Steve McClaren’s Big Mistake In Pre-Season

There were always questions about whether Fabricio Coloccini even wanted to stay at Newcastle in the summer when he didn’t play one minute in pre-season and there were constant rumors that he was destined to join former manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace.

Steve McClaren +Manchester+City+v+Newcastle+tQgYvl4Xmfpl

Steve McClaren – head in hands  
It doesn’t give fans any confidence to see Steve doing this

It looks like that was accurate and that he was being offered a three-year deal at Palace with his current contract running out next June on Tyneside and most fans thinking that would be the end of his Newcastle career.

But just days before our first game at home to Southampton McClaren made a big deal of saying that Coloccini had been given a one-year extension to his contract and he would be staying on as captain of the side.

That meant that we would not bring in another center-back in the summer since Colo as captain would presumably have to play in the side.

With Newcastle having conceded a massive 17 goals in our first eight games that now seems to be a huge mistake McClaren made.

What’s been alarming with the Newcastle side this season is they have collapsed far too many times and that points to a number of things – one is a lack of leadership.

Coloccini has played well only in patches and doesn’t seem to have strong leadership qualities on the pitch – especially when things are not going well which is when leadership really counts.

Newcastle will almost certainly bring in another center back in January – maybe Joel Matip of Schalke – but by then we will be half way through the season and our defense looks no better than over the last three seasons.

It’s looking like a huge mistake that Newcastle didn’t bring in another center-back last summer and Colo is also lacking as the leader of the side.

And with Haidara and Dummett being prone to injuries we could have also used another left back coming in.

Why we let Davide Santon leave in January for Inter-Milan we have no idea – it was another poor  decision by Lee Charnley, probably influenced by John Carver at the time.

Lee said it was an opportunity Newcastle had to take because it wouldn’t have been there last summer – was that code for another  opportunity to make money?

We just hope things can be turned around before January – we have 11 games and 33 points to play for before the new year rolls around and new reinforcements can arrive.

Comments welcome.

171 comments so far

  • Jib

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #1

    For me this confirms the story we were in for Rudiger but he sustained knee ligament damage in preseason and the deal fell through.

  • Ron Knee

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #2

    But was it McClaren’s decision to give Coloccini a contract extension?

  • jayphoto

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #3

    Jib -Going to throw it out there that I’m in neither camp. My personal opinion is the club is where it is because of decisions at board level/ownership.
    We signed well this window, but the 4/5 windows before that have been woeful.
    We had 5 years of signing players without the managers input. Therefor continuously ignored the positions that needed filling.
    Club tends to not spend what it should in defensive positions. I put this down to the resale and value increase of defenders being a lot less.
    The position of head coach being given to John Carver was damaging. A losing mentality crept into the club. Ill discipline was rife. There was no philosophy. The board accept defeat too readily which bred down to the managers Carver and Pardew and onto the players.
    On Coloccini, I don’t think he is good enough, but defensively I think Janmaat (though good going forward) and Haidara don’t help the back 4 any and neither does Krul.
    Ashley is the reason we are where we are. The summer window showed some signs things might have changed. I think McClaren and his team will get it right eventually but so many years of mismanagement has taken its toll.
    At the end of the day, neither coloccini nor Carr signs the cheques that buy players or sacks managers. Charnleys inexperience in all areas has hindered. Ashleys willingness to put him in the position is to blame at that.

  • Jib

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #4

    I think we dodged a bullet to be frank.
    Roma took a chance on Rudiger and took him on loan with an option to buy.
    He’s only played 2 games out of 7 so far in Serie A

  • Jib

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #5

    Vfb Stuttgart must be laughing their cocks off

  • jayphoto

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #6

    Ed – I don’t think Santon was anywhere near Premier league standard to be honest. I’m not sure Haidara and Dummet are either. I’d take Dummett over the 3as he’s more of a solid player. It’s all good full backs getting forward but they should be able to defend too.
    I know his injured but I think a fit steven taylor would suit playing alongside Mbemba more than coloccini.
    Think Lascelles is a season or 2 off challenging for a place but has to be better than Williamson? And if anything would offer a huge threat from set pieces the guy is the best headerer of a ball I’ve seen

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #7

    Yes Colo is the problem. Yes, Carr is the problem. Yes, Charnley is the problem. Yes, Mike’s no-show horse is the problem. Yes, Makro’s poor pre-season preparation is the problem. What do you not understand about that, JIB? Seems quite straightforward to me.

  • nufc 11

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #8

    Rudiger moved for 2.8million a German international centre back. Boyatta moved to Celtic for 1.8million Michael Keane was available for 3million now someone has missed a boat or a ship somewhere. Colo should be a back up not captain maybe mitro?can’t be any worse.

  • jayphoto

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #9

    I also don’t think you can blame McClaren for not signing another centreback. Theres no way he wouldn’t have wanted another. No way! I’m guessing it was a case of ‘you’re not getting one steve’ which meant he was stuck with Coloccini for the season. The one year extension put to bed any chance of Colo leaving. Lets be honest we’d be in more trouble now if Colo had left and no one else had come in

  • Jib

    Oct 6, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #10

    Of course they are problems Blackley.
    Real men recognise the problems and deal with them and don’t whinge day after day like a girly about them , and give the characters they disapprove of silly schoolkid nicknames like Makro and Costco and refer to themselves in the 1st person.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #11

    Our problem was if Mclaren let Colo go then we did not/have not got a stand in captain- we haven’t even got a leader in the club so we will have to muddle through till the transfer window opens and hopefully we have someone lined up as we cannot go on the way we are.

    Me I would drop Colo for the Norwich game and make Krul captain.
    Bring in Williamson or Dummet to partner Mbemba.

    If the Watford game anything is to go by Deney bullied Colo and if Murray is playing up front for Norwich he will bully Colo

  • lesh

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #12

    Don’t blame McClaren for the fact that Colo’s still at SJP.

    I’ve no doubt that Charnley’s tried to be clever by giving Colo another year thinking that he’d be able to get more from Palace.

    Nice one Lee, another balls up.

  • Blofal

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #13

    My person theory is Colo was going to leave but McClaren wanted him to stay.

    I think McClaren thought it too much of a risk bringing in two brand new CB’s with no premier league experience. He thought he would bring in one (Mbemba) and retain Colo who was the best CB at the club – so Mbemba has time to get experience before another was bought in to partner him in the next 2 windows.

    And I actually agree that was probably a logical move. Him and the board thought Mbemba and Colo would get us through until summer – and we still had Taylor, Williamson, Lacaselles, Dummett and Janmaat to cover for an injury if needed.

    The problem has been things really did go pear shaped because Colo is bang out of form. Taylor and Dummett are injured, Williamson and Lacselles aren’t good enough to risk playing any more than the odd game – and Janmaat is our only attacking threat so needs to stay FB.

    Keeping Colo wasn’t a bad move. Not buying a good enough first team CB in the last 5 windows was the bad move.


    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #14

    Newcastle Uniteds current defence:(The word defence is obviosuly open to debate)

    RB Janmatt – INJURED
    RB Mbabu – INJURED
    LB Haidara – INJURED
    LB Dummett – INJURED
    CD Coloccini –
    CD Mbemba –
    CD Taylor – INJURED
    CD Williamson –
    CD Lascelles –
    CD Satka – INJURED

    Only around 150/200 million needed in January to save us from relegation. Keep the faith!

  • ilovetoon8788

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #15

    Sissoko will struggle in a championship even. Nevermind wanting to play in champions league. What a loser and probably one of the poorest player this season.

  • bettyswallocks

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #16

    There are only so many options available to managers / coaches when it comes to setting up the team. If the players actually do possess some natural ability and skill then it’s obviously down to the coaching team to get them using it .

    Lack of commitment, desire, confidence and self belief all have to be factored in and to try and instill all of this is proving to be the problem for the 90 mins. duration.

    We have shown glimpses that there is a team in there as McClaren has observed but to get that winning mentality within the team is not easy with weak minded individuals.

    There is no point discussing Ashley’s, mis- management , greed and stubbornness until January when he will hopefully continue to spend on what we need to improve , which by now is blatantly obvious to most of us.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #17

    Pleaee tell us more about what real men do. Better still, show us. I could trawl your posts to see but I think I’ll just sit back and wait for your prize gems arrive. You really are good value.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #18

    Colo has been bang out of form (crap we call it in our house) for ages. A good manager coming in would’ve identified it. Did Makro not watch EPL football on Sky when he was at Derby? Even Academy youth team kids get videos of their contributions wirh PMA online.
    PMA online

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #19

    Old Blackley”s spelling is bang out of form.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #20

    Not so much my spelling as my keyboard skills.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #21

    I thought I’d seen it all until I saw Shirley Temple dive behind another player in case Aguerro’s shot him. And now we have JIB’s post @10. An all time blog classic.

    This blog should have a hall of classic blog quotes that bloggers can dip into from time to time for their amusement. JIB’s @ 10 is up there with the best. Is there some sort of Cloud service where I could cut out and keep my favourites?

  • SUTTY1978

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #22

    does anyone still think that Camel Thauvin is a good signing?

  • manxpie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #23

    One of the problems with colo is he hasn’t had a competent LB next to him since Enrique wats that 4 years!?
    Can’t be easy having to babysit the LB’s constantly

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #24

    Other clubs show plucky determination for 90 minutes. If they get beaten, it’s not for the want of trying. When we get beaten, we get walloped. The manager needs to instil regimental discipline. That doesn’t mean fancy suits from Cruise. That won’t fix it. Fancy suits are the problem, JIB.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #25

    Camel Thauvin? I think your keyboard skills are out of form. Are you using a Samsung S4 per chance? Mine has me all over the shop. Samsung S4’s are not the problem at SJP, JIB.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #26

    Camel? Is that a childish nickname? JIB will mark you down as not a real man if it is.

  • bettyswallocks

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #27

    Blackley …….Capitulation like that is obviously a mental issue which McClaren seems to recognise.

    Encouraging self- belief and getting players to express themselves combined with a will to win is the key. Black is supposed to be the man for the job. He is not the genius guru based on current results.

    Steve Black out!!

  • Mister Tuff

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #28

    Jib Jibberish (the blog pest) will get the hump on.

  • spitfire_

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #29

    McClaren made three huge mistakes this summer – keeping Colo, Sissoko and Cisse.

    Charnley made one huge mistake – didn’t see a reason to invest in defence.

    This is the recipe for disaster, and the disaster is at place.

  • bettyswallocks

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #30

    I’m still inclined to give McClaren the benefit of the doubt until after the next window.
    To be fair he didn’t have a chance to assess the squad properly with a stupid pre season and he should now know the skill levels and characters of his players.

    To play under pressure and stick to the game plan for 90 mins. is proving the problem and he must cull the dead wood and find the right blend of players in January.

  • lesh

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #31

    “We intend to make an [managerial] appointment in a decisive and timely manner”

    Now who said that?

    Charnley or FSG?

  • jimmysmith

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #32

    Surely not moving on Tayls and Willo have been bigger gaffes. I think Colo has been one of our better players. A couple of brilliant games in there. MOM at Man U.Or doesn’t that count? He’s probably been our third or fourth best player so far.

  • Munster Mag

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #33

    I have to say that when he made that announcement, it said a lot of negative things to me about McClaren

  • lesh

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #34


    McClaren really ought to be given the final say in transfer matters.

    Foisting Carr’s buys on him or Pardew for that matter when he was with us, just doesn’t work.

    It’s .

    Managers have got to know and feel comfortable with players before they’re brought in.

    It’s clear that Carr’s buys haven’t all been in line with the needs of the squad and he should have his wings clipped. He’s obviously got too much influence.

  • Munster Mag

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #35

    One of the problems of this league ( for us ) , is that the standard has increased. Smaller clubs have decided that counter attacking football is the way to go, and there are few , if any genuinely weak teams. Sunderland were crap, but if they get Fat Sam, he will save them. We had better start hoping that Villa stay crap ( they will ) and Bournemouth weaken ( think they will ) , and maybe Watford and Makems. We only need 3 worse than us, but are there 3 ….? So much for mid table / 8th. Jeez that vision disappeared very quickly. It only seems a few weeeks ago that the players seemed happy under SMC and his new training and about 10 ex plauyers were lining up to tell us how good a coach he is . The club needs a win so badly its untrue. Its all about confidence it seems….

  • LGFUAD21

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #36


    It was me that called you a dinosaur. You still are a dinosaur in my opinion.

    We were hardly going to change over night. It was always going to be a transitional season.

    Yes we’re rock bottom on GD. BUT we’ve also played the top 4 now and taken 2 points from them. We’ve hard the hardest run in by a country mile in the league with fixtures.

    Pardew is doing great at Palace because he is a decent manager. But he’s a Fat Sam. Give him old school wingers, grafters in midfield and a big man up top and he’ll deliver. That is not what he has here.

    I dont think our form can be blamed solely on the coaching team:

    1) The players are hugely letting them down but for some reason the actual guys that do the job can never be held accountable.

    2) We still dont have the right pegs in the right holes – No tall CB to complement Mbemba, No FB cover (for either of our NOW 2 injured FBs)

    3) No proven wingers – Thavin was an accident waiting to happen, just like I said Cabella was before we signed him. Obertan and Gouffy the less said the better. Which leaves us with our SAVIOUR?!?! Aarons.

    4) No tough tackling defensive midfielder to be seen in the squad (unless we are counting the shadow of the rock that used to be Tiote, happy to sit and pick up his fat paycheck).

    Signing 1 CB wont solve the issue. We need Wingers to create, midfielders to protect. I had a lot of faith in Carr but I think it’s clear he’s making stupid decisions these days.

  • John Tudor

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #37

    this was the position i immediately imagined at makros appointment

  • ilovetoon8788

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #38


    Right now we are the worst team in this division by a mile. We might only stay up if other team decided to be worse than us. And that is asking too much. I don’t think it will happen and we will go down.

  • LGFUAD21

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #39

    I can see the logic in having some way of ensuring your manager doesnt splooge money willy nilly but these transfer committees only work when you have exceptionally smart people leading them.

    Coaches can too often make stupid decisions but Transfer comittees will only work if they listen to the coaches requirements.

    Carr seems to do whatever he wants.

  • LGFUAD21

    Oct 6, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #40

    John Tudor

    You cant expect a manager to come in and suddenly turn things around in a matter of months.

    The club has a terrible culture (not helped by a team of soft minded mercenaries)
    The poor squad condition
    a new footballing philosophy being brought in.

    I have faith Mcclaren and Co can turn it around. I’m not concerned by our position. If we’re still there by Christmas then I will panic but change takes time.

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