Interesting events seem to be popping up around the new head coach position at Newcastle United. It would seem we are due to hold talks with a certain Patrick Vieira for his possible services!, yes you read right, I did say Patrick Vieira. Quite how he has come into the frame is anyones guess. They may well of been monitoring his progress at City with the reserves or just realised he could be an option what with his contract up in the summer. How ever you slice it, if true, it’s a bold move by the Newcastle board, but is it smart or foolhardy?
So let’s weigh up the pro’s and con’s of unknown quantities verses steady hands. When you employ a Maclaren, Pulis, Moyes or Allardyce you know exactly what you are getting; namely a guy to steady the ship with a possible decent cup run . That’s all fine and good but what if you want more than that? I mean can these guys gain regular top 6 or 5th finishes or better? well, probably not in truth, if they could do better they’d already be at the likes of Chelsea. In the case of Moyes, he had a shot at Man utd after steady work at Everton yet failed once in charge with apparently more talent and cash at his disposal . So is there a case for saying that younger untested managers in waiting or at lower division clubs are worth a punt. Apparently yes there is and the evidence is right in front of us.
Take a look at the final 6 placed teams in the championship this season and the top 5 are all young managers with the first 3 gaining their clubs promotion to the promise land of the Premier League. Bournemouths Eddie Howe at 37 years old and who’s only real top flight football as a player was two appearences for Portsmouth under Redknapp, has done an amazing job there. Then we have Watfords Slavisa Jokanovic at 46 years old and who played for Partizan Belgrade and Chelsea in the top flight and managed Partizan and Levski Sofia amongst others. Then of course there is Alex Neil of Norwich who is just 32 years old and come seemingly from no where. Actually he came down from Hamilton academical after great success getting them promoted to the Scottish Premier League last season. The day he left his players were in tears such was his standing as not just a coach but former player for them. The
Accies loss is Norwiches gain as he’s guided them via the playoffs to the Premier League.
Talking of playoffs, let’s look at Boro’s manager Aitor Karanka, ok his team fell at the final hurdle but what a marvalous job he’s done at the Boro. At 41 years old another up and coming manager who played most of his career at Bilbao and Real madrid. He did manage the Spanish u16 side and learn his trade next to Jose Mourinho at R. Madrid though to be fair. All the same these clubs have taken a punt or a brave decision on their new head coaches when the easy option would of been a steady Eddie.
So the question is do Newcastle go with a tried and trusted pair of hands or opt to go down the untried route like the afore mentioned clubs?
Derby have just sacked Steve Maclaren who has been heavily linked to the Newcastle post for months now in favour of an untried manager in Paul Clement, yet to be confirmed. Clement has a lot of experience, coaching at Chelsea Academy, Fulham Academy and was ROI U21 coach, Blackburn Rovers assistant coach ,PSG assistant coach and Real Madrid assistant coach alongside Ancelotti. Yet the guy never played beyond non league as a player! Should we infact be looking to employ someone like Clement rather than Steve Maclaren?
With Villa taking a chance on Tim Sherwood with some early success and Everton doing steady under Roberto Martinez, Swansea doing ok under Garry Monk and relegated QPR seemingly happy to show faith in Chris Ramsey to guide them back to the PL , shouldn’t we be giving a young progressive coach a chance?
I can understand a lot of fans wanting an established name, a safe pair of hands if you like but sometimes the unknown quantity can spring a pleasent surprise. Remember Kevin Keegan had no experience in management and look what happened there.