George Graham, the great Arsenal player and their former manager, has talked about Newcastle today in Talksport – with hosts Andy Gray and Richard Keys.
George Graham — if they ever get it right Newcastle will be great club
There is a popular article out from Talksport, but I’ve tries to extract the “good” bits, when George and Richard Keys talk about Newcastle, and it’s obvious that Graham has a great admiration for the club, and when he was a youngster he recalled training with the Newcastle when he was just a teenager.
There’s also a bit on Andy Carroll, and they talked about how great he looks as a player, but since he’s now left Newcastle, that didn’t rank as a good bit, not to me anyway. This is not a Liverpool blog. 😀
And since it turns out that George is just 5 days younger than I am, (yes – it’s a pity he wasn’t older), we are talking around the 1960 time-frame, when we were around 15 years old, and it would be around that time that George was invited down to train with the club.
There was a question for George, if he was ever offered the Newcastle manager job, and he said he hadn’t been, but that he would have probably turned it down.
Richard Keys and George Graham got into this conversation that followed the question:
“A lot of people in football say this – that’s one club (Newcastle United) that if you get it right they’ll erect statues for you.”
“Keys – Terry (Venables) was offered it on a temporary basis and if it had been permanent he probably would have taken it”
“People think the problem is on the pitch but not necessarily so – sometimes the problem is higher up and the people underneath cannot put it right, because of the owners, you cannot select your owners”
“If Newcastle ever get it right and the club is run properly, if ever they get somebody in to run the club properly, like a business, and they get the right manager in, it will be a fantastic club.”
And then the name of Chris Hughton came up, and of course George worked with Chris Hughton at Tottenham, and it was obvious George thinks very highly of Hughton, and this is how the conversation continued:
“They (Newcastle) have had a good season with Chrissie Hughton.”
“Keys – How badly was he was he treated?”
“Very very bad I thought. I worked with Chris at Tottenham, and he’s a smashing lad, and I thought he did a great job.”
“Keys – He was better than that wasn’t he? When they went down there was talk about them talking about them going straight through that league and they came straight back.”
“And they were sitting very comfortably in mid-table in the Premiership, that was a shock for me anyway, and reading between the lines he wasn’t on a good contract anyway.”
So if Newcastle ever get somebody in to run the club and have a good manager, there would be 52,000 home gates every other week, and a massive following away from St. James’ Park.
By the way they talked we suppose they don’t think that person is Mike Ashley, the current owner, although Ashley is trying his best to run the club as a business, and at least on that side of things, he seems to be making a decent job of it.
Newcastle get close to 50,000 home gates now, and a phenomenal away following, and that’s with the team mediocre – at best.
But for some of us, who are in our later lives, time may be starting to run out (with stress on the may be), so that’s just one reason we have to hope the club will bring in five or six top players in the summer, and that Newcastle will soon be fighting for a top six position in the Premier League.
But when you look at Alan Pardew’s record, he’s never ever achieved anything as successful as that, and if he does it at Newcastle, it will be the first time ever in his career.
That’s unlike a certain Bobby Robson, who had Ipswich in the top six regularly when he was with Ipswich Town, and they had no money to spend at all on new players either.
So when Bobby came to the club in early September of 1999, that’s why the fans were so excited, and he was also a local lad as well.
And of course Bobby did not disappoint anybody, and saved Newcastle in his first season, after they were second bottom when he took over, had huge injuries in his second seaosn, and then had Newcastle finishing in 4th, 3rd and 5th in his last three seasons.
That was when Chairman Freddy Shepherd sacked Bobby because 5th just wasn’t good enough, and we weren’t even in the Champions League for heaven’s sake.
Yes – stupid isn’t it, but that’s what happened – you just couldn’t make this stuff up.
We ‘d love for Alan Pardew to be successful at Newcastle, but just cannot see it happening, but I’d be very happy for Alan to prove me completely wrong.
The ball is in your court now Alan Pardew – the very best of luck!