Newcastle United fans’ disgruntlement with Mike Ashley is building towards an uneasy crescendo. His appointment of Steve McClaren was given a tepid reception and he’s only managed to produce lukewarm results.
After disliking former manager Alan Pardew, on the grounds he was part of the cockney clique, the idea of returning to London for one of their most famous managerial icons should sound unlikely. But Harry Redknapp provides a solution to their problems and they needn’t lose McClaren.
Pride comes before a fall, and unless someone lends Steve McClaren a hand, he’ll be out on his behind before Christmas. The current manager of Newcastle may feel he is too far into his career to consider a job share but he should take a moment to consider the bigger picture.
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His record on these shores comes under a cloud. A failed attempt as England manager always hangs over his every move. At FC Twente his side played good football – almost as impressive as McClaren’s Dutch accent – and they showed European pedigree. But the crossover to English success still eludes him.
His Derby County side were unlucky in the 2014 Championship play-off final and their form only fell away last year when he was repeatedly linked to the Newcastle job. However, that dismissal is another blot on his career. Being removed as Newcastle manager after such a short period of time would make the chance of him getting another decent job in England less likely.
There’s no point referring to his long undefeated run working as a coach in Alex Ferguson’s treble winning side – unless it’s an admission that’s his best role. That’s not to say he can’t ever be a good gaffer but the Newcastle job is a poisoned chalice – much like the England one is – and a manager whose reputation is in such a fragile state needs outside help.
Just like when Terry Venables went to Middlesbrough to assist Bryan Robson, the concept has merit here. That venture may have led to Robson’s eventual dismissal but he hasn’t gone on to prove he has the required credentials. McClaren on the other hand, has already experienced success as a solo manager and is well travelled.
But it’s clear he’s lacking in a key area and Harry Redknapp can provide excellent on-the-job training. Seen as the lovable cockney, he was the nation’s choice for England boss ahead of Roy Hodgson. It’s this personable nature that lends him to being a good man-manager, something McClaren – despite having tactical nous – consistently fails to impress on his players.
The positive and strong figurehead in the dressing room will focus the team, allowing Steve McClaren to do what he does as good as anyone in the country – coach.
Bringing in a character like Redknapp also gives Mike Ashley a respite. The attention he brings would divert the rumblings of discontent away from the owner.
That is until the January transfer window, when the fans will be demanding Ashley trusts Redknapp with his money. Along with Sky Sports spending deadline day following Harry out of car parks, and Niko Kranjcar waiting by the phone hoping to be reunited with his old boss one more time.