Former Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder, who battled his way back to successful top management following his brain surgery six years ago, while he was at West Ham, has some sage advice for current Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear today.
Glen Roeder – with Lee Clark at Norwich
Glenn Roeder, who managed Newcastle from February 2006 until May, 2007, said today:
“Football is the greatest game in the world but it is not greater than life itself,”
“Joe and his family have a very big decision to make and they must be totally sure about it. Joe will have to listen to the surgeons, to his family, to the club and to himself.”
“A lot of water will flow under the bridge before a decision is made and there is also a responsibility on Newcastle Football Club.”
“The only thing which matters now is that his operation proves to be a success and he has many more years ahead of him.”
“I got very close to Gerard Houllier, who had an 11-hour heart operation in 2001 when he was manager of Liverpool. I met the surgeon who saved his life, who was a real superstar.”
“He told Gerard that for every hour you are under the anaesthetic, you need to give your body a month to recover.”
“Gerard admitted he came back too quickly and did too much in his first 12 months back, and I hope Joe heeds that advice because he will have been in surgery for several hours.”
Roeder said that Kinnear’s illness brought back the terrible memory of the former Scotland and Celtic manager Jock Stein, who died from a heart attack at the end of a World Cup qualifying game against Wales in September of 1985, at Ninian Park.
“The tragedy of Jock Stein will never, ever leave me.”
“I was watching the match on television that night along with millions of others, and he just fell to one side.”
Joe Kinnear, 62, also had a heart attack 10 years ago while manager of Wimbledon, and we’re a little surprised that Joe has not taken better care of himself since then.
One thing that didn’t look good is that he was carrying too much weight for a person who had already had one heart attack, and that necessarily put more strain on the coronary system.
He should have also been checking his cholesterol levels, triglycerides and blood pressure regularly, which doesn’t seem to have been the case. Of course he can do that now, and he should, with the help of the Newcastle United medical staff.
Joe took over at St James’ Park in late September in what is one of the most pressurized jobs in English football, and Joe was taken ill before Newcastle’s match at West Brom last weekend.
“Every person views pressure in a different way. I am a fortunate person because I genuinely do not feel pressurized whether things are going well or not.”
“Football is my life – I have known nothing else since the age of 16 and it is my comfort zone.”
“I was calm as a player and I am calm as a manager, but you don’t know what it does to other people, especially when they have a history of heart trouble.”
“You have to give Joe credit for getting back into such a high pressure job when he has had heart problems before.”
“I just hope the operation works for him and then he and his family have to make a decision on whether football management is safe for him to take part in.”
“I wish him all the best.”
The best thing Joe can do is not come back to the job too early, and then ensure that all his vital signs related to his heart are checked regularly, and that he loses some weight and ensures he gets plenty of exercise in the future.
If he does all that he should be AOK – to user Joe’s own words.