Six coaches and a manager.
No, this isn’t a film from the 1980s but the current situation Newcastle find themselves in with the appointment of Graeme Jones as “assistant head coach”; something he makes clear is his “official title” and makes me wonder what his “unofficial title” is…
The quote from his first interview (which was NINE minutes long on NUFC TV) certainly sounds like management talk to me:
“We’ve got some good players who didn’t start the other night, it’s about getting the best players on the pitch in a system that suits us.”
This doesn’t sound like the sort of speech you’d normally get from a coach coming in to “assist” a manager. Picking players to start and creating a system is something that the manager decides, is it not?
I really can’t remember any time that there was such a big deal made of a back room staff appointment. I tried looking for it too! I searched through the archives of NUFC TV and the best I could find was a small segment in July 2015 when Paul Simpson and Ian Cathro spoke on episode one of the long-running and much-loved “Magpies 24/7”.
Simpson and Cathro certainly weren’t dressed up in their best, formally informal attire either, like Jones is. They were spoken to during a training session and were given about 4 minutes to share.
This appointment should be done in the same fashion of McClaren’s appointments of coaches, where fans were simply informed by email. There’s normally no fanfare in the appointment of a backroom staff member.
I’m not sure, but this ‘show of faith’ in Bruce really doesn’t look like there’s much faith there, when this new man talks about how he’s here to offer a “neutral opinion” and will “always tell the truth”… If this is true, then maybe Graeme can neutrally and truthfully tell Steve how awful he is?
In all honesty, this appointment reminds me of the film Scrooged, when John Glover’s character is brought in to help Bill Murray but is really just there to usurp him.
There are lots of red flags here in this appointment from a Bruce perspective and this swish interview doesn’t do a lot to squash any rumours.
It needs to be noted, as I firmly put my tinfoil hat on, that before taking the job, Jones wanted assurances over his future from Newcastle if Bruce were to be sacked. What does that tell you? Well, it certainly tells you that he doesn’t see his long-term future with Bruce. He’s not coming to Newcastle to help Bruce, he’s coming to help himself and, you’d hope, the club. He’s not joining Bruce’s management team, he’s joining Newcastle’s coaching team, and I think it’s important to note the distinction there.
If Graeme Jones is assured of a future at the club then that means, if Bruce resigns or is sacked, then he will remain and would presumably become caretaker manager.
So, here’s my real conspiracy theory for you to digest and consider: Graeme Jones, a real Newcastle fan, has made a deal with the devil (Ashley) to turf out the fake Newcastle fan. Nothing about skill level or CV matters here, the only thing that matters is that Ashley can save money whilst manipulating his awful manager out of the job.