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I thought this was a canny read, from todays Journal


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The lame duck brought down by the players he protected

May 8 2007

By Paul Gilder, The Journal

Given that resignation has been a central theme at St James's Park this season, the manner in which Glenn Roeder's reign came to an end was fitting. Chief Sports Writer Paul Gilder reports.


On Strawberry Place, just across the road from the glass-fronted facade of Shearer's Bar, stands an imposing advertising hoarding promoting Newcastle United's recently-released home strip.


Pictured are Peter Beardsley and John Beresford. The accompanying slogan reads, `Buy the shirt. Live the dream'. Yet for Glenn Roeder, the Gallowgate dream has died. For Glenn Roeder, there can now be nothing but nightmares.


Nightmares about the fraught board meeting to which he was summoned at the weekend. Nightmares about the resignation that was offered and accepted. Nightmares about a short-lived reign that has lurched from one disaster to the next. Nightmares about those who remain at St James's Park, those just as culpable for the club's present plight as he, in some cases, perhaps even more so. The soundtrack will be booing and the stand-out line `Taxi for Roeder'. The 51-year-old's departure was confirmed yesterday morning, although he did not need a cab to take him home.


No longer Newcastle's manager, Roeder left maintaining a dignified silence. Words were not needed. His permanent tenure had lasted less than a season. Such statistics speak for themselves. What else needs to be said?


Roeder's short spell ended as it had begun, with a contradiction that typifies his ill-fated association with the club's first-team squad. He had spent much time this term insisting he was not a quitter, yet in the end he resigned his post. It brought to mind his first morning as the club's caretaker-boss when Roeder was adamant he could not be tempted into lodging an application for the permanent position. His stance soon changed.


It became a familiar characteristic. This was a man who could talk for countless hours about his time at West Ham, about his spell on England's coaching staff and about the brain tumour he suffered in 2003, and then insist with straight face, "Living in the past is for sad people."


This was a man steadfast in his assertion that James Milner was pivotal to his plans prior to agreeing to let a player confused at such mixed messages open transfer talks with Aston Villa, a man adamant he would not use injuries as an excuse before doing just that on a regular basis and a man who claimed that he would never criticise his own players, only to be forthright in his censure at the relevant times.


In his defence, in regard to the last point at least, his were players who did not deserve protection. His were players who deserved all the criticism aimed in their direction. What will those players feel this morning when they return to the club's training ground? Roeder's office will be empty, his desk cleared. Freddie Shepherd has a reputation as a ruthless executioner. But the role footballers have in separating managers from their posts must not be overlooked.


In recent weeks, Newcastle have played like a side hoping their efforts, or what passed for them, would get Roeder the sack. In the end he walked before he was pushed. But consciences cannot be clear. Perhaps Roeder could not motivate his players but it is a damning indictment that neither could the players motivate themselves. These are professional footballers after all. Whatever his faults, Roeder has been let down. He has paid with his job, a job he must wish he had never taken in the first place.


It was so different at the start. Having taken over from Graeme Souness on a short-term basis 15 months ago, Roeder steered his relegation-threatened team up the Premiership table and into Europe, an achievement that should be neither underestimated nor overlooked. The football was flowing, the spirits high, the change in mood refreshing. It was at that point that Roeder made his first mistake.


It was then he should have returned to working with the club's young players. It was a job he was good at. It was a job to which he cannot return following this.


That Roeder became intoxicated on the success he experienced was understandable, but things had changed. Caretaker managers often experience short-term success, so relieved are players to be rid a failing regime. Sustaining it in the long-term is a different matter and as he discovered, it could not be done. Just 33 of his 73 matches were won and Newcastle trail Manchester United by a staggering 46 points going into the season's final weekend. For the sixth time in 10 years, United have no manager. The latest incumbent - some would say victim - is treading a well-worn path.


Roeder is a nice man, a decent man. But nice, decent men do not always make good managerial material. Nice does not sit easily with success and, although he had the abilities to get tough when needed, his players lacked respect, or so their performances have indicated.


There were other mistakes; errors in recruitment, blunders with tactics. Although Damien Duff's £5m signing seemed a good one, the Irishman has never lived up to his reputation and his arrival served to unsettle Charles N'Zogbia - who started the season amongst the club's most important players but who will end it amongst the club's most problematic.


Attempting to defend a fragile lead at AZ Alkmaar was another mistake that will haunt. From the moment Newcastle's Uefa Cup campaign capitulated in Holland, Roeder appeared a lame duck manager, a dead man walking. His players finished him off. As the damage continued to mount, he could not hope to recover.


Since that fateful night in the Netherlands, Newcastle have won just once. Following another debacle against Blackburn at St James's Park, Roeder's departure was inevitable. It was expected to wait until the season's end. Yet so bad had things become, it could not wait.


With Sunderland back in the Premiership and threatening to make waves, with Sam Allardyce having become unexpectedly available, and with the players having stopped trying to mask their true feelings towards him, events overtook Roeder. With the dressing room lost and hostilities growing, his position had become untenable.


Asked about the mounting speculation in relation to his future at Reading last week, Roeder fixed his inquisitor with a firm stare and declared himself untroubled. He neither looked convinced nor sounded convincing. Within six days he had gone.


Perhaps the saddest aspect is that the last 12 troubled months will colour all Roeder has achieved in the past at St James's Park. His popularity as a player, a Gallowgate captain famed for his extravagant shuffle, his exploits in the dugout during last season's stirring final weeks, all will be forgotten, all rendered irrelevant.


That is the nightmare for Roeder, a man desperate to prove wrong those who did not believe him to be cut out for such a role. In questioning his credentials in regard to last summer's Pro-Licence debate, the League Managers' Association surmised that this was a man not qualified for Premiership management. It is unfortunate, but they were correct.






1955: Born December 13 in Woodford, Essex.


1974: Signed for Leyton Orient. He made 115 appearances, scoring four goals.


1978: Moved to QPR, playing 157 times for the Loftus Road club, with 17 goals.


1984: Moved to Newcastle where he later became mentor to Paul Gascoigne. Made 193 appearances, scoring eight times.


1989: Joined Watford, playing 78 times and scoring two goals in two seasons.


1992: Became a Gillingham player, making eight appearances. Later appointed manager.


1993: Sacked by the Gills after losing 22 of 35 games in charge. But was that year appointed manager of Watford.


1996: Shown the exit at Vicarage Road.


1997: Appointed assistant to Chris Waddle at Burnley. Left in 1998 when Waddle quit.


1999: Appointed coach of West Ham.


2001: Took temporary charge of the Hammers for the last game of the season after Harry Redknapp's departure. Roeder is offered the job in the summer and then next season they finish seventh in the Premiership.


2003: Roeder has neuro-surgery on a brain tumour. West Ham are relegated under caretaker manager Trevor Brooking.


Hammers lose 1-0 at Rotherham to begin life in the Championship and club announce Roeder is being released from his contract.


2005: Appointed Newcastle Academy boss.


2006: Takes over as temporary first-team manager after the sacking of Graeme Souness. The Premier League give Roeder dispensation to remain in charge until the end of the season


2007: After a string of poor results, Roeder resigns as Newcastle manager.




A view from the stands


PG Wodehouse famously wrote that, "It's never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance, and a ray of sunshine." Well, substitute 'Scotsman' with 'Newcastle supporter' and you have the mood on Tyneside - despite the sacking of Glenn Roeder.


This season two statements have summed up the arrogance and lack of understanding towards supporters. After an appalling home defeat to Manchester City, James Milner said, "We understand supporters' frustrations but we have to put it down to one of those things, and move on." Oh really!


Well, you just continue pitch-forking your wages into a large wheelbarrow and we'll say no more about it, eh?


Secondly, the chairman announces after that game grandiose plans to build a new hotel and stick another 8,000 seats into St James's Park. Ye Gods.


This has been a wretched season, a flukey mid-table finish and exits in the three cups to the first decent opposition we met.


The squad was weak. A few bob of the Michael Owen insurance money was spent on Obafemi Martins and the aptly named Damien Duff, Giuseppe Rossi was signed on loan against `stiff opposition' and yet Roeder continued playing a barely 25% fit Shola Ameobi.


We also brought in left-back Olivier Bernard for a free operation and paid him to recuperate as well, smart business. Antoine Sibierski arrived and scored against the lesser opposition but he will never play in a top six team, will he? Why did the January transfer window pass with only a dodgy American from Belgium (one Oguchi Onyewu) as an addition? We were promised more.


In the 10-year tenure of Freddie Shepherd, we've slipped from regular qualification in the Champions League to no Europe at all. This is about responsibility, not fault. If he has a shred of honour he should resign.


There are plus points. Martins; the emergence of good youngsters in the first team like Steven Taylor; the attitude, desire and no little skill of the academy lads who came in under difficult circumstances; Owen fit again.


This managerial appointment is crucial. Allardyce would appear to have the choice between us and Manchester City. My choice would be `Big Phil' Scolari. Please, God, not Steve Bruce!


Sunderland have gone from a shambles to respectable outfit in less than a year, all with a progressive chairman and the correct managerial appointment. So, Freddie, get this one right or my closing quote becomes appropriate.


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again...then quit, it's no good being a fool about it" - WC Fields.



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Guest Darth Toon

If the "journalists" at the local rags were so aware of this mass of contradictions, then why wasn't any of this being pointed out while the man was still in charge??


Puppets, the lot of them.  :tickedoff:

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Good read. Considering the blame he puts on the players: apart from Butt, Milner, Given and Owen, do we really have good players with professional attitudes? It seems to me like both Bobby Robson's and Roeder's reign coincided with Kieron Dyer intentionally under-performing.

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