THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Waiting – 7/Jun/15

by • June 8, 2015 • TBAWEComments (14)2186

It would take something of a volte-face for anyone other than Steve McLaren to become McLaren1the Newcastle United manager now. McLaren’s appointment has been on the cards for quite some time and not just since Pardew hopped aboard a fast train to London in January. McLaren has been on the United radar for a number of years and before being appointed by Derby a couple of seasons ago, was a regular at St James’ Park and he has along established relationship with Graeme Carr. Without sounding like a clever shite, those who might be long term readers of this waffle will know the references we have made to McLaren over a number of years.

So, (sighs) its Steve McLaren then!  I know there are many of you reading this of the view AustralianNThe’s a decent appointment and he should be given a chance. I know there’s a few completely indifferent to McLaren but believe in the interests of fairness to the bloke he should be given a fair crack of the whip and there are others who believe that if he starts his time at United within a begrudging atmosphere with fans ready to jump all over him, that could be very damaging for United. I’m aware also there are many others too who regard his appointment as something as the Alan Pardew continuity candidate and who believe regardless of his merits, he’s doomed to failure working for a Newcastle United owned by Mike Ashley.

Let’s be honest, all those viewpoints are perfectly valid.

Where I am I think is that I’m singularly uninspired by his appointment. I don’t think his CarharttNTarrival at United will amount to much of a change. It would appear, the appointment has been left to Charnley and Carr and they have made an appointment they are comfortable with rather than what the club really needs which as many of you agree is ambition.

What I think sailed slightly under the radar in Ashley’s surprising TV appearance before the West Ham game was the clarity Ashley gave about whom would be making the managerial appointment and that was clearly going to be Lee Charnley. In his turn, Charnley has worked with Graeme Carr to select McLaren from a list of what we were told back in January was eighty candidates long. Hmm.

News breaking over the weekend suggests that Ashley is moving further away from the EllesseNTrunning of United by standing down from the board. This may be a technical matter but it does say something that Ashley has removed himself administratively and in executive terms with the management decisions falling to Carr and Charnley. News that there may be others joining the board might be welcome even though one I assume will be a replacement for John Irving, the Finance Director who has decided to leave United to work at the Airport.  Who the other body might be I do not know but it is to be hoped it is someone with a remit to either to grow the club commercially and/or improve its public standing amongst its own community of supporters.  I think I’ll laugh bitterly if the new man happens to be Derek Llambias.

It’s not difficult to understand why Ashley would wish to move away from United, at least LacosteNTin executive terms.  As part of MASH, United is a pretty small, if not inconsequential part of his portfolio and he has a range of other interests elsewhere which are far more lucrative to him than Newcastle United and I just don’t mean Sports Direct. For a man as driven in business as Ashley he will be devoting his time to those areas where he will make him the biggest return. He may not see Newcastle United as the biggest money-spinner available to him. Or anywhere near it.


Over the last number of months business analysts attempting to second guess a man of Hugo Boss Green range advertsurprises have begun to wonder if Ashley is making some significant changes to his strategy and that is most concerned with his moves into the burgeoning London property market. I read in the business pages of one of the broadsheets (well, I read it online, I haven’t bought a newspaper for about three years) estimate that a deal Ashley was involved in was forecast to turn him a profit of £900m over four to five years. However much there is in football, it is small potatoes compared to that kind of investment.  Similarly, it’s even been rumoured Ashley might be untangling himself from Sports Direct and lately he has sold £200m’s worth of shares in the business. I’d find that hard to process to be honest.

In short, Mike Ashley looks like he has much bigger fish to fry than Newcastle United, an unloved asset of his where he remains a toxic figure amongst the club’s support. Thus the decision on the appointment of a bloke to train some footballers has been left completely to the two men who largely run Newcastle United – Lee Charnley and Graeme Carr.

What I regarded as most disappointing about Ashley’s rare TV appearance was the implicit pheonixlogovote of confidence in Lee Charnley. I’ve nothing personal against Charnley, I’ve never met the bloke but as one who picks up pieces of what goes on at SJP, I’ve not heard anything positive and his CV suggests to me he has been grossly over-promoted. That he has been bestowed the soubriquet “Mini-Mike” by some United employees suggests an absence of original thinking and slavishness to delivering exactly what “Big Mike” orders.  His salary, large in comparison to what many of us earn in the stands, is paltry compared to his peers at other PL and probably Championship clubs take home.  As has been noted many times previously, the Ashley strategy appears to promote employees into positions they appear unqualified for but simply on the basis he knows them to be reliable, malleable drones to carry out his bidding. That’s all very well but I’d suggest the absence of achievement, ambition and creativity within the boardroom will continue to cramp the club.

I was never a big fan of United’s previous Chief Executive Freddie Fletcher but the man’s Lab PerfumesNTCV established at Morton but spectacularly in the renaissance of Rangers in the 1980s as well as in Scottish politics makes him a giant compared to Charnley. I can’t imagine Fletcher being intimidated by the likes of Souness, Keegan and Co. but I do think Charnley would be petrified of men of the calibre of Viera and Laudrup.

So, here we have Steve McLaren. Newly sacked of Derby and I don’t believe with an earthly chance of getting a PL job at any other club where he didn’t have some kind of long term relationship with Graeme Carr. Sound familiar?

Like Charnley, like Pardew, like Carver, McLaren wasn’t in demand – this is the only place he’ll get a go and he’ll jump at the chance. For a manager who has recently failed to get Derby promoted after being binned by Forest, previously failed in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg and became a humiliated, derided figure in his time as England manager, McLaren will point to a startling achievement in Holland with FC Twente where he won the Eredivisie in 2013 and a spell at Boro where he delivered the League Cup in 2004 and got them to the UEFA Cup Final in 2005 where they were spectacularly humped 4-0 by Sevilla. He was a well-regarded coach at Man Utd and has had a few players line up to give references to his quality as a coach.

Boro fans I know shrug at the mention of his name which is ironic given he delivered the PenfieldNTonly piece of silverware they have won in their entire history. The style of play has been described a dreadful and I am yet to read many pieces praising the style of his latest club, Derby County.

One thing I do know is this could be the last decision Carr and Charnley get to make at United if it unravels. Although neither man can be held responsible for the lack of investment into the club, their decision making isn’t without culpability either. These two publicity-shy movers and shakers have been given the biggest call to make. They have agreed to make a conservative and unimaginative appointment. It’s an appointment to suit them in my opinion.

What McLaren appears to be signing up for is the same role Pardew occupied i.e. train the players, pick the team, work with what he’s given, take the flak and be the single and only public face of Newcastle United FC.  He will also be working with a coaching team assembled by his predecessor, one of which has just been passed over for the job he now occupies. Carver, Stone and Woodman were given mad contracts along with Pardew and it would seem the reluctance to pay them off and award compensation has kept them in a job. I’ll leave you decide if this is penny-wise and pound foolish.

Whether McLaren, whose only area of total authority is in coaching the team, will be allowed to appoint his own coaching team, remains to be seen but if not once again, United are making things very difficult for the most important man at the football club.

McLaren is coming into a very difficult situation. He should have our best wishes and he will I’m sure. However, the people he needs to watch closely aren’t the local media or tens of thousands of disaffected supporters – it is Graeme Carr and Lee Charnley, not to forget Mike Ashley. He’ll be in a lonely position.


I don’t disagree that Ryan Taylor and Jonas Guitteraz shouldn’t be offered new contracts tf120_cover_ipadat Newcastle United. Despite Jonas’ heroic display against West Ham on the last day of the season, I agree it’s time to call time on his career at United. Likewise Ryan Taylor who has endured two and a bit years out of the game due to serious injuries must have painful for a lad who clearly loves playing football and whose commitment to recovery is one I wish had been shared by HBA. I did find it extremely distasteful how the news of the club’s decision was broken to them whilst undertaking a coaching course in Belfast. A phone-call? Really?

Is this how United conducts itself?

The club and by which I mean Charnley, Pardew and Ashley treated Jonas shamefully during his cancer treatment and I don’t doubt within the game itself has seriously damaged its reputation. The club should and could have done so much more. Behaving with something approaching humanity might have been a start.

As a club we should have high expectations of managers, coaches, players and directors. The club seems indifferent to what supporters’ value and for some time how it conducts itself just makes so many of us wince and feel ashamed.

That just has to stop.


Many thanks to all of you who joined in the Discussion Day piece (as below) regarding PodcastweeklyimageMcLaren’s imminent appointment. I think we had a good, informed debate and its important that as supporters we develop and retain a narrative of what we think about key issues at the club as so often they are hijacked by those with skewed agendas and misrepresented in the national media. We’ll have more of those topics going forward I’m sure. This week following McLaren’s appointment, we’ll also be having a dedicated podcast on the subject which yours truly hopes to be involved with. We’ll have news of that on the website, so keep tuning in folks.


The Champions League on Saturday night was a thoroughly great game but I couldn’t help reflecting and sharing via my twitter account that I’ve seen my team Newcastle United beat both the finalists in the same competition at St James’ Par. Those were happy days. Here’s the footage. It did happen.

Have a great week.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

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14 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Waiting – 7/Jun/15

  1. Paul smith says:

    I ask you was there ever a time when your two teams were managed by two more unremarkable, unlikeable and unimaginative people than Steve McClaren and Roy Hidgson. To me it just seems like people making these potty decisions are taking the piss. It’s very simple ……if Newcastle United were appointing Michael Laudrup this week and you asked 1000 random football supporters whether he was likely to be a success 6 or 7 hundred would say yes. Ask the same question about Steve McClaren and probably less than 100 would say yes. How do these people who I’ve come to dislike rather a lot Charnely and the guy with the Midas touch Carr (are you sure?) get it so horribly and spectacularly wrong. I’ll say it now that on the day Steve McClaren leaves Newcastke we need to get shot of this fella Carr because to me he seems to be resoinsible for a hell of a lot of stinking decisions.

  2. Bob says:

    A good assessment of the situation although I find it difficult to believe that Ashley left it totally to these two. I agree it probably had more to do with who they could “handle” rather than on merit. The Chronicle (hardly the font of all knowledge NUFC) think that Carr and McClaren aren’t great friends but it should make it easier for them to agree more on signings (that is, if we get any), more than it appears Pardew and Carr did. Most news reports suggest McClaren will start to get on with things on his return from holiday. Surely they should be in contact by that phone thing and whilst the guy no doubt deserves a holiday if he was really keen he would have cut it or Charnley could have insisted he does as they need to sort things quickly as there isn’t much time left before the seaskn starts again. Uninspiring, as you say and I don’t think many of us expected anything else really.

  3. Stephen says:

    Once upon a time we had the Halls, Shepherd, Fletcher, Russell Cushing etc,heading out with the patter,a vision and a bag of loot and getting their man. Now we have Charnley and the Chief Scout Carr doing it, embarrassing. Whatever you think of the previous set up atleast they tried and had a go.

    Spot on Michael, McClaren has convienently fell into their lap, totally unimaginative and safe.We needed something exciting, interesting at this time. This is not it.

    Something else that struck me last week, Charnley’s comments on the trip to America to play the English eqivalent of Walsall. “Helping us develop and strengthen the Newcastle United brand internationally and reach new audiences as we seek to increase our global fan base.The US is a key territory for the Premier League and the huge increase in the numbers of US viewers watching…………..” need i go on ?

    Meanwhile back in the City of Newcastle upon Tyne absolutely nothing is done to address the diminishing and disinterested fan base.

    I find it incredible that the club see’s a few people buying shirts and sitting infront of the tv on the other side of the world a priority – and worthy of a statement – ahead of its core support on Tyneside.

    Some bloke last week – “If you can’t win atleast compete to do it. Feel you are alive. I think to be alive, to be burning, that is the most important thing.” – called Mourinho.

  4. Ken Brown says:


    As if things weren’t bad enough the comment in your article (para 6) which mentions Dekka “the Liar” Llambias as a possible board appointment is another massive kick in the goolies for us and I reckon it is nailed on that he will return. Apparently a company must have at least two directors on its board.
    He was mocked and laughed out of Glasgow, one of his gaffes being that he had to publicly apologise for telling lies about what a wonderful job he had accomplished whilst at NUFC having been reminded that as Rangers was a quoted company on the London stock market “one was obliged by law to tell the truth” a concept totally alien to Pinocchio Llambias.
    God help us all if/when he returns in triumph!! Him and charnley! The dynamic duo! What a prospect.

  5. nick says:

    Like most, I’m underwhelmed by McClaren but now he’s (pretty much) here I think most supporters will give him every chance – it’s being undermined from within that he ought to worry about. Probably doesn’t actually matter what the fans do – if it does go king-kong for him then people will be queuing up to blame us. The hounded out stories are ready to go and it only takes one scribbled “McClaren out” sign to cement prejudices.

    Mind, loads of people are talking about how it could have been Laudrup but I wasn’t sold on him either. He’s 50 and has been in managment for more than 10 years without getting near the big time and he’s also not stayed anywhere for very long since Brondby. Plus, he’s just signed a new short term deal in Qatar, which is an indication of his career priorities.

  6. andy mc says:

    lets see who we sign, that’s the only thing to remove the total apathy

  7. Allan Rogers says:

    McClaren was boasting about his Newcastle appointment months ago why do you think that Derby`s form dived in the last 3 mths of last season. He had no interest in Derby once he knew he had the Newcastle job. The man is another shit.

  8. nick says:

    Like I said, I find his appointment underwhelming… all I said is I haven’t got the bed-sheet painted, ready for if we’re not winning every week.

  9. joe hawkins says:

    McClaren’s appointment is nothing more than an exercise in trying to maintain the comfortable status quo they had with Pardew for four years.
    That is the most quiet things have been for them and they have been able to get away with running their very dirty plan of selling anyone who fatty say without opposition.

    Apparently coaches of the calibre of De Boer, Laudrup, Ranieri etc all showed an interest and wanted to talk about the position but were ignored.
    If true it says it all about this farcical regime we have here because appointing some like Laudrup would have meant real change and Charnley and Co do not want that !
    Lets be honest the main reason McClaren is their top candidate is because he is the most likely man to do an Alan Pardew for them.

    The above mentioned coaches would definitely achieve more than Pardew ever could and that would lead to Ashley crapping himself because he would have to hand over readies to kick them onto the next level.
    They don’t want that and want to run something along the lines of a footballing sweat shop with McClaren as a line manager.

    Most of us know that McClaren will fail big time but that is not a dig at him because i have nothing against him but it’s the ridiculous conditions he will have to work in and along with Pardew is not the most creative or adventurous out there.
    I think the main thing that will shock “The Keystone Cops” is Steve is his own man and he will not take as much bunny as Pardew did.
    He will be offman if he thinks things are not going for him and doesn’t share that level of thick skin and delusion that Pardew suffers with.

    All in all this will turn out to be another folly by the idiots running the circus and could be done and dusted within a disastrous 6 to 8 months and back to square with yet another relegation battle !

  10. tim says:

    As depressing as it sounds we have no choice but to get firmly behind McClaren until it’s impossible to do so any longer. This appointment has dashed any hopes anyone may have had about Ashley ever employing a manager for the right reasons. They came out the other day and stated that they would never have sacked Pardew and we all know how disgusting it became towards the end. It would appear that McClaren is now as bulletproof as Pardew was.

  11. mikey says:

    Why cannot this club go for statement of intent, get a forward thinking manager to manage and coach the team,get decent players, coach them and the team into players willing to play for the cause, for every cup, every game with belief…instead we appoint an easy option, I will give him a chance, but sadly I feel every day another bit of original nufc seeps away, The Ashley interview a long distant memory

  12. Bob says:

    Re McLaren being his own man. I suspect his bank balance is very healthy (contracts paid up and decent salaries etc.) so he might not be prepared to take as much crap as Pardew did, hopefully.

  13. Bob says:

    Carver and Stone leaving was worth waiting for.

  14. desree says:

    same comments we had nearly 5 years back when apardew joined. Even when we finished 5th the football was rubbish, it was only cabayes moments of brilliance and some great goals by arfa, cisse and demba that papered over the cracks. If we can get that quality of player in and de jong and cabella start firing then we could have some decent moments.

    What we are missing is the spirit that nolan, carroll and barton brought to the side. If McLaren can get that back then I’d consider him a success.