By some accounts Remi Garde is the favourite to be handed the job of Newcastle United Head Coach. By some accounts John Carver will get it until the end of the season. Then again, Frank De Boer fancies it and he’s going to get an interview. In London. There’s also that Galtier gadgie as well. Steve McLaren doesn’t fancy it. Oh, and Tony Pulis ruled himself out, though only he had ruled himself in. In between petitioning for a rapist to be allowed to play football again, Steve Bruce is and isn’t interested in the United job. And on it goes.
To be fair to United, they appear to have the whole process locked down. But Garde’s name is being repeated and by those who can be taken seriously. It could be him. He’s mates with Arsene Wenger. He’s French. Ooh, wor lass thinks he’s a bit of a dish. A writer on this fanzine is very excited about his taste in footwear. Hey, you take yur pleasure where you find it.
What is explicit however is that whoever is the fella fronting up to the cameras after games, it won’t be the manager in the traditional way it has been thought of for many years in the UK. To be honest, I don’t really care what the bloke is called or particularly how the management structure at United is fixed.
There are only a handful of real top class managers at the elite clubs who I believe can be trusted to be the Manager in the old fashioned sense of the word. There is such a high turnover in the modern game these days that handing a transitory figure at the club massive control over finances, strategy and recruitment seems really to be a little foolhardy. You know, if we had a chance of appointing a Jose on a long term deal, I’d think differently but as the field seems to be down to the mediocre and I recall such nuggets as Dalglish, Gullit, Souness, Allardyce et al then I think clubs are perfectly entitled to have specialists in place to oversee player recruitment and separate that from the day to day business of preparing a team for PL fixtures. When you also consider the er, links between agents, managers, players and all the rest of it then I think if something mental happened and I was the man in the big chair at United, I don’t think I’d hand the keys to the safe over to someone I had the remotest suspicion might be acting in his own interests rather than Newcastle United’s. Not of course that anything ever untoward will ever have ever happened at Newcastle United down the years. Perish the thought.
If this is the strategy for United, then great, we’ve got one. However, it will require some big changes in terms of how United communicates what it is doing to its public. Pardew more or less fulfilled the Head Coach role himself but seemed to be in denial and propagated the view that he was the manager until such time it became abundantly clear he had about as much authority as the mush taking the nets down at the end of the games.
Graeme Carr is de-facto the Director of Football but doesn’t have that title. No matter, he can be called what he likes, it’s what he does rather than what he’s called that counts. Carr is going to have to front up a lot more and become more prominent in the media than he has previously because the alternative is for Garde or whoever to be hung out to dry in press conferences and have his status undermined attempting to give information on subjects he can’t be expected to have an earthly about. To be fair to Pardew, he often attempted to communicate what was happening but each transfer window it became abundantly clear he was completely out of the loop. Carr and Charnley are going to stop hiding behind whoever is in the dug-out and front up. It as simple as that!
While attention has understandably been focused on the vacant position in the dug-out there are certain questions to be asked about our playing resources. Most of the attention is focused upon outgoing players. Last weekend I was given a big nod that Moussa Sissoko was on the way out of United and that indeed the club was actively promoting him to two clubs in particular, namely PSG and Arsenal. Paris would be a favoured destination for United for Sissoko as they are better payers than Arsenal who always like to screw other English clubs it seems. I understand PSG’s issue is the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules and no matter the vast wealth of their Qatari backers, they can’t just allow Blanc to fire money at anyone he fancies. The thing I hear is they need to move a player on and the player they have in mind is Cabaye. Cabaye won’t be coming back to United by all accounts. Therefore, someone needs to buy him and when that happens, Sissoko is for the off to Paris. Or it could be London as Wenger likes him. Who knows really? I’m only commenting on the jungle drums I hear. Could be right, could be shite.
The other player I have had more vague information about is Cisse. With Swansea now cash rich after the sale of Bony and Cisse now 30 and in the last year of his deal, the conspiracy theory is the man from Senegal could be off to Wales. I’m sceptical about that because it would reduce our striking options to virtually zero. Then again, Shola is back in the country …. stranger things have happened.
There seems nothing doing with Tiote or Krul. Aarons has not been signed up as I understand it. Perez can’t go until the summer until the earliest.
Mbwia’s transfer on a permanent basis seems to have gone cold but will need to be resolved soon.
But no-one is actively talking about any players in-coming at all. For some who think the club won’t sign players until they are sure the new man wants them, I think they need to pay more attention. The man in the dug-out will be given what he gets and told to get on with it. Players will be bought and sold without any reference to them. This is where we get into the spirit-crushing problem of supporting United. A team isn’t being built. Players are being brought in to be developed and sold on. United is more of a stud farm for football rather than a club that wants to build a team.
That is the massive problem with Ashley’s United and it always will be until he sells up.
Selling up appears to be a rumour that is being discussed more and more. No-one seems to have any information but I was told by someone with a straight face that Alan Shearer has been travelling to Dubai a lot lately. One thing is certain and that is there is no local money of sufficient amount to have Geordie owners. Frankly, when I think of Hall, Shepherd, Westwood, McKeag et al. that doesn’t disappoint me that greatly to be honest!
Of course, takeover rumours right now when the club is looking for a new coach might make life difficult for Ashley so I can understand why anyone with mischief in mind might be playing that card right now.
One item widely predicted however is that United is in line to make a massive profit and that will be revealed in the club accounts when they are made public in March. Rough estimates calculate something in the region of £40m. United’s payroll is now lower than it was in 2007 despite the tsunami of TV money that has come into the game and United. You’d imagine that Ashley, would have that £40m for himself to pay off the debt and with the value and attraction of the club (financially) greatly increased as at any time in the club’s history, then this summer would be a fantastic time to sell up. Ashley would get all of his money back and then some. The new buyers would get a club with great accounts, few liabilities and given how the commercial, ticket and merchandise channels have tanked under Ashley, considerable scope to expand the club’s income.
Placed alongside the difficulties Ashley has run into in Scotland and his takeover of Rangers FC then you know, all things considered, selling United could be back on the agenda.
One thing is certain, nothing is being built at United and the sooner he goes the more likely we can dare to dream again.
Keep On, Keepin’ On ….