UK & Ireland Football

Next Newcastle Manager: Wise money is on a continental manager

Football Food For Thought RSS / / 05 September 2008 / Leave a Comment

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"Knowledgeable" Nik Wardle talks us through the different candidates in line for the poisoned chalice that is the Newcastle job.

Kevin Keegan is no longer King Kev at Newcastle, after walking out on the club for the second time. His departure echoes that of Alan Curbishley at West Ham, where the manager was unhappy at not being wholly responsible for transfers. With Newcastle having a continental structure, established British managers are unlikely to want the job - with the possible exception of a candidate already at St James Park.

Apart from some ardent Newcastle supporters, few thought Keegan would have a successful return to Newcastle. What was fairly surprising, although not totally unpredictable, was Keegan leaving for off the field reasons. Appointing a Director of Football (or Executive Director, as Dennis Wise is officially called) to work with a recently appointed manager was always going to be a recipe for disaster - especially where the Director of Football had far less experience than the manager.

I'm sure some Newcastle fans will be calling for Alan Shearer ([9.4]) but I'm sure he won't be joining the club at this juncture. Shearer had a reputation as a player for liking to get his own way, so I'm certain he wouldn't want Dennis Wise and the rest of the Newcastle committee telling him who to buy.

Gus Poyet is the current favourite at [7.4]. Due to his partnership at Leeds and Swindon with Wise, he's an obvious link, but having never been a number one, Poyet would be a risky appointment. If he were to be appointed, it really would prove the influence of Wise at Newcastle. Wise himself is at [17.0]. There is a history of English ex-bosses joining a club as the Director of Football, and then taking over team affairs. Men like Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth and Graham Taylor at Aston Villa proved they preferred life in the dugout rather than the boardroom, and it wouldn't surprise me if Wise fancied a go himself.

David Moyes ([16.0]) and Steve Bruce ([18.5]) have been linked with the job in the past but, like Shearer or any well-known British manager, I'd be surprised if they wanted to work in a continental structure.

Of those currently available, Didier Deschamps ([10.5]) is likely to be interested, especially as he played with Wise at Chelsea. He's proved his managerial credentials by steering Monaco to the Champions League final in 2004 and achieved promotion with Juventus, after the club were relegated for match-fixing, before resigning. Michael Laudrup ([13.0]) and Roberto Mancini ([23.0]) have both been linked with the West Ham job too and I think both would make good appointments, if interested. Gerard Houillier ([29.0]) was reported to have ruled himself out of the running to replace Sam Allardyce, so is unlikely to be interested now.

Two men currently in jobs, Turkey coach, Fatih Terim ([11.0]) and Real Zaragoza Marcelino Toral ([16.0]) may have been more interested if the vacancy had come over the summer. Despite speculation he was to quit after Euro 2008, Terim remains Turkey's boss and Toral has only just taken over at Zaragoza after quitting Racing Santander over the summer, after leading them to UEFA Cup qualification.

Little, if any, noise has come from Newcastle about being in a rush to replace Keegan. In-part, this is due to the international break, but I have a sneaky suspicion that Wise may fancy a few games in charge. Their first fixture after the break is a winnable one at home to Hull and no matter how loyal fans are to a departing manager; they'll always like one who brings success.

Whoever ends up taking the job on permanently will have a tough task - not only will they have to deal with the Newcastle transfer committee but there's also the question mark about how much cash owner Mike Ashley will put forward for new players and also, there's the unrealistic ambitions of the Geordie faithful to placate.

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