Newcastle and Steve McClaren – A Marriage of Convenience

Newcastle United is being often termed as a big club, mainly because of its geographical location and because of the ground size and facilities that it has over the years. That was one of the prime reasons that led to Newcastle’s immediate revival in the Premier League, after being relegated in 2009 to the Football league Championship. Newcastle has a strong fan based, and their fans are highly connected with the club and show up every week in, week out to support the men in white and black.

Ever since their promotion back to the Premier League, the Magpies have remained relatively far away from the relegation zone, until the horrid run they had after Alan Pardew resigned back in January 2015. His resignation left Newcastle’s un-favorite owner Mike Ashely to make a tricky call, and he decided to gamble with the Assistant manager John Carver till the end of the season, with seemingly safe league position and a potential mid table finish.

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However, that gamble backfired and the Toons had to win the last match against West Ham to secure their run in the Premier league next season. John Carver managed to win only 3 of his 20 matches in charge that led to his dismissal as the Magpie boss. From the position of securing a position in the top half, under Carver, Newcastle became a serious potential candidate of going down, which put pressure on the owner Mike Ashley to take re-invest this season to make sure they won’t have to go through relegation battle again.

Former Derby boss Steve McClaren was tipped favorite to replace Pardew when he left the post in January 2015, and he finally was instated as the manager of the Toon Army after signing a three year contract with the Magpies last week. However, his arrival seems to be a marriage of convenience more than anything else, and the club supporter’s aren’t really optimistic about it.

The reason we called it a marriage of convenience for both is the fact that both, i.e. Newcastle and McClaren get something out of it, at the same time. For Newcastle, it’s a good deal as they finally got a manager who had experience of working at the top class level and that too in different countries. Had it been Derby who got promoted, Newcastle would have made a big deal out of his arrival, which they unfortunately couldn’t. Newcastle finally found a man who has an experience working abroad as well as working at home, even though all of that was not extremely successful. For McClaren, it’s his chance to salvage some pride after his horrid show with England, where England couldn’t qualify for the European Championship in 2008, which was the 1st time in 14 years.

But all of this won’t be easy, as both Newcastle and McClaren had a poor run at the back end of the last season, and it won’t be a piece of cake to turn it all around. Newcastle’s poor end to their season emphasize the importance of re-investment in their squad. They have some major reshuffling to do, and McClaren accepted that as well when he talked to the media in which he stated that “it is the right time to re-invest in the squad”.

Ideally, the Magpie’s need 4 -5 quality players in this squad, and with finances of £39 Million in the bank, it shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Newcastle would want to strengthen their attacking power with the addition of 1 or 2 quality strikers. Even though they have the likes of Cisse, who is always scoring goals, but had injury problems over the couple of last seasons. Reports suggest that the Toon Army is monitoring the situation of QPR’s highly rated striker Charlie Austin and West Brom sensation from the last season Saido Berahino.

Newcastle would want to seal the deals as soon as possible to avoid frustration later on, as they have already missed out on former Marseille striker Andre Ayew, who joined Swansea on a free transfer. Another addition they need is in the defense department, where they need to find 2 solid center backs, to replace Collocini and Ryan Williaon, both of whom who surely seems to past their best as they struggled in the later part of the season, where they failed to keep up with the pace of attack, and also left people unmarked in the 30 yard circle. If Magpie’s are to play their traditional 4-2-3-1 formation, they might also need to find a left footed player, ideally who can play on the right wing as Ben Arfa used to do in the past.

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Their midfield looked solid, with Sissoko and Colback, as well as their man between the sticks in Krul, who proved time and again that he is a top quality Goalkeeper. Daryl Janmaat who came in as a replacement for Arsenal bound Debuchy, had a decent season, but had a below par end to his campaign and he will surely want to improve this season around. Up front, Cabella is a quality player and Newcastle will be hoping that this season he will improve drastically, and will feel more settled at the club. Ayoze Perez, who was undoubtedly the finding of the last season, can play upfront or on the left wing with his pace, and Newcastle will be looking for the same or improved performance with a bit more consistency this season.

McClaren will not have an easy job in his first season, as he will look to win over the hearts of the Newcastle supporters, sooner than later. Ideally, McClaren and Newcastle will be looking for a top half finish in the league, and a better showing at the cup or ideally challenging for the Cup title, as this season will be all about making a statement.

For Newcastle as a club, a season like that would make a statement for the rest of the Clubs in the league that they are looking at a bigger piece of cake than what they are already getting. For Owner Mike Ashley, using available funds to sign quality players will make a statement to the club’s supporters, that he means business with Newcastle and that he wants to bring the glory days back to the Magpie’s. But it’s McClaren, who want to make a big statement by setting his eye on success at a club of the size of Newcastle, which will give him the belief that he once had, for being one of the most intelligent footballing brain in the country. If McClaren & CO. will be able to achieve the targets, it will surely going to be the base that the Toon’s will hope to build their future on in the season’s to come.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

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