Newcastle need a manager with a vision

By Ian Carroll @TLE_Sport

Alan Pardew is still Newcastle United manager.  He’ll be Newcastle United manager, at St James’ Park, again this weekend against Leicester City who are managed by ex-United caretaker Nigel Pearson.  Luckily for Alan, Mr Pearson tends to spend a lot of his time sat in the stand, getting a good view of the game and able to make rational calls.  This is something Alan said he’d do himself after he was banned for head-butting a footballer last season, but it doesn’t seem to have happened.  Anyway, I digress…

I listened to an interview with Dragan Stojkovic this week, and I was immediately struck by the difference between him and our current leader.  Dragan is everything Pardew isn’t; erudite, charming, fluent in English, pleasant, not at all sleazy.  In the interview, which was more an open job interview for anyone that would listen, Stojkovic set out a vision for the way his teams would play, a vision that would appeal to most fans, but most of all set out the importance of appealing to fans.  Why not give the people that pay (very) good money to come and watch your team some entertainment, something to enjoy, something to believe in.  It struck me as being everything that Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United isn’t.  It is, of course, easy to sound like a great manager when you’re sat in a studio in London, you’re mates with Arsene Wenger (Alan’s not) and you’ve got no job, but it was everything, everything, that Alan Pardew isn’t.

Stojkovic, of course, won’t ever manage Newcastle United, least of all under Mike Ashley.  But it made me think that this might be the answer.  The club, we’re often told, is going nowhere under Ashley, it’s just a vehicle for hawking that fine sportswear (for people that don’t play sport) retailer around the world.  At least until he can get his hands on the second team in Glasgow (sorry, Thistle). But that’s what Newcastle need.  A man with a vision, a man that won’t twist on about players being sold and not getting the players he wants (Darren Bent, for example – top choice, Alan).  A man that accepts that he’s not running the club in a top to bottom, Ferguson/Wenger-type way, but will have enough about him to galvanise the place and the players anyway.  Also, Stojkovic was one of the coolest players ever to play the game and he’d make watching NUFC fun again.  It’s been a while…

United will more than likely lose at home to Leicester.  Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson et al will more than likely turn up and go through the motions, while the man with the hefty contract will do likewise in the dugout.  A few people will hold up some A4 bits of paper, while others will shout nasty words at the owner.  Lots probably needs to change for the club to be a success in any sort of long term way, but having a manager with a vision, a plan and an acceptance of the limitations he’s working in, and making the best of it, realising he’s got a great job anyway,  would be a great start.

One last point, for any United fans thinking of protesting in some way or other on Saturday- Sir John Hall says this is neither the time, nor the place to be doing such.  Luckily, Sir John is a clueless, self-serving, Thatcher-loving parasite, so I doubt very much anyone will pay any attention to anything he says.

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