Newcastle Circus Reaches All Time Low
So here we are. Three weeks in to the new Premiership season and the train wreck that is Newcastle United, has hit the buffers already.
Of course, we should have come to expect this from the Magpies by now but as a fan who has seen it all before, this kind of bad publicity doesn't get any easier.
Three days after it was announced that Kevin Keegan may or may not have left the club, we are still none the wiser as to what the outcome of this latest farce may be. And a much of a saviour as Mike Ashley may be, the buck must stop with him.
It seems that he has two choices. Either he lets Keegan get on with the job of managing the football club and gets rid of Dennis Wise and Tony Jimenez who, lets face it, don't appear to be doing their job as many would like. This would give Keegan back the power that he craves, including a bigger say in recruitment, which is what he wanted from day one.
Either that or Keegan leaves, Wise stays and nothing really gets resolved. Ashley would create an uproar and more than likely have a revolt on his hands from the toon faithful so desperate for Keegan to stay.
Whatever happens, it's just been another ugly episode in the recent history of the club. It's hard to remember a time when Newcastle were in the headlines for the right reasons and the managerial merry-go-round is a big reason for that.
It's been said so many times before but when you look at the stability in leadership that we see in Man Utd and Arsenal, it's easy to see why they have had so much success in the last fifteen years.
Newcastle have never been afraid to spend money and at times have spent more than the big teams above them. But when we see chopping and changing of managers every five minutes, then all we get is money being spent by one manager, followed by a sacking of that manager, and then another man coming in and not using the players previously bought. Then all we've got is another £10 million waste of money who is shipped out for a paltry amount in order to save on wages.
Of course, the expectation of the Newcastle fans doesn't help. The chairmen and managers have certainly felt the heat when things aren't going right and too often in the past, have tried to go for the quick fix.
It really begun when Keegan left the first time round. Bringing in Kenny Dalglish was a good move but he was never going to be able to emulate the ever popular Keegan. The next man to try and fail was Ruud Gullit and from the moment he fell out with Alan Shearer, he was always going to be doomed.
It was only when Bobby Robson returned that we saw a real upturn in fortunes and it was no surprise given Robson's affinity with his home town club. He knew what the fans wanted and knew what to do to get it. For a brief period, Newcastle were among the front runners in British football again, not just domestically, but in Europe and it was a great time to be a fan.
The biggest mistake of Freddy Shepherd's tenure was the sacking of Robson.
And he knows it.
Robson was close to retirement but still had plenty to give the club. If he'd been allowed to see out his contract, we could have seen a smooth transition from manager to manager rather than the farcical events we were about to witness.
Once Bobby had gone Shepherd knew he had to act quickly. One thing he didn't bank on was being rebuffed by manager after manager, eventually having to settle on Graeme Souness, a man who at the time was residing over a Blackburn team languishing near the bottom of the division.
The writing was on the wall from the moment Souness arrived and once he left, Glenn Roeder never had much of a chance.
I have a lot of respect for Roeder as he did the best he could throughout a turbulent time at United. He still managed a European spot during his caretaker time in charge and then throughout his first full season, Newcastle had the worst injury list in decades.
The final victim of the circus was Sam Allardyce. He did little wrong but never seemed likely to produce the kind of attacking football that toon fans crave. He was also unfortunate that he came in just before Ashley's takeover. Allardyce was never the man that Ashley wanted and it was almost inevitable that he too would be on his way.
However, his replacement was a big surprise.
Nobody expected Keegan and his appointment made Ashley the most popular person on Tyneside for a while.
Now here we are eight months on. Ashley has a big decision to make. He needs to give Keegan what he wants and let him manage the football club his way.
He knows it's the only choice. For himself. For the fans. For the future of Newcastle United Football Club.
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