With Newcastle officially kicking Glen Roeder to the curb, Sam Allardyce seems to be the man to step unto the breach and save one of the Premiership’s big under-performers. The ex-Bolton boss is following Alan Curbishley in moving from a small club, where they served for bloody ages and enjoyed great success relative to their resources, to a relatively Big Club with bigger expectations, bigger budgets and bigger players with bigger egos. But as Curbs is discovering, the step up can be treacherous and the expectations unreasonable, so it’ll be interesting to see how a Big Sam does.
That said, we’ve heard murmurs from Newcastle fans that they either don’t want Sam Allardyce or think it won’t matter one iota as long as Freddy Shepard in charge. These are two complaints that we’ll need a little bit of help understanding.
Allardyce is one of the most progressive managers around, if there’s a way to gain an edge over your opponents through technology, tactics, training or type of halftime orange then you can bet he’ll put it into practice. Newcastle have so many things wrong from top to bottom, that a manager who can improve the club in all areas will be quite handy. Yes, Bolton played a sort of “long ball” but they also played great football at times. Allardyce was simply using tactics that got the best out of the players available to him, and he won’t be asking Michael Owen to play the “Kevin Davies” role just because he likes hoofing it.
The Freddy Shepard business is a bit more confusing. If the criticism was that he hires the wrong managers, then we could understand. But we’ve been hearing from Geordie fans that it won’t matter who the manager is as long as the current board is in charge, which we don’t really get. Freddy Shepard is a very unpleasant man, but has he appointed poor coaches? Failed to spend on the training ground? We have no idea.
Newcastle have spent shedloads of money on players, bringing in Michael Owen, Damien Duff, Jonathan Woodgate, Albert Luque, Scott Parker and Obafemi Martins for massive amounts of money in recent years, so if it’s not the spending and it’s not the appointment of managers – what is the big problem with Freddy Shepard? Is he forcing crap players onto the manager (they seem a decent bunch to us). As far as we can tell Freddy has signed a much better squad than their league position suggests, which would mean the manager’s have just been crap. But if fans are saying the manager isn’t the problem, then we’re at a loss.
We’ll never know the ins and outs of Newcastle as well as the fans, so we’d appreciate a little insight.