If Steve McClaren is to be appointed the new Newcastle United manager, what can we expect? Is there a pattern developing at Ashley’s NUFC? 

What started as a statistical exercise here at toontoon.co.uk revealed stunning similarities between the careers of McClaren and a former Newcastle United manager, a certain Alan Pardew. 

They were born 10 weeks and 200 miles apart, McClaren in York, Pardew in London. Both had slightly different routes into professional football, McClaren leaving school to go to nearby Hull City, Pardew kicking around semi-pro football before signing for Palace.  Perhaps surprisingly, there were few opportunities for them to play against each other, a cup clash between Palace and Bristol City, later a pair of Palace v Oxford games in the old 2nd division. 

They both moved into reserve team coaching at a similar time, McClaren at Oxford, Pardew under his former boss, Terry Bullivant, when following him from Barnet to Reading. In the meantime, McClaren moved up to assist former Newcastle manager, Jim Smith at Derby. 

Whilst Pardew went on to manager Reading, McClaren stepped up once more to work under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. McClaren was the first to manage in the Premier League, however, taking the reins at Middlesbrough in 2001, Pardew gaining promotion with West Ham in 2005. 

Again, perhaps surprisingly, their paths crossed very little, having 3 matches against each other in 2005-6. In the league, honours were even with a win apiece in a season when McClaren finished 14th and Pardew 9th. Pardew got the edge in the FA Cup with a semi final win, McClaren’s heroics being reserved to reach a UEFA Cup final.

Paths diverged once more, Pardew staying in the Premier League, sacked by West Ham when in the bottom 3, taking Charlton down and sacked when about to take them down again. McClaren went on to be sacked by
England, achieve a title with Twente and then proceed to mediocrity with Wolfsberg, Twente again and then start his Championship career. 

Back to the statistical analysis, the following table was produced taking into account exactly comparable leagues, although it is noted that records in each division have been at different stages in their careers. Interpretation is up to the individual: 

 

(if reproducing, please quote toontoon.co.uk) 

In addition, it will be noted that Pardew was sacked twice when in a relegation position, in the Premier League with West Ham, in the Championship with Charlton. 

In the Premier League, McClaren has only managed Middlesbrough, where his performance can be classed as steady lower mid table. Pardew has managed West Ham, NUFC and Palace. He has consistently got off to a good start before fading. Curiously, if the Palace results are moved from the equation, Pardew’s Premier League record is startlingly similar to McClaren’s. 

McClaren was well funded at Middlesbrough by Steve Gibson, to the tune of a net £9m per season in a time before TV cash rocketed. Arguably, Pardew was less well funded at Newcastle although the Carroll cash and subsequent transfer profits made a significant kitty available. 

In the Championship, both had spells of limited resource, McClaren at Forest for his 10 games and Pardew at Charlton for 64 games. Again, stripping those out, McClaren at Derby and Pardew with both Reading and West Ham have similar ratios. Both have been capable of both good and poor runs, McClaren notably missing out on play offs with derby after 2 wins in 13. 

Both have had cup success, each reaching a final in 2006. As for trophies won in this country, McClaren has a League Cup in 2004, Pardew a Football League (Johnstones Paint) Trophy in 2010. 

Where McClaren has reached a UEFA final, Pardew took Newcastle to the QF stage. McClaren has more experience of Europe with his Dutch club, also having claimed an Eredivise title. 

It will be remembered that Joe Kinnear made two cup semi finals and a Premier League 6th place finish once. 

So there we have it, if as seems likely, McClaren is to be unveiled as Newcastle United manager, we can see a type. Ashley, or his advisers, have leant towards out of work managers who have had something to prove. Ashley does not seem to seek spectacular nor popular choices. 

We are reminded of Ashley’s sole TV interview here. He was surprised at the relegation near miss last season. He told us that he was going to continue to invest, that he would not leave the club until we won something. 

Given McClaren’s steady record, it would appear that his appointment is not one that is likely to gain a Champions League place in this country. Even with an investment pot, domestically mid table and Premier league income seems assured. The “goals for” column hardly suggests anything more exciting than Pardew delivered. 

Obviously, we hope that we are wrong and that McClaren has learned from his previous managerial career. We had the same wish of Pardew when he was appointed. As far as past records are concerned, we may miss the excitement of end of season relegation fights but otherwise, it looks like more of the same.