Mick Martin is now 58, was born in Dublin and played for Newcastle from 1978 until 1984, appearing 147 times for the Magpies with 5 goals.
Mick Martin – former Newcastle captain outside St. James’ Park
And yesterday he was quoted in the Evening Chronicle, and after reading through his comments, he offers a very wise and balanced view of the situation at Newcastle, especially as it relates to current boss Chris Hughton, and potential future boss Alan Shearer.
And while Mick knows that Hughton has made the very tough job look rather easy, he knows it wouldn’t take too much for Shearer’s name to return rather quickly:
“The team are thriving at the moment. Chris has done a remarkable job in the circumstances and I commend him and the team for their efforts,”
“It was always important for them to get a good start and to hit the ground running, and Chris has managed to achieve that. Everything has really followed that – players have confidence and Chris himself is starting to feel a bit more confident as a manager.”
“I played with Chris for Ireland for six years and he’s a great guy. I pop in to see him from time to time and I’m delighted it’s working out for him because he’s dedicated and hard-working.”
“He would have said himself that he was more of a coach, but he has developed as a manager and I wonder whether now he wants the job. I don’t think he’s ever come out and said that in so many words but, having got to this stage, he’ll be thinking ‘I can do this job’.”
“But he’s been in the game long enough to know that people have short memories. He only has to lose two games and people will start to get uncomfortable again, and it is inevitable that Alan’s name will begin to crop up again.”
“My feeling is that Alan would still love to do the job and he’s a legend in Newcastle. He is up there with Jackie Milburn, not just for what he did on the pitch but for the fact that he stayed in Newcastle and he knows the people, he knows the area and he has that understanding of the club.”
“Newcastle United is still a big club that maybe needs big characters, and that is where Alan fits in. He’s a phenomenon round here and that is why people are still talking about him. If it was anyone else, maybe they wouldn’t be.”
But any questions on who will be the long term manager at the club will be held in abeyance until we understand just exactly what current owner – the clueless Mike Ashley – wants to do.
He certainly doesn’t appear too keen to sell the club quickly.
Rather than mess around he should decide if he wants to sell the club or not, rather than keep everybody hanging on, and letting the gossip press spread all kinds of rumors about who is in to buy the club.
Ashley appears willing to keep things as they are, but if he eventually sells, whenever that may be, the very first question for the new owners is who will be the next permanent manager.
But whoever gets the job, Martin thinks it will still be tough, as he continued:
“I have said that people’s memories are short, and that applies for Alan as well,”
“If he did get the job permanently if new owners come in or whatever, he’s taking over a team doing well and a couple of defeats would maybe have people questioning his abilities as a manager.”
“There are no guarantees in football, and just like I said that he wasn’t guaranteed to keep them up, there is no guarantee that he’d be a hugely successful manager. You have to say he has the potential to be one, though.”
“I don’t think too many people in Newcastle or who understand what happened would lay the blame for relegation at his door, though. He took over a club with so many problems and it was just too much to ask – although he came close.”
Whatever the uncertainties that currently face the Newcastle club, over the ownership and potential new permanent manager, Mick is just delighted at the start the lads have made to the season, as he continued:.
“They have taken the challenge head on and I think that was always the best away to go about it,”
“Now they have started it well there is a real chance for us to get promoted. I hope the owner and the people at the top see that and give Chris a few quid to spend because it would be wrong to think things can’t begin to unravel.”
“I said before the start of the season it’s a difficult division to get out of and what I meant was that it is a real test of endurance. We have seen that the quality isn’t perhaps there but there are a lot of games to go and there is still a lot of work to do.”
“We’ve still got to be fortunate in terms of injuries and suspensions and it may be that we do need a few reinforcements as the season goes on. That is where Chris might need a bit of help from those at the top.”
Really good comments from Mick, and it’s not often you get such an accurate, sober and well balanced viewpoint on what’s going on at the Newcastle club.