Rafa Benitez kept only two of Steve McClaren’s coaches at the club when he came in after McClaren had finally been fired on March 11th – the day that Rafa was introduced as the new Newcastle manager.
Those were Ian Cathro – the highly rated young coach who only turns 30 a week tomorrow – and goalkeeping coach Simon Smith.
Ian had been assistant manager at Portuguese club Rio Ave and also the assistant manager at Spanish club Valencia before Steve McClaren hired him last summer.
Ian Cathro – Newcastle’s assistant coach
We don’t hear too much from Ian, but he has given an interview today and he is brutally honest and open about what happened last season.
Ian says it was painful and is still painful to him and that it was his first failure ion coaching.
This is what Ian has said:
“The overriding feeling is painful.” “The only thing that ran right through the season was failure, on everybody’s part.”
“The only thing that invokes is disappointment and, primarily, pain.” “It forces you into a different type of reflection.”
“We deserved to go down, no doubt about that. We consistently failed.” “I’d be completely false if I said it was a good experience.”
“I can’t see that yet.” “I’d accept in a period of time that might change because I’ll have seen the value in it, but not at the moment.”
“There were a lot of situations I hadn’t lived through because I’d been in technical teams who had been successful.”
“In everything that I’ve done it’s my first failure. I have to accept that and deal with it.” “It needs to be fixed.”
“It definitely adds to the pain.” “The football club means so much to people and it’s got incredible potential.”
“When I think about the Newcastle I remember as a kid, they were challenging for honors.” “Kevin Keegan’s team was one that invokes an emotional response from you.”
“They were loved and people lived their lives through them.” “To be part of a failure like that cuts deep.”
“There was massive uncertainty when Steve was sacked.” “It is a side of the business which I thought I understood, but you can’t until you’re involved in it.”
“When Steve left it was quite surreal.” “I was at home in Dundee when I got a call to get to the ground within a couple of hours.”
“That was tight!” “But right from the off there was a strong message and conviction in everything that the new manager did.”
“It is a side of the business which I thought I understood, but you can’t until you’re involved in it.”
It’s not often that you hear somebody be so honest about how they were culpable in what was a complete and utter disaster for Newcastle United.
If Ian can tell the unmitigated truth like that he will not go too far wrong in life – that’s for sure.
Hopefully in time Ian will see that even though it was a terrible thing to go through and he failed – it will make him into a better coach.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
But Ian cannot see that yet, but the Scot comes over as somebody who cares deeply about things and especially about the plight of Newcastle fans.
The good news is that he’s now under a world-class manager in Rafa Benitez, who he can learn from – that’s one good thing.
And Rafa seems determined to build Newcastle into a great side again and that will make up for a lot of the nonsense fans have had to go through ever since Sir Bobby Robson was sacked a very long and painful 12 years ago.
There could even be some real success at Newcastle which Ian Cathro can be part of over the next few years, with the emphasis on “few”.
Let’s hope that’s the case.