It recently emerged that Newcastle United attempted, at the end of the 1996/7 season, to coax Sir Alex Ferguson away from the illustrious and decorated colours of Manchester United to the black and white ensigns of the Tyneside club.
And though the move failed to materialise, to the misfortune of Newcastle and their irrepressible fan following, the affiliation between the two sides has been longstanding.
Newcastle were one of Manchester United‘s main rivals for Wayne Rooney’s signature in 2004, and the two clubs have been linked in various ways since well before Ashley’s time. Indeed, their battle for the Premier League title in 1996 remains one of the most exciting seasons of all-time even if the Manchester club did win out on that occasion.
And now, 14 years on, though Manchester United have grown in stature considerably, winning 18 major trophies in the process, they currently sit 7th in the league, having endured their most unsuccessful Premier League campaign in 24 years, and are in danger of losing their seat of eminence in the footballing sphere.
Today, David Moyes has fallen victim to the unforgiving machine of managerial tenancy, and with Alan Pardew’s position as Newcastle manager looking increasingly untenable, the club having lost their last five Premier League games, I think Moyes would be an ideal fit for the Tyneside club.
Pardew currently has the lowest win percentage out of any manager in the history of the club (or as far back as Wikipedia tracks, anyway). That says it all.
His tactical nous is, in my opinion, the worst of all managers in the league – even the intensely dull stratagems of Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes are proving more successful that Pardew’s this season.
His stubborn refusal to deviate from his instantly-recognisable 90s-esque long-ball style has been the source of Newcastle’s downfall, and he seems to completely disregard the seemingly obvious positional strengths of our players who, under the right direction, would definitely warrant a top 8 finish.
The angry protests permeating the Newcastle blogosphere right now should not be branded as another example of impatience or heightened estimations of grandeur from Newcastle fans, as was recently remarked by the bothersome Michael Owen: the grievances are very much justified, and there is a desperate need for change: this is where Moyes steps in.
First, Moyes’ style of play would very much suit the players Newcastle have on their books. Yohan Cabaye may now be gone, but in Moussa Sissoko, Vernon Anita and Cheick Tiote, the Scot would have the kind of athletic and technical players he loves to coach.
Newcastle’s squad is also packed with physically powerful players who can easily go for a more blunt, direct style of play when required. Many of their best results this season have actually come from hitting opponents hard rather than out-playing them, such as the win over Chelsea in November.
While managing Everton, Moyes helmed the team to nine top 10 finishes and five top 6 finishes in the eleven years he was there. Furthermore, European qualification was achieved four times in five seasons between 2004 and 2009. And all of this was attained on a shoe-string budget.
Though managerial involvement in transfer dealings has declined, Moyes has developed a reputation for scouting intuition, and had been solely accredited for many of Everton’s successful acquisitions over the years. The recent purchases of John Stones, Steve Pienaar and Bryan Oviedo have all proved major successes, having been brought to the club for relatively small fees.
Added to that, Mirallas, Coleman and Baines, as well as club captain Phil Jagielka, senior defender Sylvain Distin and Darron Gibson, all provide a testament to the eye for talent that Moyes evidently has. Hand him the keys to the Magpies transfer kitty and the expertise of Graham Carr and great things could happen at St James.
It is very easy to overplay Newcastle’s stature within English football: the side no longer commands the respect that it boasted in the 90s, as many fans like to maintain, nor can it realistically, right now at least, stake a claim as England’s ‘fifth’ biggest club as it has often been self-branded. Unfortunately, whilst Mike Ashley is still in charge of the club’s running, Newcastle are a long way off that.
Nevertheless, with its irrepressible fan-base, and its longstanding history, it does deserve better. And if the club hopes to restore some much-needed stability, a managerial change is a necessity. David Moyes, therefore, most certainly could help Newcastle to become, once again, a force in English football.