Newcastle considering McClaren and Vieira underlines missing link
And so the neverending drama of Newcastle United rolls on. Barely kept in the Premier Legaue by one of the Toon Army’s own in John Carver, the Magpies are set to make a third approach for former Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren, according to press reports this weekend.
Sacked by Derby County following an end of season collapse in the Championship, what kind of message does that send out from owner Mike Ashley? McClaren nonetheless remains a 5/4 chance with Coral to take up the St James’ Park hotseat next.
Are Newcastle turning to a man whose Pride Park tenure ended up being a so nearly story? In English football, McClaren’s best days were almost a decade ago now when every Toon Army member looks enviously to Teesside, as he steered Boro to a League Cup crown and subsequently on a run that culminated in the old UEFA Cup final.
Since being branded ‘the wally with the brolly’ by the British tabloids, McClaren simply cannot seem to catch a break. Vilified in some quarters for that ill-fated spell in charge of England, which on reflection probably came too soon in his career, he will once again have to prove his coaching credentials if handed the Magpies job.
But there may not be a return of the Mac to the Northeast. There are also reports that Manchester City elite development coach (a polite way of saying you’re in charge of the reserves) and Arsenal playing legend Patrick Vieira will hold talks about taking on the Tyneside team.
Talk about left-field. Vieira is odds-on 4/5 favourite to be next Newcastle manager and launch his coaching career properly, but that the St James’ Park hierarchy are even entertaining this as an option speaks volumes.
In many ways this potential move is worse than appointing an old boss from a local rival like McClaren. Former Gunners skipper Vieira was an icon of Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles era.
The Toon Army derided previous permanent boss Alan Pardew as a ‘Cockney villain’. Having spent almost a decade at Arsenal, Vieria could be demonised as something similar but with a French accent.
Ashley and company really couldn’t be any more disconnected from the Magpies’ fanbase if they tried. That being said, however, the French connection on Tyneside has been well-documented.
Vieira played and bossed the midfield in one of Newcastle’s two agonising FA Cup final losses in the late 90’s, though, when Arsenal beat Kenny Dalglish’s side in 1998. Just like McClaren and the jealousy Toon Army members felt at his Middlesbrough success, fans will find conveniently long memories to remind each other of that too.
Coral betting tip: We wouldn’t put anything past Ashley, so it’s worth sticking a cheeky pound on Vieira being next Newcastle boss.