After yet another loss, Newcastle’s capitulation at Crystal Palace on Sunday leaves the Magpies second from bottom – and with no discernible improvement on display, time must surely be running out for boss Steve McClaren.
In truth, it wasn’t an entirely unexpected result for Newcastle – Palace are now an established Premier League outfit, and with McClaren’s side struggling, Alan Pardew’s men were always favourites to take the three points. Nevertheless, it was not the points, but the manner of the defeat that will hurt Newcastle fans the most, with the team visibly giving up after Palace’s third goal went in.
To lose by four goals is never good, but such a comprehensive loss in the context of what has been a truly wretched tenure for McClaren so far takes on much greater magnitude.
Only Aston Villa have performed worse than Newcastle this season, with two of the three promoted clubs in far better positions than the Premier League stalwarts from the Midlands and the Northeast, and one can’t help but notice striking similarities between the two clubs.
-Both have owners seemingly intent on selling their clubs (whatever Mike Ashley might say).
-Both have owners who have been happy to sell their highest-priced assets over the last few years.
-Both have had a high turnover of managers.
The one big difference seems to be that Villa have made the decision to try something different, dispensing with Tim Sherwood’s services a few games ago, whilst Newcastle appear to be persisting with Steve McClaren.
One wonders how long that difference will last for.
The fact of the matter is that McClaren was lucky to get the job in the first place. After a disastrous and short reign in charge of England, the manager somewhat rebuilt his reputation in Holland, was not quite convincing in Germany and failed with Derby County – not exactly the resumé of the manager of one of England’s biggest clubs.
Giving McClaren the job seemed a last throw of the dice – a last attempt to get a high profile manager. Given the poisoned chalice at St James Park, recruiting a man to take charge has not been easy for a few years. And now it appears that it may not have been the most sensible decision.
If anything the former Middlesborough manager has taken the team backwards, and his inability to halt this catastrophic run of form is almost certain to result in a P45 if things do not improve very quickly indeed.