Are Newcastle United making progress? In what has been a desperate season, it is easy to become unsettled. 

It is easy to be negative, and sometimes views like those on this site can be interpreted as such. However, we also try to provide evidence based solutions, which the club may or may not ignore. In this case we will come to 3 positive solutions., Before that we shall try to outline 3 lots of 3 issues that provide a springboard for action. 

The first group of 3 issues covers the biggest part of value in the club, the players. Ashley’s sidekicks identified a 5 year plan. Now into his 9th year of that 5 year plan, his team languishes in the relegation zone, the 3rd relegation campaign in 4 seasons to go with the relegation in 2009. 

The 5 year plan has not been working now for 4 years, even more. 

In those 8years+, we can see that a habit has developed with Ashley. He has appointed, or at least allowed to be appointed, a series of serial failures. Kinnear did a job at Wimbledon but took both Luton and Forest down. His side ultimately went down here. 

Pardew was a similar appointment, hardly having more than one decent season at each of his previous clubs. He was sacked when he had West Ham in bottom place. He took Charlton out of the Premier League and was sacked on the way to another relegation. Southampton sacked him for being unable to progress a well funded team in their league. 

McClaren had also left his previous 4 clubs early. Yes, he won a League cup 10 years ago. He won a title in Holland but failed as England manager, earning the title Wally with the Brolly. Since his first spell at Twente his record reads fail, fail, fail, fail. 

What galls many supporters most is McClaren’s ability to smile in defeat. What sort of culture does that create at the club? 

Here we come to the first 3 reasons McClaren should make way. The first team, the U21s, the U18s are all towards the bottom of their leagues. Losing is acceptable and a part of the culture. With one first team regular having come through the ranks in the Ashley years, now is the time to dispel the culture of failure. 

The second group of 3 issues all relate to McClaren’s targets. It has been revealed, should he hit one of those targets, his contract will, like Alan Pardew’s was, be extended to 8 years from the initial 3. 

Sticking with those 3 criteria, the Watford result may or may not have been unfortunate. However, the FA Cup record at the club under Ashley has been perpetuated, winning only 2 ties in 11 attempts. 

The League Cup saw a reasonably strong side take on Sheffield Wednesday reserves. The Yorkshire, lower mid table Championship side’s reserves won, of all places at St James’ Park. 

The 3rd criterion was to finish in the top 8. Currently, McClaren’s coaching has led to the team being more than 4 wins behind 8th placed Liverpool. 13 points may not seem much but when you consider that Newcastle have only had 4 wins in more than half a season, the task in hand seems enormous. 

It seems certain, particularly given McClaren’s record of serial failure, that none of those 3 criteria will be met. On a 3 year contract, the last year leaves him as a lame duck. Given the way his season dissolved at Derby, how he cold not establish anything at Forest, how he could not find solutions at Twente and Wolfsburg as well as just 1 top 10 finish with a well financed Boro, his chances seem slim. 

Failure on 3 fronts signals the chance to move him into a technical role on the club staff. 

Now let’s look at the 3 positive reasons for change. There are some available managers out there who meet Ashley’s criterion of being serial failures. They do have a difference though but with experience of the Premier League. 

The first of those is Roberto di Matteo. His management career saw some success in lower leagues, playing a great brand of football. The formative time in the Premier League was with West Brom before going on to win the Champions League with Chelsea. 

He failed to win the league, he failed to win the Champions League with Schalke, despite making the knock out stages. Having taken over with Schalke in 11th place and finishing 6th, he only qualified for the Europa League before resigning. 

A failure who gets his teams playing good football would be welcomed by supporters. 

Next up is someone else who knows the Premier League but had failed to win it in his 6 years at Liverpool, despite 4 other trophies. He also failed to win the Premier league at Chelsea, despite lifting the Europa Cup. In fact he has not won a domestic title with his 2nd at Valencia in 2004. His 16 trophies since 2002 mean that he has failed in several others, despite consistent qualification for the Champions League. 

Rafa Benitez might provide a decent example at the top of the club. 

Finally, there is a 3rd Champions League winning manager available with Premier League experience. He also has a tangential connection to Newcastle, Sir Bobby Robson having been his mentor. 

In the last 13 seasons, he has failed to win a league title 6 times. In that time, he has only won 11 domestic cup trophies. 

Jose Mourinho, like Steve McClaren, Alan Pardew, and Joe Kinnear, has much to prove. He has never won the Champions League with a British club and would surely relish the challenge of reawakening a sleeping giant, after all, he has done just about everything else.

When will we ever again have 3 good reasons to choose from managers with excellent credentials? 

A call for action
We have the 3 leading teams at the club performing below par. The club is not progressing young players and has a culture of failure. McClaren is failing in his 3 objectives. There 3 Champions league winning managers available who have Premier League experience. 

The club is worth a few hundred million. It could be worth over £1bn with any degree of ambition or success. TV revenues are rising, they are worth protecting and investing in. 

Mr Ashley, you have a reputation as a gambler. Some gambles win some lose. Winning gamblers know how to stack the odds in their favour. If you stack in the right way, your capital growth from Newcastle United would be almost guaranteed. The wages they demand would be more than covered by a top half finish.

For once, why not just go for it? You have lived some dreams, why not live some more?

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