Newcastle United’s New Head Coach: Steve McClaren


It appears as if Newcastle has decided on Steve McClaren to become the club’s next head coach. That’s right, I said it: coach, not manager.  Previously posted on this website was an article that detailed the importance of hiring a manager that would take control of the transfers and reshape the club top to bottom.  With the hiring of McClaren, it has become clear that the vision of hiring a progressive manager that could lead this club were in vain.  According to reports out of the BBC, Steve McClaren is set to be named the new head coach at Newcastle later this week when he returns from holiday.

McClaren has had a long coaching career that has taken its fair share of twists and turns.  He has been in charge of a number of prestigious squads without experiencing much recent success.  His most famous flop was the unthinkable failure of not qualifying for the English National team for the 2008 European Championships.  His last five years in the coaching profession have largely been a disappointment, most notably resigning after only ten league games in 2011 while at Nottingham Forest.

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McClaren’s resume is not all bad. Early in his career, he went on a very successful run with Middlesbrough.  During his time there, he won the club’s only major trophy and helped them qualify for Europe.  The other notable job that McClaren was able to succeed at was Twente in the Dutch Eredivisie.  During his time at this club, Twente was able to win the Eredivisie over the much stronger Ajax and PSV sides.

Newcastle fans should be very disappointed with this signing. McClaren seems to be a yes man who will go along with whatever management wants.  It is widely assumed that Patrick Vieira did not get the job based on wanting control over transfers, but this is an area that McClaren will likely give up control.

The fact that Newcastle is hiring a coach that was just fired from his job in the championship is also very telling about the direction of the club.  Management would rather hire a coach that is viewed as a safe commodity over an up-and-coming leader.  McClaren has coached big players and has a track record of moderate success, but his ceiling is rather low.  Over the last two years, McClaren has failed to gain promotion for a relatively strong Derby County side.  Newcastle fans want more than that.  They want someone who could take them to new heights, not a fired championship level coach.

The only redeeming factor from this hiring is that the backroom just might finally be united.  The past few managers, most notably Alan Pardew, had many dust-ups over the ridiculous transfer policy at the club.  McClaren knows the situation he is getting into and he won’t cause a problem for the backroom.  Hopefully, this new harmony will translate to the field and training pitch.  The club has had a difficult time with club chemistry and new harmony has the potential to rectify the problem.

Regardless of who the manager is, how the club performs on the field will largely come down to the players brought in this transfer window.  McClaren is capable of achieving some level of success if the players are available to him, just how much success remains to be seen.

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