Dave Posted April 29, 2009 Share Posted April 29, 2009 A long article that has been posted elsewhere but it's well worth a read and its own thread. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1174544/MARTIN-SAMUEL-Forget-quick-fix--Shearers-duty-build-new-Newcastle.html Forget the quick fix... Shearer's duty is to build a new Newcastle Last updated at 12:41 AM on 29th April 2009 There is only one man who can save Newcastle United now: Alan Shearer. Not this season, maybe. Indeed, it appears increasingly unlikely that Newcastle’s fortunes would have changed short term whoever was in charge. Yet Shearer’s continuance beyond this season grows more vital as Newcastle edge nearer to the fall. No matter what happens now, it is plain that the club need to be completely rebuilt over the summer and Shearer is the only game in town. He will inherit a ridiculously bloated squad of ineffectual players and an executive out of their depth, yet getting him on board is the closest Mike Ashley, Newcastle’s owner, has come to a credible move all season. And not because Shearer has made a success of the job, either. Simply, Shearer affords Ashley respect because, in him, Newcastle have a popular manager with a bond to the local community (this relationship is all Newcastle have left right now) and a manner which suggests, given a chance, he has a concept of what the club should be and how they should play. He is also right for the job because as the last local hero left standing following the departure of Kevin Keegan, if he remains, Ashley will have to leave him to get on with reconstruction unhindered. No executive director, brackets football, no bizarre foreign scouts. That Newcastle might finally take shape as the vision of one man gives the club more of a chance under Shearer than they have under anybody. Now fingers crossed that he knows what he is doing. Having failed to make the instant impact hoped, with each match Shearer’s chances of leading a famous revival grow slimmer. Inspired by a home crowd and the urgency of their predicament, Newcastle should have beaten inconsistent Portsmouth on Monday night yet failed to score. The fat lady has not sung, but a principal bass from the English National Opera company has and even his rendition of Blaydon Races failed to raise spirits or performances on Tyneside. Newcastle now go to Liverpool hoping for a random victory, while fearing that Sunderland could have the beating of an Everton side with one eye on the FA Cup final — particularly after Phil Jagielka’s unfortunate injury — and mindful that Hull City play Aston Villa, who have not won in 12 games since defeating Blackburn Rovers on February 7. All at St James’ Park are pinning their hopes on the visit of Middlesbrough on May 11 but it could be too late. Shearer will fight to the last, as he must, and will dismiss all speculation about his future beyond the trip to Villa on the final day. It was widely believed that he would stay if he kept the club up, but it is equally imperative that he remains if the worst happens. It is a strangely contrary position: there is no evidence from his four games in charge that Shearer is the man for the job, and yet without him Newcastle are nothing. The jury is out on Shearer, Newcastle supporters have seen more formations than the crowd at the Farnborough Air Show, but minus the spectacle. Michael Owen plays everywhere bar the opposition penalty area and the more strikers thrown into the action the less Newcastle look like scoring. The idea that Shearer had cleverly engineered a win-win situation by taking over the club at such a crucial stage of the season — a hero if he keeps them up, blameless if they go down — looks overly cynical. Clearly, Shearer has a lot to lose if he fails to make any impression on Newcastle’s form. Already there has been criticism of his tactics and questions surround his ability to motivate a squad of players who do not share his love for the club. His new life contrasts sharply with the cosiness of the BBC sofa. It is not an easy ride. If Shearer takes Newcastle down, while he will not be loudly condemned his reputation will not be unscathed. He will be recalled as the false Messiah: the miracle worker who turned water into H2O. In this aspect, Shearer has a duty to stay. Not to salvage his pride but because he has been allowed to drive so many changes at the club, from the coincidentally timed departure of Dennis Wise to the removal of senior coaching and medical staff. To then walk away after relegation and just two months in charge would equate to vandalism. True, Newcastle were already a failing club, but it was to be hoped that Shearer would introduce a tangible structure, something on which success could be built. This is why if Shearer has to start from the Championship, perhaps it is for the best, long term. As dreaded as this fate may seem (‘in the Coca/Coca-Cola/ you will play Doncaster Rovers’, is the current favourite among Sunderland fans, sung to the tune of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, as brilliant as it is spiteful), it is perhaps a necessary price to remind those in charge what a dismal state Newcastle are in and why one man’s clear, unfettered plan is needed to revive them. As hard-nosed as this may seem it would be a first mistake if that fresh start was to include caretaker manager Joe Kinnear, unless at Shearer’s request. It would not be fair to Kinnear, or the club, to go through the uncertainty and anguish of his heart illness again and the mooted offer of a permanent contract has to be discreetly withdrawn. If Shearer has a berth for Kinnear on his staff then good, but it would be another recipe for disaster — and Newcastle must have enough for a book of them by now, with notes on accompanying wines and recommended stockists — if Kinnear were to be inserted into a new manager’s regime. When Shearer took over, he was utterly respectful of Kinnear’s brief service with the club, while tellingly admitting that he had not yet spoken to him or sought advice. Shearer has his own backroom staff and is not in need of a specious director of football. He is the future of Newcastle in a way Kinnear can never be and, if that sounds brutal, then it is merely a reflection of Newcastle’s predicament. There is a way of treating Kinnear decently and with dignity that does not involve foisting him on a reluctant rookie as a misguided act of charity. That is the skilful path the club must negotiate. The seriousness of Newcastle’s plight can hardly be overestimated. They do not have the same crippling debt as Leeds United, but they have a comparable gathering of expensive players, whose wages cannot be sustained beyond the Premier League. If relegated — and to a lesser extent even if not — it will be Shearer’s task to conduct a savage cull and produce a leaner, more manageable squad, built on players who can earn promotion from the Championship at the first attempt, and stay in the Premier League, before kicking on and upwards. There has to be a five-year plan if Newcastle are to create a club of substance from the wreckage of this season. It has been claimed that Keegan, the former manager, had daft extravagant ideas about transfer targets that were in no way compatible with Ashley’s planned expenditure; certainly Ashley had an ill-conceived football executive structure built on cronyism that alienated the manager and precipitated this crisis. What is required is a pragmatic middle ground. A realistic manager and an owner who has learned the hard way and allows him to do his job. Newcastle would be the biggest club to fall out of the Premier League for football reasons (the relegation of Leeds was largely due to financial collapse), but the rot set in long ago. The club stopped attracting the best players from a fertile locality — the better ones were going to Middlesbrough — because the academy system was poor and the team were increasingly stuffed with over-rated cast-offs and imports. Newcastle aspired to be a big club and to play the transfer market, but their significance on Tyneside gave a false impression of their status in Europe and beyond. Newcastle could only buy the players the big four did not want and as they fell further behind they were outwitted by mediocre rivals, too. Gradually, the pool of talent diminished until they were left with the current squad, a mismatched collection gathered through many regimes for many purposes. There are 40 players at Newcastle and one left back, who is now injured. There are 11 strikers totalling 165 international appearances, yet Newcastle have won fewer games than any Premier League team this season. They are the product of a decade spent without a coherent policy, without consistency of thought, without a clear way forward, without direction, without care. They need a man who can provide for them, a manager who is empowered and who will be unencumbered by the type of amateur advice and assistance that have dragged this club down for too long. They need Shearer, even in the Championship, because without him the road may power straight through Doncaster on to places even Newcastle’s worst enemies could not imagine. :clap: Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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