Les Ferdinand, the former Newcastle United striker in the good years of the 1990s under Kevin Keegan, has talked at length today about Newcastle, a club he still obviously cares a lot about.
Sir Les – move heaven and earth to bring Shearer in
But Les believes it is just too easy and rather unfair to make a scapegoat of any one person, for instance owner Mike Ashley, because Newcastle being relegated needed lots of things to go wrong – and they all did:
“It is a crying shame what has happened at Newcastle and absolutely unbelievable really. And the way it happened, with Alan (Shearer) at the helm, was even more cruel to the fans and everyone associated with the club,”
“I have discussed this quite a lot this season and the thing that really sticks out is just how quickly things have deteriorated up there.” “In my second season, we were battling it out with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal for the league.”
“Chelsea were in the mix as well but it was mainly those three teams and Newcastle were on an equal footing with them all.” “We could have taken players from those teams, we were able to sign players that they all wanted as well.”
“But while they’ve established themselves, Newcastle have moved backwards so quickly. It can’t all be down to Mike Ashley or a few bad transfer decisions.” “The problem is getting back up there now is more difficult than it was back then because of the money involved.”
“How many managers have the other teams in the top three had since then? And how many have Newcastle had?”
With Newcastle having had Souness, Roeder, Allardyce, Keegan, Kinnear, Hughton and Shearer in as managers since the great Bobby Robson was sacked, it’s clear that some stability – at least with the manager, is required if Newcastle are going to come back to the big time.
Les today has urged Newcastle to move ‘heaven and earth’ to make sure Shearer remains in charge and is allowed to rebuild the club in his own image – of guts and glory with professionalism at the core:
“Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the man for the job,” “People have talked about the record that he had when he was in there and there will be no one more disappointed than Alan that the results weren’t better. But it was a bigger job than maybe he realised it was.”
“The one silver lining for Newcastle at the moment is that he does want the job and he is willing to hang around to wait and see what happens with Mike Ashley and the takeover business. He’s out there, ready and available to manage.”
“Does he need experience? Not necessarily. Managers with experience have gone in at Newcastle and found it difficult.” “Alan is the only manager who could go in there and hit the ground running. The advantage of Alan is that he will get a very long honeymoon, the players and the supporters will give him as long as it takes.”
“This is an opportunity to get things right. Newcastle cannot let it go begging.” If he gets the job, Ferdinand feels that it is inevitable that Shearer will preside over a mass clear-out at United.”
Many players will leave the club in the summer including Owen, Viduka, Coloccini, Martins, Barton, and Smith and the vast majority of supporters will not miss them and believe they let the club down.
Ferdinand, however feels those accusation are a wee but unfair, as he continued:
“I know from my time at QPR that when you’re struggling, there’s a massive lack of confidence in the players and that it can look like you’re not trying. People said it about us when we were down the bottom and we were – things just weren’t coming off for us,”
“But believe me, the players were trying. The bottom line was they just weren’t good enough for the majority of the season.” “The game at Aston Villa was such a disappointment because of the way it went. But if you strip away the disappointment of it all, it was the same problems that Newcastle have had all season.”
“The biggest thing was there were no legs in midfield. They’ve struggled there all season, no one has been able to get forward and they’ve just not created enough.” “Alan probably looked around at who he had in the squad and wouldn’t have seen many other options, to be quite honest with you.”
“It’s important that people learn from the lessons of what happened to Leeds United,” “I didn’t think it would ever happen again but there are so many similarities. Newcastle are a bigger club in terms of attendances but there is a chance that the same thing could happen and they could tumble down the divisions.”
“It’s so important that they don’t make the same mistakes.” “The next week or two are so important for the future of the football club.”
It’s true that we could go from bad to worse next season, and that becomes more likely the longer the owner has the club’s hands tied behind its back this summer.
The other possibility is we could come straight back up, and next year at this time, the club could be stronger than we have been since Bobby left the club.
Only time will tell, but we’d put nothing beyond the Newcastle club – anything is possible right now.