Will Steve McClaren survive the season at St. James Park?
Despite eventually giving a rather strong account of themselves last time out against Jose Mourinho’s struggling Chelsea outfit, Newcastle United and Steve McClaren have nonetheless begun the 2015/16 campaign in more than precarious style.
A meagre total of three points picked up after seven Premier League fixtures doesn’t bode well for the Magpies going forward. With the Capital One Cup also proving the cause of great frustration in and around St. James’ at the minute – thanks to the Tynesiders disappointing early exit to Sheffield Wednesday last month – Newcastle haven’t really improved a great deal since John Carver’s ill-fated spell in charge of the club last season.
So then, with the managerial merry-go-round seemingly still yet to get going among the English top-flight this term, will Steve McClaren ultimately survive the entire season at St. James’ Park?
At this stage in the proceedings, the early signs certainly don’t look too promising for the 54-year-old tactician. The former Middlesbrough boss may have succeeded somewhat at the Riverside and subsequently later on in his career within the Dutch Eredivsie – but ever since McClaren notoriously failed to qualify for Euro 2008 with England all those years back – his is a reputation that just hasn’t been fully rectified in this country as of yet.
It’s a notion that’s been spelled out a hundred times before of course, yet still one that remains fairly influential in the cold light of day. Even throughout the course of last season – a campaign in which Steve McClaren eventually ended up parting ways with Derby County after another frustrating term in the Championship – the former Three Lions head-coach was never once considered someone suitable for the Premier League.
That is seemingly where Newcastle United’s somewhat controversial, somewhat predictable chairman steps in however. Mike Ashley has become infamous for hiring his assets on the cheap, especially targeting those with a desperate desire to remain among the English top-flight. Similar comparisons can be drawn with Alan Pardew’s initial introduction at the club and the distinctly surprise nature of his appointment in the first place.
McClaren’s recent failure to deliver immediate success at St. James’ Park therefore isn’t entirely of his own making. The system in place behind the scenes on Tyneside remains just as questionable as it has ever been in the modern era – for if any Premier League club decides to splash out close to £50 million over the course of one single summer like Newcastle just have, why offer such a sizeable transfer kitty to a manager clearly not used to dealing with such a luxury?
The St. James’ faithful arguably won’t see the best out of some of their new signings this season, for the likes of Florian Thauvin and Aleksandar Mitrovic ultimately fail to represent the perfect combination of styles when paired with a manager like Steve McClaren. His reputation is now well and truly on the line once again, and so will the Magpies’ Premier League safety if something isn’t done to improve the situation.
Yet even with that in mind, the defensive options on offer at St. James’ Park also won’t provide the Tynesiders with enough strength in depth throughout the entire season. Any manager tasked with saving the Magpies this term would therefore struggle in such a trepidatious position, even someone vastly more experienced and successful than the club’s current main man in the dug-out.
So, whilst it remains difficult to imagine the current Newcastle United boss being sacked from his position at the cub less than ten league games into the campaign, McClaren surely has to go down as one of the clear favourites to face the axe this season. His team may well click all of a sudden and launch an impressive run in the league almost overnight – but even if those particularly rosy circumstances somehow come off for the Tynesiders in 2015/16 – Steve McClaren simply can’t ever be considered the out-in-out right man for the job.
Between his own struggling outfit and an equally calamitous Sunderland side also facing the threat of relegation this term, football in the North East certainly doesn’t seem to be heading in the right direction these days.
The odds for Steve McClaren to be the next Premier League manager to be sacked are 6/1 at William Hill.
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