Well it is safe to say that there has been more than a little discussion and debate around our current man in charge this season.
In a dramatic turn around, Alan Pardew has gone from being the EPL Manager of the Year to a manager bereft of confidence and ideas in the short space of 12 months.
It is no secret that we are playing well below par and that we are not playing any free flowing attacking football. I could bang out a myriad of excuses for our poor play but you have all heard them before, many of them right from the man in charge himself. Regretfully and probably more disappointingly, our current plight has me muttering the words “I’ve seen this all before” and “here we go again,” like others I guess.
So it got me thinking about our managers past and present and the task they have of actually managing a Newcastle side to some form of success. Below is a table of the managers that have tried to steer us to glory. Please note that I have shortened the list to the 1990’s to keep it slightly more compact and relevant with modern football.
As you can see (or if you can’t then click on the image to zoom!) there is a host of names that have taken up the challenge and it is surprising to see that the majority of managers over the past 20 years or so have been from the UK. Is this a bad thing? I am not too sure about that.
Our two non-British managers in Gullit and Ardiles didn’t really set the league alight with a huge amount of wins. But the interesting thing is that they only had roughly 12 months in charge before being replaced. Now I am not sure if that is enough time to really stamp your style of play on a team. Maybe given some time they might have gained some success?
We have tried big name managers, old players as managers and even managers that no one else would employ, but none have placed any significant silverware into our trophy cabinet. Sir Bobby gave it a good shot and was unlucky to be sacked when he was and Kevin Keegan also came close to glory the first time around.
Some of the problem stems from the trigger-fingers of our owners throughout the years. Quick to fire when results are not as they should be, we have seen many of our managers sacked with very little time clocked up at the helm. So many managers have tried and ultimately failed and you have to begin to wonder if something more sinister is in play. Surely they can’t ALL be bad?
In my opinion, there really seems to be a long standing culture of mediocrity surrounding Newcastle United. I have seen this type of thing in many sporting clubs from different codes; where no matter what is done to improve things, it ultimately doesn’t work out. I am not saying that it is a conscience thing, no one is deliberately trying to fail but it seems over a period of time everyone falls into a cadence of simply going through the motions.
Newcastle fans are renowned as passionate supporters but some have now begrudgingly succumbed to the fact that we may never win any real silverware of substance. A mid-table finish in the league could now almost be considered a good result. Not for one second do I think that this acceptable but it is hard to combat these sinister forces that are holding our beloved club down.
Look, I am being overly dramatic regarding the sinister forces line but I believe that until the culture of the club changes from the top down, we will be looking at repeating our poor performances for years to come. A winning culture is not born from sacking a manager after five losses in a row or buying lots of expensive players; it is about positive talk, actions and well delivered plans. Words like, “We will have to sell before we can buy” must be struck from our vernacular as it is a breeds a losing mentality. We may very well need to sell to buy but we don’t need it ringing through the players ears as the train and play.
Obviously I’m no sports psychologist but you don’t need to be one to see that everyone from the players to the MD, are not pulling in the same direction.
I am tired of the words “We are a big club”. We are not a big club, we are a Great Club!
Over the years, I am not sure that enough of our owners, managers, coaches and players have bought into this way of thinking to be honest. Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby apart, most of the managerial appointments have failed miserably. Is it entirely the manager fault when thing are bad? Probably not but I think there is a little more to our lack of success over the years than the managers in charge on game day.
I may very well be barking up the wrong tree so I would love to hear your views on what I have put forward.
Aussie Magpie Fan