I’m writing this pretty much as the news is breaking but it seems as if Toon hero Alan Shearer will take the reins at St James’ Park for the remainder of the season.
Newcastle sit third from bottom and are in very real danger of going down. Joe Kinnear’s medical problems could not have come at a worse time for the Magpies and stand-in boss Chris Hughton was doing a pretty poor job it has to be said. In turning to Shearer though, they’re taking a massive gamble as he has absolutely no experience as a manager.
The situation is far from ideal for Shearer to begin his managerial career. Newcastle have perhaps the hardest run-in of the sides currently in the relegation battle and it will take something a bit special to secure Premier League football next season. Their last eight games are Chelsea, Stoke, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Aston Villa.
Make no mistake, the games against Stoke, Pompey and Boro are pretty much the definition of ‘must win’ games and I don’t hold much hope of them getting anything out of Chelsea and Liverpool. In a way having Chelsea as his first game in charge could be a blessing in disguise – no one expects them to do anything so if they do nick a point or even a win he’s picked up instant momentum and if they lose it will be what everyone expected anyway.
I’ve focused on the negatives so far but there could of course be some major positives to come from the appointment of the Newcastle legend. Shearer should provide the players with a huge confidence boost, even if it is just for his status at the club alone. Newcastle have a stronger squad than most around them and a bit of a confidence lift could go a long way to securing their top-flight survival.
A new manager can do wonders for a club, such as when Terry Venables kept Middlesbrough in the league. However, usually (perhaps even exclusively) when this has happened in the past it has been done by a manager with some serious previous experience and Shearer has been out of the game since he ended his playing career.
It was a either a brave or foolish gamble in appointing Shearer and I guess in eight games time we’ll know which one. Yet Again Ashley has turned to a Newcastle legend to help ‘save’ the club but whether it will work or not is anyone’s guess. If I was writing a film-script or novel Shearer would keep Newcastle up but this is real life and sometimes the dreams don’t work out.
The move smacks of desperation as all other avenues seem to be closing for the Toon but it could turn out to be the move of the year. All I know at this moment in time is that for me it was a good move – it will at least keep Shearer away from punditry, where he really doesn’t have a clue at all.