Managing Newcastle United is arguably one of the most complex and trying jobs in the Premier League, as the last number of people to fulfil the role will testify.
Following Alan Pardew’s decision to swap St James’ Park for Selhurst Park midseason, John Carver has been in a caretaker position – but fresh blood is needed to overturn the North East club’s fortunes.
The Guardian reports today that a three-man shortlist has been compiled by the Tyneside club, with local boy Steve McClaren and Patrick Vieira two of the names under consideration.
The link to the former England manager, who has recently been dismissed by Derby County, can be understood to some degree.
Despite a number of underwhelming periods throughout his managerial career, McClaren has proven his ability with Middlesbrough and Twente, while he has an affinity to and knowledge of the region.
Vieira on the other hand is something of a left-field candidate, with potential for an explosive and ultimately divisive pairing between the former Arsenal midfielder and the Tyneside club.
Since retiring, the ex-France international has been in charge of Manchester City under-21’s and is said to be making progress in the game.
However, with Vieira’s contract at the Etihad Stadium expiring this summer, his future is up in the air.
It appears that the no-nonsense character has the desire, attributes and temperament to become a top-flight manager, but taking on the Toon job as his first in the big time would be a baptism of fire.
Newcastle’s current predicament is dire, with the only silver lining that surrounds the black cloud hanging over the club the fact that the team was not relegated this season – had the campaign been a game or two longer they may well have been demoted.
The fans were desperate to see the back of Pardew, but in truth the now Palace boss was just as eager to leave the club due to the fractured internal workings at St James’.
Dealing with Mike Ashley will be one of a number of considerable obstacles that the new manager will have to overcome, with the club’s owner, not Pardew, the real villain of the piece over recent years.
A lack of substantial investment in the playing squad and seemingly putting the generation of money as his main priority over the success of the team rightly has the Newcastle fans incensed.
Looking at it retrospectively, Carver’s ill-fated interim tenure and the ghastly run of results that characterised it shows just how difficult the job is.
For the next Newcastle manager, reading from the same hymn sheet as Ashley will be a pre-requisite for longevity but may not serve the best interests of the club.
Someone of Vieira’s strong will and confrontational nature may well be an appealing addition for a playing staff lacking direction, but Ashley will surely prefer someone that will not stand up to him.
It seems like only a matter of time before the illustrious Frenchman is the number one at a Premier League club, but selecting Newcastle could well be short-sighted and not suitable for either party.