Newcastle are attempting to ridiculously hire another director of football to help Championship-winning manager Chris Hughton ensure the Magpies survival in the Premiership.
The board believe that the club needs an established director of football to assist Chris Hughton in the transfer market and work as a go-between the manager and owner Mike Ashley. However after the last fiasco when Dennis Wise was appointed director of football only to be shown the door over a year later after mass protests from fans who dubbed Wise, along with owner Mike Ashley as the “cockney mafia” this move is ludicrous. Hughton has slowly built up Newcastle’s reputation again after being the laughing stock of the Premier League last season, and a year later the owner could be undoing all of that hard work.
Wise’s tenure as director of football was met with mockery as he apparently signed Ignacio Gonazlez to the club after watching some of his performances on YouTube. He also allowed James Milner to sign a contract with Aston Villa after Kevin Keegan had specifically deemed him ‘not for sale’. Wise’s behaviour is alleged to have been a major contributing factor in Keegan leaving the club. Also after he left the club it was revealed that he spent the last day of the 2009 season in Dubai celebrating his wife’s birthday on the same day that Newcastle were relegated from the Premiership.
The late Sir Bobby Robson even said about the former director of football: “My biggest disappointment was Dennis Wise, a director of football who was hardly seen at the ground, and who brought in players who were neither suitable, nor right, for Newcastle United. I forgive most people, but I am not sure I can forgive Wise for what he did to my club.”
The situation at Newcastle isn’t the first time either that a director of football has interfered with the manager’s running of the club. In 2008 when Gianluca Nani joined West Ham he was said to be undermining then manager Alan Curbishley after he apparently sanctioned the sales of Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney to Sunderland without Curbishley’s knowledge. Curbishley left West Ham that year and Gianluca Nani left this February.
The role of a director of football is a practice that is more commonly used in Europe, to allow the manager of a club to focus more on the day-to-day coaching. However there has arguably never been a successful director of football in England. Sir Alex Ferguson has never needed someone to be a link between himself and the board and you would imagine that he wouldn’t take too kindly to Manchester United appointing a director of football. Ferguson is a man that instantly commands respect and if he feels that his team needs strengthening then he will do himself, which that proves that as long as a manager is confident and mentally strong then a director of football is not needed in the game.