So here we are, heading for the third week into the reign of our new Messiah, Steve McClaren. Will we see some changes or is Ashley dressing up the club in the Emperor’s new clothes? 

The first impression was more of the same. Here we have another English manager when the top performers in the league are predominantly from overseas. The best performing Englishman was Gary monk at Swansea, from a totally different generation to the like of McClaren, Pardew, Allardyce and other Brits who populate the mid to lower ranks of the league. 

This site is on record as preferring an overseas manager, free of the shackles of perceptions about the long ball game and percentages in a league of speed. Technically adept managers have been far more successful in the top flight since the end of the 1980s. 

On the plus side for McClaren, he has done what few other English managers have done, managed successfully abroad. He follows in the footsteps of other England managers, Sir Bobby in winning the Dutch and Portuguese leagues, and Terry Venables who did the same in Spain. McClaren is the odd one out, however, never qualifying for a major international competition. 

He has however received compliments from former Newcastle players, Pearce and Gazza over the last week. Among the English coaches currently in management, only he and Gary Monk, who he faces in the 2nd game of next season, have won a trophy. Only Redknapp has done the same in the last 20+ years. 

A welcome change at the club has also been to appoint the coach as a Director, bringing in Moncur and Carr to the same level. The board is still led by Lee Charnley under Ashley’s ownership and potentially, Ashley’s direction. 

Also in the last week, Moncur has come out and said (despite his persistent articles proclaiming Ashley’s regime) that he never agreed with the club policy towards cups. 

His first challenge is the appointment of back room. Whether it is circumstance or the toxicity of the Newcastle United brand under Ashley, McClaren is learning how tough a job this can be. According to reports from Ashley’s preferred media partner, assistants are already turning the club down left right and centre. 

First to be approached allegedly was Phil Neville, someone who has coached at progressive clubs, Manchester United and Everton. No reason has been given but from his track record as a player, we can assume that he wants a club that shows ambition. 

Someone who would undoubtedly offer creative flair is Bolo Zenden. He too has apparently turned us down. The latest on the list is Steve Round. 

Looking back over the week, when McClaren gave his initial closed interview to Sky, he had waxed lyrical about how impressed he had been by Ashley’s statement prior to the West Ham match. 

Those of us who had become cynical after 8 years of Ashley questioned his statements. What did he mean by continuing to invest? By “continuing”, did he mean maintaining his policy of not putting in fresh money? McClaren seemed convinced. 

We have learned a little about what the new coach wants. Apparently a good old fashioned number 9 is a priority. Speculation has had us linked with QPR’s Austen, a scorer something in the mould of former QPR and Newcastle favourite, Sir Les. 

Another speculated target has been Bas Dost, currently at one of McClaren’s former clubs. Both of these players area rated at an 8 figure fee. Berahino is also speculated upon at twice the price of Dost. Chelsea striker, Bamford allegedly is another one. 

As Pardew would have said, the difficulty is getting them over the line. Whatever the truth of newspaper reports, we seem no closer to signing any of them. Bamford has experience of McClaren whilst on loan to Derby and has said he wants to fight for his place at the Blues. Gignac, a long term target has gone to Mexico. 

We have already seen another target, Juanmi, sign for Southampton, one of the clubs who have shown ambition by signing successive overseas young managers. Another club of the same ilk, Swansea, have been busy too, signing Ayew who was supposed to be on our radar. Those whose level we have sunk to are also already active, Villa having agreed to sign Micah Richards. 

The laggardly nature of Newcastle’s dealings is nothing new. It took time for Hughton’s coach, Calderwood, to be replaced. In the event, the manager was sacked before his coach was appointed. The line clearly remains tough to get over. 

A part of the problem could be the transfer budget. Premier League inflated income was secured on the last day of last season. Apparently Ashley was determined to avoid the same mistakes. Whilst on this site we have said for months the minimum net investment should be £50m. 

The Daily Mail reported the budget to be £25m. In short, that would mean that Ashley’s club have broken even in the transfer market since his arrival 8 years ago. As we have warned, failure to match even the likes of Stoke, Villa, Swansea and Southampton will mean that we fall further behind. £25m would come nowhere near providing sufficient depth for a whole campaign. 

Is the sticking point Ashley? Past form suggests that perhaps it is, Ashley seeming to love a deal. Having tried to offload him in different transfer windows, apparently we have held out for a high price. Lee Charnley could be the problem. We can see his efficiency in having called a Fans’ Forum before the end of last season. That will take place next month. Organisation does not seem to be his forte. 

Has the NUFC brand just become too toxic? We have a manager who turned us down 3 times and has only joined having being sacked after failing in the Championship. No other Premier League club has apparently wanted him. His failures at Forest, Wolfsburg, Derby and his 2nd spell at Twente seem to have caught up with him. 

Whilst there is no activity on the caching or transfer front, we can expect to see the season ticket deadline constantly extended. Supporters can see that we have more and more of the same, total disrespect for our values, a total lack of appropriate investment as the club’s fabric remains as threadbare as a week old polo shirt from Ashley’s other brands. 

Ashley may be surrounded by his favourite courtiers but despite the new suit in McClaren and the fresh board structure, his clothes are as transparent as the fabled Emperor.  Unless he invests, he will be altogether in the lower reaches of the Premier League. 

If Ashley wants bums on seats and to preserve the ever growing Premier League income, he and Charnley have to act and act quickly.