YET again this season Manchester United met an opposition just after they had seen fit to rid themselves of a manager. Previously, Jose Mourinho departed Chelsea before his team came to Old Trafford, and now we met Newcastle United without Sam Allardyce. Newcastle United fans have requested that fans of other clubs keep themselves to themselves and leave the opinions on the St James’ Park club, to those who know them best – the fans. They believe that Newcastle United are a special breed, a team apart and that during bad times they can be left alone to lick their wounds.
I don’t remember such ‘leave us to it’ reactions during the mid nineties when they were apparently Sky Sports’ favourite team and they were gunning for the title. They wanted all the attention then. Everyone else has an opinion on the Newcastle debate and I will leave it alone once I have made three points. Sam Allardyce seemed to get the job at St James Park for working on a shoe string at Bolton, but also working out what the team’s strengths were and playing to those. It is perhaps then a little naïve to think that with a supposedly bigger club, he would change his ideas on how to play. Eventually Newcastle seemed to fight for free kicks and lump the ball from back to front. It was this display at Bolton that got him the Newcastle United job and it was the fear of this happening to the Toon army that meant he was never a fan favourite, apart from the opening day when they loved him.
Newcastle United fans seem to be the most deluded ones in the league. They believe that simply because they haven’t had success or won trophies since the abacus was the hip new must-have product, that they deserve it. They do not. By that reckoning Bury FC deserves to win the European Cup this season. They believe they are special because even though they constantly disappoint their ever so demanding fans, fifty thousand of them turn up every week to see the poor show. THAT is loyalty, I will give them that. The fact that they are in essence a one club city has nothing to do with it, obviously. As a side note it is worth remembering that the year United were in the second tier, Old Trafford saw the league’s highest attendances of the season. Newcastle United did not write the book on still supporting a football team during dark days.
Finally, Alan Shearer is a clever man. It is very unlikely he will come anywhere near the manager’s job at the current time because I suspect he knows the task of steadying the ship is beyond him. Without experience, it is. Even those with experience are not dying to take the job. If Alan Shearer took it now and failed he would be yet another legend that returns to his old stomping ground, flatters to deceive and leaves the team and his reputation with the fans in a bad state. If Alan Shearer really thinks about it, the best time for him to ride in on a white horse and save the day would be following the Geordies’ relegation. Then the Shearer day can truly dawn! If Newcastle stop thinking that they are any kind of sleeping giant, they may have a chance. They are a small club with high expectations that they have no real right to possess. If they accept that they are in trouble and need a manager who is good at that style of management, rather than the big name they demand then they can start to turn the corner. Unfortunately for them, they came to Old Trafford to underline the latest dark period in their history.
Today’s result can see them end that chapter and move on.