Was Big Sam the man?
Talking of off-field victories, the news about Al Bangura is fantastic and at last common sense has prevailed. I`m not one for politics, but I`m amazed in the first instance, Al was denied asylum.
This week I want to write about a man who hasn`t had such a good week, Sam Allardyce.
Opinion is divided on whether or not Sam should have been sacked or not. Personally, I don`t think so. I can both sides of the argument, but ultimately, you cannot expect immediate success after such a long period of failure.
Sacking a manager in January is ridiculous in itself, they at least need to be given the chance to add to their squad, then if things do not improve sack them and prepare for next season by consolidating.
When you also consider that Sam had only been at Newcastle since the beginning of the season, it makes it more ludicrous, surely a manager of his calibre, with his pedigree and experience should have been given a longer crack of the whip. Afterall, lesser-respected men have been given longer to turn the Geordie club around.
Allardyce has been given money by the new owners and now surely they have to give him time so that the signings he has made can settle in and begin to make an impact? Obviously not in their books as the rest is history.
The greatest examples have to be Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wengar, of course everyone has brought those two names up when you think of managers who are given time, look what they have done with their respective clubs, no wonder why.
If Newcastle are ever to achieve they need to stick with a manager who they believe in from the start - there are now stories circulating that Mort and Ashley didn`t believe he was the right man for the job anyway! [I always thought they`d appointed him themselves anyway?]
However, on the flip side, there have been a few reasons why the owners were probably right to remove Sam from his position.
The signings blew hot and cold, or just didn`t get much of a chance under Sam, one of those men is Jose Enrique, a highly-rated left back who couldn`t take the number three shirt off of left winger, Charles N`Zogbia.
With the Toon`s history of dodgy centre halves, Claudio Cacapa fits into the exclusive club, but joking aside, he is evidently not good enough, no real surprise that Lyon were prepared to let their former captain go.
The rest of the backline hasn`t looked too suspect, but the thrashing they took at Manchester United suggests otherwise, irrespective of how many goal-line clearances they made.
With N`Zogbia out of position, Newcastle have had a lack of width down the left and the 4-3-3 hasn`t really worked, at Bolton Sam had less technically gifted players, at St James` however, he has some excellent players, all of whom are capable of keeping the ball on the floor. And, when you look at the strikers, Martins and Owen, both are likely to want the service to be to feet.
Alan Smith is another man playing out of position. I believe it was Sir Alex Ferguson who attempted to turn Smith into a holding midfielder, but it is a waste of his talents. He might not be a twenty goal a season man, but he works hard, harries and does score too.
So really, with Big Sam gone, the burning question now is who will take over the job. Harry Redknapp was obviously approached in F.A fashion, but has rejected the job, which I`m surprised about, he legend status at Pompey is confirmed, now would be the time to try out a real big job. Imagine the hero he would be hailed as if he could drag Newcastle to a cup final or the Champions League.
Shearer and Keegan are being touted as the dream partnership, and I couldn`t agree more. With Shearer as an assistant to Keegan, he would be moulded perfectly for when Keegan had had enough of the job. This would also prevent the complication of having a manager undermined by Shearer because Keegan would not want the job forever at his age.
I`ve often said I`d like to be a manager, but not of Newcastle United!
Keep the faith,