Steve McClaren has been interviewed in the Chronicle and he says he had been approached by Newcastle to be their manager a few times, with the first time being back in 2004 – we suppose after Sir Bobby Robson was unceremoniously sacked by Freddy Shepherd in August of that year – because we only finished 5th in the league that season – and out of a Champions League position, which we had secured in the previous two seasons.
In the eleven years since Bobby was fired we have finished 5th only once and never qualified for the Champions League.
Steve McClaren – this club can now take off
Steve has turned down Newcastle a number of times, and this is how he explained that, along with what he’s been told is his mission statement at Newcastle – to get top eight in the league and win a trophy:
“I’ve had two or three opportunities, the first as way back as 2004 when I was at Middlesbrough, meeting Freddy Shepherd.” “Everything’s about timing in football. It wasn’t the right time in 2004.” “Then, I was at FC Twente. Newcastle got relegated in 2009, there was an interest.”
“But unfortunately I was at FC Twente, I’d only been there a year so, again, timing and loyalty to FC Twente, I had to stay on.” “And then, obviously, the well-documented one of January just gone where, again, the timing wasn’t right.”
“I had a job to do at Derby, it was on course. I’d only been there just over a year and I felt that the timing wasn’t right.” “We were top of the league, we were going to achieve what we wanted to achieve, getting into the Premier League, and I wanted to finish the job.”
“So it wasn’t a case of turning Newcastle down at all. It was a case of staying loyal to Derby, and that’s what I wanted to do.”
“The key thing for me was the statement that Ashley made at the West Ham game, when he actually came out with drive and determination and focus, and talked about the objectives and what he wanted to achieve.”
“He said it with such verve and vigor that everybody was convinced, everybody was rejuvenated through that.” “The objectives are top eight, and to win a trophy. That’s something that’s been transmitted through to me in meetings with Lee Charnley and the rest of the board.”
“That’s what we want to achieve. That’s what we must achieve together.” “When you look at the West Ham game, the last game of the season, I looked at that game and thought ‘That is a football club that sticks together, on and off the field.’”
“If we can add to that and plan well, get the right recruitment and the right resources this club can take off.”
So it seems the interview Mike Ashley gave to Sky Sports convinced Steve that Newcastle and the owner were serious about building a good side and trying to win something.
The announcements today have certainly been consistent with Ashley’s message back on May 24th that he now wants to build a good side at Newcastle and try to win something.
Now all they have to do is to execute – and that starts almost immediately with Steve first completing his coaching staff.
And then getting some of our top transfer targets though the door – we must sign some very good players this summer – that’s now the acid test.