It’s been nearly five years since Huddersfield Town chairman Dean Hoyle dubbed then-employee Lee Clark a Newcastle manager in the making, describing the St. James’s post as the ‘holy grail’ of the retired midfielder’s managerial career.
The prodigal son’s path to Tyneside glory hasn’t quite been plain sailing however; two League One play-off finishes in four years with The Terriers followed by two campaigns of stagnated Championship survival at Birmingham City is hardly what you’d describe as a glowing resume of Premier League dugout quality.
But there have been some notable achievements along the way, particularly Clark setting the Football League’s unbeaten run record of 43 games during his Huddersfield stay. The Geordie boss also been praised for the success in which he’s transitioned a number of exciting academy products into the Birmingham first team whilst also struggling with the many financial restrictions at St. Andrews – the Blues are still feeling the fiscal hangover of their Premier League days.
Furthermore, the Newcastle fanbase like to keep it in the family, and Clark is well and truly one of them, having made over 200 league outings for the Magpies during two spells with the Tyneside club.
But lacking any Premier League experience whatsoever, would the former St. James’s favourite be able to have a paralleled positive effect as a manager?