Yeah GOOD ONE.
I think we all know where this one’s going. If any proof were needed that Mike Ashley is… well, a cock, we got it today. I’ve tried to think of a good reason for showing Chris Hughton the door at St. James’s Park and for the life of me, I can’t. All that this decision will ensure is that at Newcastle’s next home game (v Liverpool on December 11th), Ashley is about as welcome as an onion in a bag of apples. Do you hear that, Mike Ashley? YOU FUCKING ONION.
Let’s go with the official reasoning first. ‘Regrettably’, a statement on the club’s website simpers, ‘the board now feels that an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward.’ Oh right, so 14 months, a promotion from the Championship and consolidation in the most competitive Premier League in many a year isn’t good enough experience? For a job at the club where you gained that experience in the first place? All we can realistically garner from the board’s statement is that it is a crock of total shite. So there must be other reasons behind Hughton’s sacking.
Let’s face it, if you bring in an ‘experienced Premier League manager’ [insert mid-table/narrowly avoiding relegation experts Pardew and Curbishley here], you are going right back to the days of Big Sam Allardyce, currently numbing the aesthetic sentiments of everyone in Lancashire. It won’t be pretty, but the chances are Newcastle will stay up. Maybe the board want a guarantee of survival in the top flight, with seemingly less risk than a manager like Hughton, who has never managed the feat before. Mainly because he has never been given a chance, but when you have a mind with only enough room for one reason, of course, that doesn’t matter.
Maybe the board want a manager who will guarantee them results against the teams around Newcastle at the bottom – a dogfight this decision is obviously geared towards – rather than spectacular one-offs. Never mind that Newcastle have beaten Arsenal away, drawn with Chelsea (AND knocked them out of the league cup at Stamford Bridge), beaten Everton away, thumped Villa 6-0 and Sunderland 5-1 at home. No, best to focus on home defeats to Blackburn and Stoke, and an away defeat at West Brom – when fine, they didn’t play very well, but still – seemingly the final straw. ‘If we can’t beat the teams around us, we’re going down’. Well yes Newcastle, after this clusterfuck of a decision (YOU BEAT WEST HAM AWAY YOU CLOWNS), you probably are. One place above Liverpool not worthy of this massive club now? Idiots.
God forbid, furthermore, that Hughton be in a strong position to negotiate his expiring contract. Perhaps the board’s greatest fear is that had he been invited to the table, he would bring this string of remarkable achievements with him and they would have little option but to stick with him – as if by some incredible and narrow-minded thinking, they still believe that Hughton is ‘winging it’. Which of course he isn’t. Popular with the players (some of whom could generously be described as ‘difficult’) and fans, Hughton has given Newcastle an admittedly inconsistent, but still memorable first five months back in the Premier League.
Oh yeah, AND HE GOT THEM THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. REMEMBER THAT?
Perhaps his greatest achievement is getting people to not mind a team containing Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll and owned by Mike Ashley. But while for Hughton the nightmare of working under this board is over, Newcastle look to be on the precipice again. Who on earth is going to fancy the job? I’d be fairly sure it won’t appeal to the kind of sensitive man-manager needed. Martin O’Neill would surely be in tears every weekend at the injustice of it all if he went there. Certainly no one would welcome the opportunity to work somewhere where your reward for relative success is evasions over your contract as it winds downs and then a big boot up your arse.
That doesn’t even cover the fact that the players may now realistically revolt, giving the new manager a chalice as poisoned as Socrates’. Sol Campbell’s been illustrating such sentiments already. ‘This will hit the players hard. The players admired him, and liked him, and won't be happy now he's gone like this’. Indeed not. And as for the fans – well, just when Mike Ashley had laid low for almost long enough for people not to think he was a total twat, here he is again, like an unwelcome fat lad at a summer barbecue, sticking his finger in all the burgers and generally fucking everyone off by eating all the crisps.
What do the board want then? A man so grateful for the job he will cede to their every whim? Phil fucking Brown it is – and good luck with that one lads. Moreover, the chances are that the job will again appeal to the self-styled ‘big man’ – the Joe Kinnears of this world. The ones who reckon they can take on a dressing room full of characters, who can deal with the expectation, who come out on the eve of their appointment and call Newcastle a ‘massive club’. A proponent of this ludicrous ‘sleeping giant’ rhetoric. Someone who believes their own bullshit. And there is every chance another appointment like that will take Newcastle right back to where they started from.