BREAKING NEWS: Steve McClaren sacked as Newcastle United manager
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 11, 2016
McClaren leaves Magpies
Steve McClaren has been sacked as manager of Newcastle United following a run of three successive Premier League defeats.
A 3-1 reverse at St James’ Park by Bournemouth intensified pressure on former England and Middlesbrough boss McClaren, who won just seven of his 31 matches in charge of the Magpies across all competitions.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 11, 2016
That home loss left Newcastle a point from safety with an inferior goal difference of -25. Only rock bottom club Aston Villa possess a worse tally.
“We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players,” said an official club statement.
Relegation scrap goes on
Coral offer an odds-on price of 4/7 for the Toon to lose top-flight status and be relegated for the second time in Premier League history, but the Magpies are also 5/4 to stay up.
Widespread media reports claim ex-Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez is the preferred option to take over on Tyneside, with former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes the previous market leader to replace McClaren.
Other potential candidates based on the next Newcastle manager betting at this very early stage include former Newcastle caretaker Nigel Pearson and Tim Sherwood with both out of work.
McClaren was backed in successive transfer windows since being appointed by controversial Magpies owner Mike Ashley in the summer, with spending on player recruitment in excess of £80m for this season.
DR Congo defender Chancel Mbemba, Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and creative France player Florian Thauvin, now loaned back on old club Marseille, have been among the expensive under-performers purchased by the Toon.
Must-win games on horizon
Since coming from behind to beat Tottenham on December 13th, Newcastle have picked up just eight points from a possible 36. Their only wins of 2016 have come against West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion, both at home.
The Magpies face key relegation six-pointers either side of the Easter international break against bitter Wearside rivals Sunderland and then Norwich City. They then play fellow Premier League strugglers Swansea City and Crystal Palace at home during April.