With the Leicester match press conferences looking, McClaren is still the man ostensibly in charge. The scenario has been painted as a “back him or sack him” situation. Is there a third way? 

These pages have questioned McClaren’s credentials for the job in hand over several months. It is no surprise to anyone that we have been calling for the appointment of a coach from overseas, given the paucity of English and, to a lesser extent, British managerial talent. 

Although we have been ready to highlight his tactical shortcomings, there is good in him. For a moment at least, we invite a different mindset. Let’s have a look at what McClaren has in his favour. 

As a number 2 at Manchester United, he was something of a gong collector; 3 Premier League titles, a FA Cup and a Champions League, to accompany an Intercontinental Cup. 

 McClaren also assisted Sven-Göran Eriksson at international level, reaching the quarter finals at 3 major competitions. 

It will not have gone unnoticed that his former club, Derby, despite missing out in promotion under McClaren currently dominate their division in the Premier League Under 21s. With 40 goals, they have scored 33% more goals than their nearest rivals and 74% more than Newcastle at the other end of the table. 

Although not up to the standard of the foreign managers who dominate the top 13 places in the Premier League there could be a use for McClaren. 

In a different context, we understand that Chris Hughton was one of the lowest paid, if not THE lowest in the Premier League. Having failed in his previous3 jobs, Pardew was reputed to have accepted a low salary in order to secure another shot at the Premier League. There appears no reason for McClaren to have been different. 

McClaren is currently a member of the board at St James’ Park. He accompanies Lee Charnley whose football experience hardly extends beyond Newcastle United. Other members are the septuagenarians, Grahan Carr (71) and Bobby Moncur (also 71). In terms of continuity planning, these will need to be replaces at some stage. 

The signings of both Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend were said to have been heavily influenced by McClaren himself. Is this a hint at a possible future role? 

Liberated from running the first team, McClaren’s undoubted coaching credentials could be deployed elsewhere in the club, supporting the development of youth for example. Certainly Derby’s success at Under 21 level may be down to foundations that he laid. He has a record of coaching young players coming through although we should conveniently forget Adam Johnson. 

He has also been ready to serve under a manager who has arguably achieved more than he has, Harry Redknapp at QPR in 2013. In the short term, perhaps he could assist a new manager until the end of the season? 

A good manager with a track record of achievement could ensure that Newcastle United become, even as soon as next season, a £200m turnover club. McClaren’s current wage would be a splash in the ocean, as would appropriate recompense for a manager of the status of Benitez.
 

Don’t forget that Benitez himself worked with Dalglish at Liverpoool, the latter becoming Academy Director. 

So there we have a few potential roles for McClaren, board member, scout, academy, even technical director. 

On the other hand, Newcastle United have another retired member of staff for who a replacement is yet to be announced, a certain Kath Cassidy. We hope that the well loved tea lady is enjoying her retirement.