This morning brought the news that most had expected last weekend as Steve McClaren was relieved of his duties as Head Coach of Newcastle United.
Just 6 wins in 28 leagues games, just 9 wins in 38 games (including cup and friendlies) was deemed not good enough by the Newcastle hierarchy who released the following statement:
After the defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday the Club has spent some time considering its position and has today concluded that Steve McClaren's employment with the Club will end with immediate effect.
We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players, for which we apologise. However we felt that this time was necessary to ensure the right decisions were reached with the best interests of the Club at heart.
Lee Charnley said: "I would like to thank Steve personally for his services to Newcastle United. He is a man of integrity and class and he has conducted himself with great dignity during this difficult time.
"Steve worked tirelessly to try and bring success to Newcastle United. He has the utmost respect of all the players, staff and management and he leaves with our very best wishes and sincere thanks.
"We feel that a change is now needed in order to give the Club the best possible chance of securing its Premier League future.
"A further announcement on a successor to Steve will be made in due course.”
The mood in the City had moved from anger after Newcastle’s 3-1 home capitulation last weekend against Bournemouth to one of disbelief over the following days at the farcical sight of McClaren continuing to turn up for work whilst all but sacked. A dead man walking if ever there was one.
Whilst the decision to give McClaren the bullet is obviously the right one, the way is was done shows once again the amateurish nature of those who lead our club. They will argue that it was done to ensure they had secured an adequate replacement (with rumours growing the Rafa Benitez is in advanced talks), but whatever you think of McClaren he has carried out his role at Newcastle with dignity and respect for those who love the club and did not deserve the public humiliation that he will have endured this week.
For our part we think it’s a shame that McClaren was not successful at our club. His ‘brand’ of football was a major improvement on that we experienced for so long under Pardew. His inability though to find the steel required at the back and a cutting edge up front is of course a lethal one.
He can’t blame a lack of ambition in bringing players into the club either. After spending a NET £79.1m on players this season his squad is far superior than that we finished with last season. You also can’t really say the signings haven’t added to our quality with Wijnaldum, Mbemba and more recently Shelvey and Townsend being fantastic additions to the squad. And whilst Mitrovic has not found his touch in front of goal you have to question how much this is down to the player.
McClaren’s season started slowly suffering defeats against Swansea, Arsenal, West Ham, Watford and Man City, with draws against Southampton, Man U and Chelsea before finally getting his first win in the 6-2 thrashing of Norwich as St James Park.
That result had lead to a great deal of optimism before meeting Sunderland away the following week, but after playing well in the first half the sending off of Coloccini contributed to us eventually losing 3-0.
Only back to back wins, first over Liverpool at home and then remarkably 2-1 away to Spurs, would change the mood and give McClaren some breathings space. But with only 2 wins since the trip to White Heart Lane and the potentially devastating loss to Bournemouth at the weekend enough was enough.
McClaren leaves Newcastle 2nd bottom of the Premier league, 1 point and a good few goals from safety, with just 10 games left. His record the 3rd worst of all the managers that have managed us for more than 10 games in the Prem.
The decision had to be made and whilst relegation is perhaps still the bookies favoured outcome for us, at least a change at this point does remove it being a certainty under McClaren.
Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black will also lose their jobs with Steve McClaren today.