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Update: Yesterday Alan Shearer reiterated his desire to get into management as Bobby Robson endorsed his case for the soon-to-be-vacant Newcastle post. The following article, published on 6th September 2008, clearly highlights the folly of such a move.
Few clubs have supporters quite as adept at knowing who they want to be their next manager as Newcastle United. Then again, few clubs give their supporters quite as much practice as Newcastle United.
The hugely unpopular departure of Kevin Keegan has left Mike Ashley in a sticky situation where he needs to make an appointment to appease the fans. The Toon Army love an old boy, they love a local lad, and they loved the connection that Keegan had with the club. That is why Alan Shearer seems like the perfect candidate for everyone involved.
But before the cries for Wor Alan get too loud, somebody needs to throw a bucket of cold Newcastle Brown on the fans. Alan Shearer is the worst possible manager of Newcastle United Football Club at the moment and for the foreseeable future.
There are not too many jobs in football at which you get a second chance. Keegan was an exception because he left the post the first time still popular with the fans, but not everybody is so lucky.
Shearer is 38 and has never managed another football club. Does he really want to rule himself out of his dream job before he reaches his managerial peak? There are the Jurgen Klinsmann’s of this world who have proven that young coaches can have immediate success, but again these are the exceptions.
Aside from how Shearer will adjust to management, there must also be question marks over whether any rookie manager could be expected to sort through the mess that has been created at St James’ Park. Football clubs are tumultuous places at the best of times, so any young manager coming into a job would find it helpful if at least the internal structure of the club was secure, and that cannot be said about Newcastle.
If Mike Ashley appoints Alan Shearer as his new manager then all that pitchside beer must have gone to his head. Support for the owner among Newcastle fans could scarcely be lower. Any situation which results in him putting himself in a potential popularity contest with Shearer should be avoided at all costs.
It is difficult to believe that Dennis Wise was coaxed out of football management and into his cosy upstairs role at Newcastle without a promise that the Newcastle job would be his at some point in the future. And that is why his role is such a menacing one – Dennis the Menace, if you will. How could Shearer take the job knowing that, even if everything goes to plan, he could expect to be asked to move aside so that someone three years his senior can take over? He couldn’t.
The truth is that Newcastle already have their potential youthful manager within their ranks. The problem is that Ashley knows he would be lynched if he appointed Wise. Appointing Shearer would be a futile exercise in waiting for yet another manager to fail so that he could put his own man in the job.
Ashley should either have the balls to see through what he has started or draw a line under his flawed experiment with a faux-continental management structure.