Kenny Dalglish, a one time manager of Newcastle United, offered his opinion to the Sunday Mail about the situation at Newcastle this season. The issue is that in fact there isn’t a problem at Newcastle this season – but there should be, it’s Newcastle after all. There has been much said about Newcastle this season, enough to believe that they were sitting bottom of the table without a hope. In fact Newcastle have started the season in fine form. They taught Aston Villa a lesson in August, came from behind to beat West Ham and thrashed Sunderland on Sunday. For a club that has just been promoted, most fans surely would be happy with the start so far.
The media have brought about this saga about Newcastle this season. The problem is the media love the story of a club. With Blackpool they are the underdogs, the no hoper’s if you will. If they get a couple of points the media patronises the club with language along the lines of, ‘well done’ and ‘not going without a fight.’ Newcastle however are different. Their media story is turmoil. Newcastle United, before relegation were a club in turmoil – most fans would have to accept. As for today, the club has been stabilised by a good young English manager, Joey Barton is looking the player he was when he was called up for England and it looks as though England may have found a striker for the future in Andy Carroll.
So to what Kenny Dalglish was speaking about. First of all the managerial situation at Newcastle. Dalglish has argued that the board have put Chris Hughton’s future in limbo by not offering him an improved longer term deal. Too many times Newcastle United have offered long term deals to managers and less than a year or so later they have been fired, costing the club millions in pounds. Is it such a bad idea to put a manager on a shorter term deal and analyse situations more frequently. With shorter deals, the pressure is on the manager without a doubt but if he is thriving under it, like Chris Hughton appears to be, why change? The problem does come if Newcastle were to loose five or six games on the bounce – the manager would be under intense pressure. That is the reality of Premier League football for every club in the division, not just Newcastle.
As well as the managerial situation, Kenny Dalglish talked of the lack of funds that Chris Hughton has been given to keep the team in the Premier League. Dalglish argued, ‘At any other club, Hughton would be given a big pay hike, the stability of a long-term contract and maybe a quid or two to spend on new players to help Newcastle preserve their status in the Premier League.’ It doesn’t seem credible that Mike Ashley would be holding funds from Hughton because of a lack of trust. If that was the case Hughton would have been fired a long time ago. The issue of money arises because of the past. Newcastle have spent big in the past on Alan Shearer, Faustino Asprilla, David Ginola and Michael Owen.
The expectation was Newcastle would have to repeat this to stay in the division. Newcastle do not have the investment at the present time to be splashing cash on players. The job Hughton has done has been remarkable in this sense. He has an ability to get the best out of his players. Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Fabricio Coloccini have all thrived under Hughton. When you have a manager that offers these skills, spending money on big players isn’t the be and end all. Sure Newcastle fans would love to see big name players gracing St James’ Park again, but its the sign of the times – things are changing financially in football.
Kenny Dalglish’s worries over Newcastle United are in the main unfounded. The start to the season has been solid- however their home form could be better. Is there really that much uncertainty around St James’ Park. If there is, the manager and players have done a fantastic job in putting football first this season.
Newcastle showed on Sunday what they are all about. They have a young team mixed with a fair amount of experience. The squad is together, the manager is respected and the club is stabilising slowly. It is still too early to say where Newcastle will end up this season. That is the nature of the Premier League. However, at the start of November, would many Newcastle fans truly believe they would have just thrashed Sunderland 5-1 and be sitting in seventh position. Without a doubt it would be fantastic to see Chris Hughton be offered a new long term deal while the atmosphere at Newcastle is so positive. Very few mangers would be more deserving of such a deal. The media should be more positive about Newcastle and the job both the players and management are doing.
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