Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren says that in the last three months he has been trying to get to know the club, and certainly he has been trying to cultivate an environment that is both positive and upbeat.
Steve will have seen the negativity that surrounded the club under John Carver earlier this year, when John attacked his players too much in the press, and didn’t appear to realize it was his job to get the best out of the players he had available.
Steve McClaren – on the touchline urging his players on
Carver didn’t seem to know the first thing about leadership, and his criticism and stupid comments to the press about himself led to almost a complete collapse of the team and we were almost relegated.
Steve McClaren knows all about that, but one of the things that is the hardest thing to do with any organization is to change its culture.
There are many reasons for that but the obvious one is that culture has been built up over many years and is essentially passed down through each generation.
It’s one thing we remember Louis Gerstner tried to do at IBM, when the company was struggling to survive when the mainframe gravy train started to collapse, and we were on our knees back in 1993, before going into the services industry and turning things around.
McClaren has been talking about the game on Monday night at West Ham, and he begins by talking about how the lads were applauded off the field against Arsenal.
Our 10 men had just fought tooth and nail and we were only beaten 1-0 after putting up a terrific rearguard performance:
“There are not many teams will get the reception that we did after the Arsenal game after losing at home.”
“What we have to keep showing is that spirit, togetherness and fight. We haven’t shown a lot else in terms of football because of the circumstance of being down to 10 men in two games.”
“Maybe we’ve been overly enthusiastic in showing that, but I think we had to do that.”
“We have talked a lot about patience, because we have looked at the fixture list and it was hard.”
“What we have to do is grow, although it will be slow for various reasons. There is a transition here, it’s trying to change the culture and environment in the club and the town.”
“I’m oblivious to some of the things that went on, so I’m a little bit naive to that coming in.”
“There’s a lot of suspicion around everything. We’re trying to dispel that suspicion.”
McClaren seems as straight as an arrow, but there are still some sections of fans who are at all not convinced about Mike Ashley, and therefore if we don’t start winning some games soon, some protests could come back.
We hope that doesn’t happen, but Newcastle have to start putting some points on the board.
It’s going to be hard for Steve McClaren to change the way fans react to things at the club.
Newcastle fans are usually either totally upbeat or the opposite – that’s caused by the high level of passion that has always surrounded Newcastle United – and we saw some of that last season – both the highs but mainly the lows.
It really hurts to be beaten game after game.
The way Steve can get the crowd behind him is to put together a very good team, and they start to win games and always give 100% and shows guts and courage on the field.
As far as we can tell that seems to be what he’s trying to do, and Newcastle seem to have a decent squad this season.
Wins should follow, and if that happens there will by no problems.
None at all.