THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Situations Vacant – 31/May/15

by • May 31, 2015 • TBAWEComments (29)2877

It is the first day of June tomorrow there are completely unsubstantiated rumours in the Vierapress about Andy Carroll returning to Newcastle United, I’ve taken my big coat back out of the wardrobe again and so, everything is as normal on Tyneside as we head into the summer close season period.

I’m typing this up having been interrupted in my Sunday morning coffee shouting at David Cameron on the news by a call from Talksport, canvassing opinion from Mags about the rumoured interest in Patrick Viera for the United job. It’s a bit of a left-field development but has been in the background over the last week as Steve McLaren’s name continues to be linked to the job and John Carver has gone to Pontins with the bairns.

I’ll be honest, the idea of Steve McLaren as United manager leaves me cold. On balance I
don’t think he’s an improvement on Pardew and whilst people can argue about the fine detail of their respective careers, I do know Pardew has managed more recently in the Premiership and McLaren has latterly failed in the Championship with resources the equal if not greater than those who have succeeded in the last couple of years. I had regarded him as having done reasonably well at Boro, absolutely stunk the place out with the England job, did a bit to re-establish himself in the Eredevisie with Twente but then bombed in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg when he attempted to take another step up. Then with Derby he’s failed in his mission to get them promoted when others like Bournemouth, Leicester, Burnley, Watford and Norwich have succeeded. Derby is the superior of all of those clubs in their standing in my opinion. I’ve subsequently spoken to a few decent Boro lads of my acquaintance and they reckon the football McLaren’s team played at The Riverside was rank. Apart from a long-standing relationship with Graeme Carr and Lee Charnley, I don’t see a lot to recommend McLaren. He is yesterday’s man.

I had spent the early part of last week nodding approvingly at the rumours Michael AlbertNight.Laudrup had emerged as a runner for the United hot-seat. Urbane, confident and with a lack of desperation Ashley would be able to exploit, I liked the cut of the Laudrup jib. Factor in the small matter of Swansea’s excellent style of football and the small matter of a League Cup on the Liberty Stadium mantelpiece as well as some ambition for his own career and Laudrup looked like a good contender. The fly in the Laudrup ointment however is the circumstances of his Swansea job ending. That has never been suitably dealt with and would plant a seed of doubt for me with Laudrup. There is the whiff of how Gullit’s time with Chelsea ended and which Shepherd chose to ignore when he appointed him at United. That said, I’d have Laudrup ahead of McLaren by a Geordie country mile.

Then there is the Viera question. It would certainly be a bold, imaginative appointment Pheonixphone1and it would make a statement. There are a lot of plus points for a Viera appointment but I suppose many of them could be made for any former player of great status who gets a first significant appointment and the history books are littered with the names of excellent players who have not made it as managers whereas the best managers of the modern age (Mourinho, Wenger and Ferguson) are those who barely registered as players. There are of course great players who have also become great managers too.

But maybe that doesn’t matter at all. Unlike some I could name, Viera has eschewed a life Laudrupsitting on a sofa stating the obvious for getting out and doing the hard miles as a coach with Man City’s development squad. For me, that suggests for all his superstar status, Viera has a hunger and love of the game at its most basic level. It suggests an appetite to be out in all weathers in northern England taking training when I’m sure his bank balance would allow him to be tossing it off on a beach and making regular smiling TV appearances with the usual ex-pros taking the soft option.

For United, I can see the club benefitting from the stardust he would bestow upon St McLarenbrollyJames’ Park and I imagine our continental profile and global appeal would be significantly enhanced by having Viera on Barrack Road. As a club we have worked the French market for players and that could only be enhanced by having a figure of Viera’s standing at Newcastle United. If Ashley is serious about investing in players, having Viera at the club could potentially tip the balance in the better ones coming to and staying on Tyneside.

Of course, any new manager / head coach coming into United has to do so on the correct terms. I cannot square the idea of a new era at United, a new broom if you like with Pardew’s backroom staff still hanging around the place and although it might cost money they have to be moved to one side and the new man has to be able to do his own thing.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with the split between a Director of Football and the AQUAGIFHead coach in terms of how it works in principle. The days of managers, with all but a few exceptions, running clubs from top to bottom is over at the highest level. The job is just far too big for one person but the manager / coach must have a say in who is brought in and how he wishes to develop the first team squad. It’s no good giving a coach Stoke’s players if the manager wants to play Arsenal’s football. There has to be an agreed and shared philosophy at every level and that has to run through the club. That is where Ashley has failed previously (notwithstanding a lack of investment overall) and the match of Wise-Keegan was disastrous and so I’m led to believe the combination of Carr-Pardew was not without its difficulties with the evidence being Mbwia, Santon and our ex-manager rumoured to not even know who Riviere was when he turned up at Benton.

Of course in the North East we’ve had our share of great players becoming managers with Carrmixed results. Down the road, Roy Keane’s high standards, will to win and star-status galvanised the Mackems for a while before the ex-Man Utd man hit the self-destruct button and his Ipswich experience demonstrated that was more down to him than any circumstances he might have been in. Bryan Robson at ‘Boro had a similar galvanising impact on Teesside and for all it turned sour at The Riverside for Captain Lager, many Boro fans will look back on that era of Robson with Juninho, Ravanelli, Emerson and the move to a new stadium with great fondness. At SJP we have had World Cup winners Jack Charlton and Ossie Ardiles who were both terrible. Dalglish was a disaster, despite having this Mag utterly convinced we were now about to sweep the board on the day he was appointed. I’d failed to notice the tectonic plates of football had shifted and how Kenny had become yesterday’s man despite a brilliant pre-NUFC CV. He went to Celtic after United and demonstrated like Keane, it was him that was the problem not the club. Obviously, we had Gullit who was spectacularly piss-poor in every respect and another great player but shit manager , Souness almost destroyed the whole club – though to listen to the whopper in the media that was all down to United and not him. He’s declined to prove that to be the case by staying on his arse in a TV studio however. If only the world was different Graeme eh?

Of course the massive exception we have experience of is Kevin Keegan. I don’t think tf120_cover_ipadyounger supporters really appreciate KK’s superstar status as a player as it is now drifting into the mists of time. Twice European Player of the Season. European Cup winner! Captain of England when it meant something! Old farts like me very much remember KK’s status. I’d hate to draw a modern comparison but I can’t see Wayne Rooney play without thinking he’s still got a way to go to match KK.

When KK returned to United as manager, he of course had a relationship with the club following two brilliant seasons as a player and captain. He could push buttons and had a feel for the area for family reasons but let’s not forget after spending eight years in Spain and largely out of football, he was a massive risk. The club was on its arse and in financial difficulties but he galvanised the whole club and his enthusiasm and commitment, ambition and will swept the club forward. It was an inspired appointment and we need that kind of pivotal appointment now.

Whether that will be Viera or Laudrup, I don’t know but I do know McLaren would be completely uninspiring.

This isn’t a time for Health & Safety appointment like McLaren. It’s time to be bold and for Newcastle United to start believing in itself again and to take risks to galvanise the support and get our pride back.

This could be the last opportunity for a long time to come.


It wasn’t until the middle of last week when I managed to watch the West Ham game in Sounessfull again. The most curious point of the coverage was the post-match discussion and obviously I do take a rather morbid interest in the comments of our ex-manager, Graeme (too much make-up but I do like the new gnashers) Souness. It’s not even Newcastle United related to be honest but I couldn’t help wondering how little those in football as players or managers know about the culture and history of the clubs they are passing comment upon. The discussion between Souness-Carragher-Redknapp(Jamie) triggered by the man who bought Celastine Babayaro on a recommendation from Ray Wilkins to Newcastle United was about the sacking of Allardyce and the “West Ham way”. Souness has a sneering lack of regard for clubs he doesn’t regard as top drawer but his repeated lack of understanding for what he spoke of as the “West Ham way” exposed his ignorance.

I hardly have an affection for West Ham but I get what Hammers fans mean when they talk about a certain West Ham style as I do when Spurs and Everton fans do likewise. But Souness seems pointedly ignorant of it. Let me educate Souness if on the wild off-chance he is reading this – its Bobby Moore’s nobility and his silky, unruffled defending, it’s the long-serving stalwarts of great turns like Alvin Martin, Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds, Frank Lampard (snr) and a toughness of players like Martin Allen and Julian Dicks. It’s about producing players like Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe from their academy and having hosted great coaches like Greenwood, Lyall, Allison et al. It’s players like Cottee, McAvennie and turns like Di Canio (though not often far from the London orbital) and it’s a team getting it on the deck and passing it, attacking and playing with the joy of the sport.

That is written into the West Ham fan’s DNA just as ours contains memories and tales of Milburn, Mitchell, Robledo, Davies, Green, Smith, Beardsley, Keegan, Gascoigne, Ginola, Shearer etc and SJP on its feet roaring on wild attacking football.

I’m sure any real football enthusiast could expand upon the culture of any number of clubs and not all of them have a procession to silverware (most upholstered by foreign patronage) but for someone paid to have an opinion on the game, his ignorance and lack of appreciation was truly astonishing.

It’s probably why he’s a shit manager and a bit of a wanker then.


We are in the process of putting the Summer Special issue of true faith together and we’ve already had some absolutely brilliant pieces in for editing and they are now getting the art-work done on what promises to be a fantastic read.

Remember if you fancied having a go at writing for one of the biggest, best known and respected fanzines in the country, just drop us a line on and we’ll put you to work.

All the best


Keep On, Keepin’ On ….

Related Posts

29 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Situations Vacant – 31/May/15

  1. Pat Hughes says:

    Very interesting and informative. What hit home the most is your reference to back room staff. Such an important part of the whole set-up and important to get quality in this area. Quite what happened during the final game of the season is anyone’s guess – relief, holiday dreams, fat bonus – who knows but they certainly put one foot in front of the other! So why no performances like that before? Whoever comes in needs to have overall control of training, able to take advice on medical/injury matters, aware of man-management (given the delicate nature of footballers these days) and one who is not prone to worrying or decking officials. Oh and one who treats fans with respect. If the tales about Ashley being involved in MegaValue are true then he should be prepared to dig deep to ensure maximum advertising of his cheap new venture in the PL. If he puts Wilkinsons out of business, I will be cross however and he can expect a slap! I really don’t know who can give us fans what we want, alongside what Ashley is prepared to accept. Fear not though, I’ve dug out my Nostradamus book and I shall scan his quatrains for news of our future – we’re bound to be mentioned somewhere.

  2. Simon H says:

    Spot on as ever, Michael. Couldn’t agree more with your comments on needing a philosophy engrained in the club.

    I have to say, looking at comments on twitter etc, the Vieira rumour has highlighted the huge amount of distrust and disconnect between the club and its supporters. Many believe it is a lie to shift season tickets. Sad.

    As things stand, I feel a glimmer of hope and positivity – haven’t been able to say that for a while. Laudrup and Vieira hint at a positive change, but I’m sure that will be knocked out of me when Schteve corned beef face is unveiled later in the week…

  3. Steve says:

    I have to say that for some reason the thought of Vieira as manager actually quite excites me. Such a well respected bloke. As it excites me I will therefore assume it won’t happen and McClaren will indeed get the job

  4. Davey says:

    Viera doesn’t do a lot for me if I’m honest, however, I’m a forty something Geordie who was brought up in a different era football wise and am not a twenty something European professional footballer who will look at Viera similarly to how a young Peter Beardsley or a young Waddle might’ve looked at Kevin Keegan so who knows? I don’t think it will happen anyway and expect to see choice A, McClaren get the job over choice B, Coach Carvs.

  5. Tom Pitt says:

    I just can’t imagine Vieira accepting the remit as we know it at SJP.
    Why would he risk his reputation in his first job with the criteria here?
    Unless they lie to him (like they did with KK) and if they do I think he’d be the type to walk (like happened with KK!).
    A change in the grand plan?
    I just don’t buy it.
    So,McLaren or Carver it is then!

  6. Janie Jones says:

    I fucking hate West Ham.

  7. Ryan Bell says:

    Think you’re bang on the money with this one. This club needs an element of risk after 5 years of ‘stability’ or as I like to call it, stagnation.

  8. George Shipley says:

    I keep reading about how Newcastle fans want to see exciting attacking football. I for one want to see good defending (signing proper tough defenders would help), a team hard to play against and not the soft touch we have been in recent times and I would be happy to see every game won 1-0. I think it is a myth that fans would rather see an exciting game and lose rather than a dour win. I know fans pay good money to be entertained but I am sure the result is what it is all about. Or am I wrong?

  9. Drew Murty says:

    JC will get the job. Guaranteed.

    • Milo79 says:

      I’m inclined to agree. The club will, I believe, make a genuine play for Vieira, but there aint no way he’s going to risk his managerial career before it’s even started by association with this lot. He’ll be chatting to Shearer, no doubt, for his take on the club and then turn up to the interview out of morbid curiosity. Charnley must know they can’t have another repeat of the Keegan debacle, so if they bullshit Vieira it is going to end very badly indeed.

    • Rowla says:

      If I could only bet on man getting it, it’d be Charva. All Mike Ashley said in the interview that got some thinking a sea change was coming is it was down to Charnley to select the next manager – we all know what that really means. And we all (should by now) know Ashley will always choose the cheapest and most compliant option.
      From his perspective last season was nigh-on perfect – high-wage earning players proven (in his world) to be unnecessary moved on, no capital outlay on players (again), booming TV revenues, a handy bit of prize money, a tidy if unlikely profit on Parsnip, survival by the skin of our teeth (and doesn’t he love a gamble), then some other ageing high-wage earners running down their contracts!
      No, it’ll be Charva to start with, until we’re in perilous danger by October.

  10. nick says:

    Surely there is no way a manager with serious options is going to come to Newcastle United. Pardew was out of a job and appeared unlikely to work at this level again so was prepared to take it on in any circumstances. Whatever any of us reckon, it worked out for him – he now has a rehabilitated reputation as a premier league manager. McClaren will be looking to do the same.

    • nick says:

      …In fact, this Vieira talk is probably a lame attempt to bullshit McClaren into thinking he might not be the only vaguely credible candidate when he obviously is. I reckon they’re shitting themselves at NUFC because if McClaren knocks it back then they’re fucked – the backup shortlist will consist of Carver, and…fuck knows… mugging victim Alan Barnes because he’s a Geordie and garners public sympathy? Joe Kinnear? Malky Mackay?

  11. joe hawkins says:

    I know a lot of fans will jump on the “I Hate West Ham” bandwagon with the so called “North/South” divide and The Hammer’s seen as the archetypal Cockney team.
    Yes we have a history with them and we have battled each other over the years but they are a club with a special identity imo.
    Their club along with Newcastle, Liverpool and a few others form a core of what English Football is all about.
    These are special clubs that are an intrinsic part of the afore mentioned communties and are at the heart and ethos of their respective areas.
    Yes there is a rivalry there with West Ham but i respect their club because it is a proper football club in the age of fake built up clubs like Chelsea and Citeh.
    Don’t get me wrong i like City fans and they deserve some success after everything they have been through so i wouldn’t begrudge them that, It’s just in the manner it has come about.

    The trouble with clubs like Newcastle, West Ham, Liverpool etc is they have to be run by the correct people who have a knowledge or a vested interest in the club otherwise they struggle.
    I know Liverpool have won the Champions League and a few other trophies under Rafa but they are nowhere near to what they used to be and they will never get a better chance to win the league than they did two seasons back.
    The strength of what makes these clubs special can also be their Achilles Heel and can hold the clubs back !

  12. Bob says:

    It’s difficult to imagine where the link to Viera came from although it does appear to have some legs. Whether it’s an attempt to be able to negotiate better terms with the likes of Mclaren, who knows. There are probably hundreds of reasons why not but a couple to get the go ahead. Surely it can’t be much to get rid of Carver and Stone, even just Carver on his own. Why would anyone want to keep him on with his track record. Fair play he gave it a go but it was evident early on it wasn’t going to work and rubbed fans up the wrong way with his rubbish speak plus the geordie and Sir Bobby references and then finally referring to John and Liam after the final game. Wrong guy. Wrong time, wrong place, just wrong.

  13. Paul Brown says:

    Another good article reflecting the thoughts and frustrations of the majority of nufc fans. I agree Vieira would be a risk albeit an exciting one but the salient point is that, by all accounts, he would not accept the current nufc model of only surviving and being a player retail outlet. Does this mean the model is to be ditched?

    My view on this is that it could be if a revised model has financial benefits for Ashley. Appointing Vieira and making some decent signings would galvanise the club (at least in the short term) and inject some hope (remember that) into the fan base. I believe the Ashleyout campaign is hitting the spot and many season tickets remain unsold.

    Are the financial numbers now dictating that some investment will yield the required return?
    As Ashley’s business empire expands (mega value and possible department stores) will it now be cost effective for the SJP advertising vehicle to be in the champions league?
    Or will we get more of the same with McLaren and the current coaching staff?
    Our hopes and dreams hang by an accountants spreadsheet.

  14. mikey says:

    Lets be leftfield and give Vieira a chance, although I am cynical of the view McClaren will get the gig, Wally with a brolly , regardless of his rehabilitation offshore will always stick

  15. Simon Sharp says:

    The sad thing is for all the good contenders that are out there, we know that United will ignore them in favour of the cheapest option. Ambitious, talented managers, progressive coaches that Newcastle will ignore because they’re likely to question the working relationship of the club and the transfer strategy. The whiff of a suggestion that we might get someone like Laudrup or Vieira doesn’t excite me, because we won’t do the hard yards involved with making such an appointment and even if we did by some miracle, any Head Coach/Manager/Whatever Title would have their hands tied by the club and would end up being no more than a yes man, and you’d have to question the credibility of anybody willing to work under Lee Charnley.

    Looks like its McLaren then.

  16. mikey says:

    So McClaren the busted flush it is then , according to, wonder what the betting is on how long he will last

  17. Nick says:

    If it’s true, how are we going to win something with a guy 10 years past his best. Looks like (and the rest of us) need to stay busy.

  18. Colin McCabe says:

    I don’t know why I fuckin do it but once again I allowed myself to get a wee bit excited and think “no, they might actually do it this time”….and once again it looks like deflation, anger, resentment and sheer hatred of the fat bastard will prevail.
    I know it isn’t set in stone yet but it does seem increasingly likely this shell of a club will once again completely fuck up the opportunity to inject some very much needed enthusiasm and life into a thoroughly dispirited fan base. McLaren is a nothing appointment and he has failed badly in his last 4 managerial roles.

    Its just depressing really…..

  19. Ant says:

    There is zero chance that anyone even remotely ambitious would ever work for Mike Ashley.
    McClaren is looking for a quick course of “Premiership rehabilitation” after his peregrinations following the England fiasco. If the NUFC job works out, he can get a job at a small London club with a nice pay-rise; if we go wrong, he will probably receive a nice pay out. In this respect, he will be in perfect harmony with the rest of NUFC’s players for whom Newcastle is just a stepping stone (and who can blame them after out behaviour towards Jonas).
    On the plus side, maybe this commonly embraced sense of purpose by players and manager (“we have to get out of this place if it’s the last thing we ever do…”) will bring a small degree of success in the form of a top 12 finish next season. I am fainting with excitement.
    Sarcasm aside and in summary, there is no way that this club is receiving a single dime, penny, cent or drachma out of me for the foreseeable future.

  20. Ian Summers says:

    McClaren is a likely repetition of Pardew as an appointment and devoid of real ambition. The intentions of Ashley towards our club could not be more obvious and have spanned many seasons now. The idea of Vieira was interesting but never likely since he seems an intelligent and ambitious bloke. Intelligence and ambition would not sit well with Mr Ashley! I’d be surprised if the pretense at interest went beyond a short phone call?
    That we release an established Argentinian international who showed so much passion at the end of the season yet retain Gouffran to cover the same position is typical of Ashley restrictions.

  21. matt flynn says:

    So a little over a week since the Mr Ashley speaks revolution and we are waiting for a recently sacked chump who has turned us down twice already this year to finish his holiday before the promised massive spending spree crawls into action.


    • Nick says:

      He hasn’t even started his holiday yet so don’t hold your breath

    • Alan says:

      Aye Matt.
      In the immediate aftermath of the fat man’s rousing and deeply sincere speech, the Chronicle ran a poll asking if Newcastle’s support were heartened by what they’d heard. 57% apparently were.
      In a couple of months time Sports Direct FC will play their first home game of the season, no doubt to a capacity crowd. Many of these folk will look the dog’s bollocks in their brand new, out of date Wonga tops.
      Nearly two year ago certifiable lunatic Joe Kinnear informed us that he was more intelligent than most of Newcastle’s support.
      He was probably right.

      • Matt Flynn says:

        Just wait for the epidemic of Stockholm Syndrome when Ashley sanctions an above normal (for NUFC) spend this summer. He has no choice this time, the squad will be relegation fodder without a serious overhaul.

        Then it will be back to hoarding money in the club’s bank account for no stated reason until next time the neglect sees the club flirting too closely with relegation again.

  22. Chris Nappin says:

    The longer we have no manager in place the longer we won’t have to sign any players so I’m not expecting McLaren in any particular hurry. He is supposed to be a good coach in fairness which is something we’ve never really had, like ever. The fact that his former players make this point repeatedly kind of suggests that what he gains in coaching skills he loses in management skills. Tactics, team selection, a long term playing-style strategy, man management, fan communication, player motivation – I don’t particularly associate McLaren with any of those things. We already have the best coach in the world anyway.

    Given the amount of money we need to spend in the summer just to remain static, it really doesn’t matter who comes in; they’ll be bound by the same constraints as Pardew was no matter how much better they are. My once powerful, vain Geordie hope has been shredded beyond existence and the auto-cynicism default setting in my head now replaces it, whatever bullshit interview Ashley puts out.

    Imagine the first question they ask the new manager about Carver, Stone and Woodman still being there. It’s going to be mega cringeworthy and the start of our disrespect for whoever the manager is as they will be feeding us shit no matter what they say. Surely the money that came in for Pardew could cover most of the rest of the coaching staff’s pay outs? Penny-wise pound-foolish once again springs to mind, and I don’t think that will ever change under Ashley. Let’s not conclude that this is a turnaround due to one staged interview.

    Ashley Out!