Farrington Hits The Nail On The Head!

Last updated : 03 June 2007 By Footy Mad - Editor
By Neil Farrington, The Sunday Sun
So Glenn Roeder was never the right man for Newcastle United, eh?
The knock knees, pigeon toes, painfully self-conscious manner, bank manager appearance and unnerving obsession with Shola Ameobi . . .
He just didn't fit, right?
Well, if you honestly believe the problems at St James's Park boil down to one wrong man, it's your look-out.
Me? I reckon that Newcastle United are wrong; that there won't be a Mr Right until the club itself changes.
And that change won't be brought about by one manager - even the walking contradiction that is Big Sam - or even one chairman.

All parties - board, team boss, backroom staff and even fans and Press - have a role to play in banishing the culture of complacency and delusion which has delivered Newcastle to this sorry pass.

Yet, amid the flak flying at the dug-out and the directors' box these last few weeks, those players have emerged all but unscathed.
Oh, and emerged very, very rich.

And I'm not necessarily talking about Michael Owen here, despite his obvious wish to get away.
I can appreciate Shepherd feeling fleeced if Owen does a bunk having played much less than one game a month for his £100,000-a-week wage.
But if Owen lets Newcastle down, Newcastle will have let him down a lot earlier.

As for most other players at United, whether they are youngsters who think they are better than they are, or veterans who think they are as good as they were, the net result is a team with ideas way, way, way above its station.

St James's has thus become little more than a launchpad for absurdly-inflated egos, young and old. Egos emboldened by United's over-forgiving fans.
That the likes of Titus Bramble and Kieron Dyer are still at St James's Park lends the lie to the ridiculous notion elsewhere in the country that those supporters are too demanding

On that front, Roeder was the wrong man with the right ideas.

The ideas that a club is best built from within; that youngsters found are a better bet than youngsters bought; and that players who are purchased are signed on form rather than on reputation.

Whoever replaces Roeder must pursue that course. But to do so, they must be given carte blanche powers by the board on transfer policy, an area where the lines of responsibility have appeared blurred in recent years.
Indeed, the time is long overdue for Newcastle's manager to keep his boss out of the headlines.
Sam Allardyce may be the man to achieve all that, having built a mini-empire at Bolton from bare ruins - and wielded absolute power while at it.

Given that Roeder struggled to pass for an authority figure in public, Roeder never stood a chance in the United dressing room.

Several things bother me about Allardyce, though his brand of football isn't really one of them.
Even if Bolton's Route One approach wasn't a case of horses for courses but a firm ideology, it was a success. And that's a commodity worth much more to Newcastle than their footballing traditions.

No, a greater concern is that Big Sam would arrive with a reputation still muddied by the insinuations made by Panorama's attempted "bung-busters" (and by his own son).
Another is that he cannot seem to keep his mouth shut on matters that don't involve him. Roeder's appointment at Newcastle, a case in point.
And as for United themselves, why - when they have finally given themselves time to cherry-pick a new manager - are they so keen to jump into bed with the first one available?

But the biggest worry is none of those, nor Allardyce's ability to realise United's ambitions.
It is his own ambition.
Has it escaped people's attention that the current England coach is on borrowed time - and escaped their memory that Big Sam would crawl on hands, knees and broken glass for the country's top job?

Yes, the Panorama affair may have turned the FA against him, but you can be sure Allardyce would still put himself up for the job of succeeding Steve McClaren.
And what good would that unedifying sight do the prospect of a total overhaul of Newcastle United?

For a total overhaul - not just a new manager - is what is needed.