You think you have seen it all as a Newcastle fan and then the club just takes things to new heights when it comes to the ridiculous. Just when it looked like the club was running on a stable footing for once Big Mike has gone and done it again with the announcement today that Chris Hughton has been relieved of his duties.
I just don’t know where to start with this; I just can’t comprehend the thinking behind it. We sit 11th in the league, the fans are relatively happy and the players certainly seemed to be happy working for the manager. Granted some of the results haven’t been great but to rock the boat mid way through the season is a massive massive gamble.
I will be honest I was sceptical about Hughton’s appointment originally; I thought it was a very risky move but was more than happy to see him prove me wrong. What I just don’t get is the reasoning. The official club statement says that they think they need someone with more managerial experience. Had they said that at the start of the season maybe then fair enough but I just don’t buy into that excuse at this stage of the season.
Getting rid of the manager is one thing but the owner surely needs to look at the big picture? He now has a squad going into Saturday’s game with Liverpool which apart from having no manager is no doubt pretty shocked and annoyed at this sacking so moral is going to be low. Add to that the no doubt negative atmosphere amongst supporters and no doubt the re-ignition of the ill feeling towards him and it all just points to a plummet down the table unless he has an absolute ace up his sleeve in terms of a replacement but in all honesty who is going to want to work for him?
Were we currently languishing at the bottom of the league then I could maybe understand it. I understand that the whole business plan of the club going forward probably relies on us remaining a Premier League club so I think this season the owner was always going to have his finger slightly on the trigger with Hughton being an unproven Premier League manager and were we looking like relegation material then you probably would have forgiven him for making a change to try and change things around but like I say we are just nowhere near being doomed by any stretch.
Since all the farce of Keegan and the relegation then I have to say Mike Ashley has not been one of my favourite people but as a realist and following some good moves to sort the club out after relegation and due to the fact that he is going to be here for the foreseeable future then I was happy to give him another chance and whilst not liking him I was happy to put up with him and have even on occasions defended him but that again just goes out of the window with this utterly ridiculous decision.
I have to say that I don’t support the bed sheet chav brigade who will no doubt be in force on Saturday with their Ashley out banners etc basically because I don’t think it helps the team but I certainly think the guy has possibly burnt all his bridges if there were any left with these actions.
Like I say I think the only way out of this is if he has an ace up his sleeve but so far with the rumours I have heard I can’t see this being the case as I think he is genuinely clueless when it comes to football. Martin Jol is a name being mentioned as he has left Ajax today which I don’t think would be bad and certainly better than other names being mentioned as favourites like Alan Pardew! Personally if we are talking realistic options then I would probably go for Martin O’Neill but I can’t see him wanting to work under Ashley on a shoestring budget.
I think the worst thing about this other than the obvious of us losing a good man as a manager is that it brings the media circus focus straight back onto us which we just really don’t need.
I’m going to wrap up this post with a big thank you to Chris Hughton and all his work over the last few years. I will do a full post on this in the next couple of days but in the meantime I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I appreciate the way Hughton has gone about his job and clearly done everything that has been asked of him.
It’s well known that Mike Ashley likes a gamble, well this is certainly his biggest one yet – let’s just hope it pays off, watch this space.
So what are people’s thoughts on this bombshell, did anyone see it coming and where do we go from here?
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