3 teams PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord, delivering a first title for Twente, there was a reason he got offered the England and Wolfsburg jobs in the first place you know, the Wolfsburg board funnily enough didn’t go looking in the Championship for their manager and neither does any other half decent team. The fact is that McLaren has won more major trophies than our last nine managers put together, so what does that say about their CV’s?. It’s stuff like this that makes us look like a bunch of idiots, now whether McLaren is any good now, whether he has lost what talent he had, or whether he was ever the right man for the job is open to question, but to say he was under qualified is daft. There was hardly a queue of europes top managers forcing down Charnleys door for the job was there. McLaren is saddled with what Carr serves up, given you admit in your article that Carr’s signings are crap how much of the blame can you put at the managers door?, What really does my head in though is saying that Pardews record was poor, 12th, 5th 16th, 10th and 9th when he left is poor in what way?, I thought Carrs signings were crap? if they are crap then an average of 10th place is pretty decent isn’t it?, as for the cups, he was told to not bother, it’s easy saying he should have told Mike Ashley to eff off but do you go round telling your boss to get stuffed?. I live down South now and people couldn’t believe we wanted rid of Pardew, funny enough no one was looking at our squad and saying bugger me that Newcastle team is underachieving, I would say with our players we were about par. One last thing before I get hammered by everyone, if you still financially support Newcastle Utd, please please please stop moaning about Mike Ashley, it’s like moaning about the Tories and then going out and voting for them at the election.

  10. john rush says:

    Since Shepherd sacked Sir Bobby Robson we have appointed either a manager who were past their best and were on a downward spiral & could not believe their luck to get the Newcastle job e.g. Souness, Kinnear, Pardew and now McClaren or promoted someone from within who had their moments but it was subsequently felt was not up to it; Roeder and Hughton or someone not up to itfrom the start like Carver. Plus a couple of punts; bringing Keegan back and then Shearer. Heard some people talk about Moyes who has now failed at Sociedad and Man U, so I don’t think would be any improvement on McClaren. I would have personally preferred to see us take a punt on Viera in the Summer or go for someone on the way up like we did years ago with Joe Harvey, Arthur Cox and yes Gordon Lee who did at least have teams which won more than they lost (having said that the last manager we appointed who could be said to have been on the up was Allardyce), a forward thinking manager like Eddie Howe or Sean Dyce would have been an improvement on McClaren. However as has been said many times before why would anyone with a flourishing reputation want to come here with the constraints placed on them by the current hierachy.

  11. Ian says:

    As a member of the board is McClaren going to sack himself? I doubt it.

  12. Simon Sharp says:

    Credit where it’s due, I would’ve thought it’d be impossible to spend £50m on players and make the team worse than it was last season, yet remarkably we’ve managed it. This is not a problem which has come about overnight, this is a symptom of the deterioration of the club (and professional football in the NE in general, for which I recommend Michael Walker’s excellent book – “Up There” is as good a synopsis of NE football’s current state as you’ll get from anyone, and addresses uncomfortable truths that no-one in the club or in the local “media” is prepared to face squarely in the face). Newcastle have been on a downer since 2003 but this has been accelerated under Mike Ashley’s ownership. Second Choice Steve is another symptom of where the club is headed under Mike Ashley (absolutely nowhere). For any progress to be made, Ashley needs to go, things will not change while we continue to tread water in the Premier League. We need a demotion (perhaps two) to be rid of him, stop the money coming in, start from scratch, reconnect with grass roots. Even then, we might not get a sensible owner who wants what’s best for the club (look at Leeds). Expect a long time in the wilderness, decades probably, maybe permanently. Maybe our time has been and gone and for my generation the best we’ll ever see was 95-96 as the power in football has shifted from former industrial cities and regions to where the money is now. I have no optimism for the future whatsoever.

  13. Tom says:

    We need to be very careful about hammering MacLaren.
    Don’t get me wrong although I think he’s mediocre and getting worse,we are in danger of making the same mistake we made with Pardew.
    The PardewOut campaign was a huge mistake.
    Going down the same route with Shteve would make us look utterly ridiculous as a group of fans.
    There is only one target we should EVER have been looking at and of course that is the owner.
    We can have a pop at Carr,Charnley.Pardew and now MacLaren but the reality is that 100% of the blame/responsibility for the death of NUFC (and thats what it is) lies with Ashley.

    • Anton says:

      Totally agree – it doesn’t matter who’s in the dug out or the pitch.
      This is very much Ashley’s club.

      My issues with Pardew were around his attitude towards the fans, fellow managers and his players (head-butt, Jonas, nothing ever was his fault, etc). MacClaren is an upgrade of sorts, but let’s be honest: who’d work for Ashley? Only the desperate and the unproven, looking for a first step on a Premiership career ladder.

      • Tom says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I can’t abide Pardew either.
        His backing up of Ashley (this ones for you,Mike!) and his general behaviour and lack of ability were appalling.
        BUT, the campaign against him was flawed.
        Who appointed then kept faith with him?
        Who has set the parameters for recruitment?
        Who gave us W*nga….the SD arena…Jfk….Llambias….I could go on and on (and I usually do!)?
        He must be the target,no one else.

  14. tom Bates says:

    We’ve struggled ever since we sold Cabaye Pardews one class player who was an influence in the dressing room. I cringe remembering some saying it was good business for us to sell him, admittedly he had already made his mind up to go. Pardew was lucky not to be sacked considering how harsh Chris Hughtons sacking was and I don’t agree with some previous comments that he was a success here. But is Mclaren an improvement, probably not.

    • Brian McGarry says:

      Tom, agree 100% on the Cabaye issue, there is no doubt that we have never been the same since he left. How Pardew could have allowed that is disgrateful. He is responsible for the position we are presently in. It makes me sick. I have no confidence in McLaren at all, and he does not have the man management skill, like Klopp, to turn the situation around.
      Ashley will see us being relegated is he does not make decisive decisions soon.
      Cape Town

  15. Janie Jones says:

    “I live down South now and people couldn’t believe we wanted rid of Pardew”
    Load of shite that, before he went to Crystal Palace there was hardly a set of supporters who would have welcomed that weasel to their club. I’m still chuffed that we don’t have put up to his inane ramblings, his sycophancy towards the fat slag and his long ball tactics. Not forgetting his pseudo wideboy persona.
    Good riddance to pockmarked rubbish

  16. Jackson says:

    There are many valid points being made about the wider decline of the club. However, the lack of effort being shown by the team is a complete basic and is totally unacceptable. This should be and could be corrected immediately… But. It seems that a culture has developed at the club where this is accepted as just ‘the way things are’. Of course it’s directly related to Graham Carr and the recruitment policy. If you sell the club to a player as a transient staging post on the way to better things, then that player is not going to be interested in giving blood sweat and tears for the cause. It’s such a dismal way to recruit players. No sense of pride.

  17. Bob says:

    I think Pardew was as bad as we thought, at least as Newcastle manager, and fans were not wrong to want to see the back of him -for all the rwasons and more that Michael mentions.
    as for the transfer policy if the idea was to get sell on value then there are plenty we appear to have gone for but decided they were not Charnley’s”value for money” . Bony, who actually went for big money, Gomis, Ayew, Aubameyang, and Ali are a few examples who I would expect to go for way more than was paid. We had the chance of all and I would have thought that Ashley would have sacked Charnley forthis shambles. Most of the signings we have made will not make a bean, Goufran, Williamson, Marveaux, Obertan, Riviere, Anita and probably now Sissoko, Gini, Cisse, de yong, Thauvin. We will make money on Perez, Krull, and probably Mbemba and possibly Jaanmat which makes them more likely to be the ones to go. It is so obvious that the transfer policy is crap, has been for some time apart from one or two examples yet Ashley still sanctions it.
    Agree about the strange decision to have Anita collect the ball from the keeper. It gets us nowhere but our final third. There were times on saturday Elliott looked to release the ball quickly but there was no one available for a quick counter. Anita’s not right and maybe that job could be better handled by deYong who is supposed to be a flair player. Worth a try but we would have to have Tiote back to his best or Colback in decent form or a good holding player.
    As for the fit and proper person rule, it is never used so why bother having it. When owner’s have “gone” it’s usually because of authorities elsewhere. The Scottish FA seem to be stronger than the English but are still as week as water.

    rant over

  18. Wallsendtoon says:

    WHERE do Newcastle go from here – the situation at Newcastle is pathetic!!!

    I never wanted McClaren in the first placeand opposed his appointment, even when it was just rumoured (why would we want someone who turned us down and failed at championship level twice) but, even after the rubbish start, I actually think the problem is not just down to him.

    He’s an idiot and he will not bring about any major change. That’s obvious. The fact that Ashley and all his apologists just want to do enough to stay in the premier has drained the club of any ambition. Football and sport are all about being the best you can and trying to win The way the club is sold to our players is do well and we’ll get you a bigger club. When you do that it just means you end up with mercenaries who have no feel for the club – contrast that with Shearer, Rob Lee, Beresford,Speed even Warren Barton would run through a brick wall for the club – players with a passion and a desire to play for Newcastle first and foremost. When you present your club as a stepping stone, this is how you end up.

    We’ve taken out competition and the will to win and replaced it with a business designed to make a profit at the expense of the football. We now sign players who can make a profit for the owner and they will occasionally have a good game but are not prepared to “die for the club” as if they do well they will want to move on as promised to them by the bunch of idiots and yes men employed by Ashley.

    If you are useless at your job then you should be sacked – McClaren, Carr and Charnley clearly are. If there is no punishment for failure, at any level of the club, then the rot sets in. Ours is well beyond that stage. It’s so deep rooted within the club that the only way out now is to clear the decks of all the management or better still Ashley just sells it and leaves. He has made plenty of money directly from the raised profile of Sports Direct which has trebled in turnover since he bought Newcastle.

    Based on form Villa the Mackems and Newcastle are the worst teams and it’s fairly inevitable that at least 2 of the 3 will drop this year. The writing is on the wall. If it’s not this year then next. Until we change direction that much is certain

    To get over this mess you need a inspirational leader like Keegan was first time around. Shepherd as much as people dislike him would have went for someone like Klopp in the summer. Viera might have worked but you need that type of figure -McClaren is clearly not it.

    McClaren was appointed because he is a YES man. Ashley has to have total control – it works at Sports Direct but will never work at Newcastle/ All the people employed at Newcastle in the management and board structure are YES men who are clearly out of their depth and indebted to Ashley for giving them opportunities their efforts have not earned – Pardew is included in that…..

    Would any of them at the club now get a job at any other ambitious premier league THE MD was just a secretary and tea boy , the previous MD was just a Casino manager with no experience of football, the managers and coaches, after KK, have all been yes men.
    When you have no ambition, no class, no hope and no integrity,what have you got left at the club. Ashley has totally killed this club and it will not be revived until he sells up or totally changes the way the club is run and employs people who actually merit their position.

    • mike says:

      Agree 100% but try telling 50k at each game with the Wonga shirts drinking and eating in the ground. No wonder he wont sell up why should he when we contribute to his massive profits.
      Geordie fans are mugs to put up wit this for last 8 years……more to come guys

    • Brian McGarry says:

      Very well covered my friend, you are 100% right in all aspects, my fear is that the bastard Ashley will not relinquish our club easily. This is most concerning. Just hope and pray some Newcastle business consortium could buy our club.
      Cape Town

  19. Pat Hughes says:

    After a few fairly decent performances early in the season I thought I would regret giving up my season ticket and flirted with the thought of getting a half season ticket. I’m better now and have had my medicine. We could employ the best manager in the world but I doubt it would make much difference – Ashley doesn’t understand the concept of building a squad for long-term success. Buy cheap, sell on for a profit. Talk of buying in the next window is meaningless – we’ve had years of ineffective, indifferent shopping with nothing to show and no real commitment to producing a stable team i can be proud of and a club I want to be part of. I remember the days when the transfer window meant a bit of topping up or buying with the future in mind but now, for us, it’s selling the best and panic loans. It’s really depressing and demoralising – can’t believe we’re such a nothing club now. Only the departure of Ashley matters.

  20. Guy says:

    Exactly! It has been as obvious as the nose on Mick Mcarthys face that it’s rotten from the top down over for many years now, when are ALL of the fans going to stand up and be counted.
    This misguided loyalty of not being a loyal fan if you don’t go to the match!!! I’m a loyal fan but don’t go any more, I still watch every game home and away, still get angry, annoyed and upset like every other loyal fan, BUT I don’t put a penny in Jabbas pocket.
    Come on people give your heads a shake and rise up against this parasite!!!

  21. David says:

    Convincing myself to keep going under a cloud of sheer boredom and a permanent mist of no hope within the walls of SJP is the saddest part of all for me.