The managerial runners and riders at St James’ Park

With Newcastle still hunting a full-time manager, Henry Adams takes a lot at the candidates:

Alan Pardew was always ferociously unpopular on Tyneside and the perception that he was never really more than a Mike Ashley stooge accentuated the negatives associated with his time at St James’ Park.  Under the current ownership, Newcastle will never strive for more than just mere survival, so whoever inherits Pardew’s job will have to be willing to work under those circumstances.

Players will be bought for the purposes of appreciation rather than club achievement and star performers will be sold on a whim - big club though Newcastle are, those are the modern realities and any manager willing to take this position must recognise that he is very much operating under a glass ceiling.

So who are the candidates?

John Carver

The interim incumbent.  Carver has had two assistant manager spells at the club already (1999-2004/2011-2015) and would obviously be the choice of most convenient.  He knows the club, he understands its politics and is under no illusions about what his role would really be.

But, if the last four games have been his audition, he has not made a strong case to be permanently appointed.  A home draw against Burnley and successive losses against Leicester, Chelsea and Southampton have not provided compelling evidence that he’s suited to being anything more than a coach.

Bobby Robson references and a Geordie accent can only count for so much.

Remi Garde

Out of work since 2014, he has the advantage of not needing to break an existing contract before joining Newcastle.  Press reports suggest that he has already been contacted and, currently, Betfair have him as a 9/4 favourite for the job.

He’s not without credentials, either, having won the Coupe de France and the Trophee des Champions during his time with Lyon in Ligue 1 and he’s developed a reputation for working well with younger players, having overseen the progression of Clement Grenier, Samuel Umtiti, Jordan Ferri and Alexandre Lacazette amongst others whilst at Stade Gerland.

A good-fit: Ashley is likely to favour any manager who can move players from Point A to Point B and who can encourage organic growth.

Steve McClaren

Over the past two seasons, Derby have been one of the strongest sides in the Championship and they were extremely unfortunate to miss out on promotion in last season’s play-off final - and Steve McClaren deserves a lot of recognition for that.

Since his notoriously unsuccessful spell in charge of the English national team, McClaren has rehabilitated his career and although he had doomed spells at Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest, he won an Eredivise championship with Twente in 2010 which helped change the perceptions around him.

Whether he’d be willing to leave Derby County is another matter, though, and Ashley is unlikely to meet Andrew Appleby’s compensation demands.

Frank De Boer

De Boer has been linked, but only in a speculative, unsubstantiated way - and, actually, his name seems to just generically feature whenever an English club has a vacancy.

The Dutchman is currently at Ajax, but judging from his very public interest in the Tottenham job last Summer he’s eager to move on and pursue a fresh challenge.  Newcastle isn’t necessarily the club to give that to him, because having been so phenomenally successful in Amsterdam, De Boer will presumably look to move higher up the food chain and towards a club with which he can challenge for honours.

Tim Sherwood

Stay well away.  The six months Sherwood spent in charge of the Tottenham first team may have spawned some favourable winning-percentage statistics, but it proved very little about his ability to manage.

Although Sherwood’s name is likely to feature quite heavily in the media’s discussion of the Newcastle job, he is probably Mike Ashley’s worst nightmare.  He is not a ‘company man’, he will not keep his mouth shut when things aren’t to his liking, and he will tow no line whatsoever.

He’s far too chummy with certain journalists and Ashley will likely see him as an enormous risk to the confidentiality that he requires from a manager.

 

 

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