So: the appointment of a manager who hasn’t seen a league game for longer than I have is followed up by the appointment of a Director of Football who not only has no experience of the job, but who – really, truly, honestly – isn’t anyone’s idea of the first step towards a continental style of management.
A continental style of management, which, a week ago, no one was told was coming. And which Keegan hardly fits.
Still, it puts to bed the idea that Mike Ashley is after a preservation-railway club, the kind of museum piece that will sell shirts to Anglophiles the world over. And, given the men he has chosen, it’s hardly the long-term Tottenham style of operation, which is beginning to bear fruit in north London. Nor is it the Arsenal/Arsene model..
I’m speechless, by which I mean, sotto voce, that I think it’s a case of wide boys collecting “real football men” for their beery, stripey northern train set.
And I feel hugely sorry for Newcastle fans. Much more of this, and no properly talented player – or talented coach, for that matter, and they’ll be needing one soon – will look at the place. If only Bobby Robson wasn’t so reduced by his recent illness.
Earlier in the season, I said that the biggest recent change in the Premiership was that powerful, wealthy owners were no longer able to allow their managers to manage – which was making the Premiership a dangerous place for coaching talent. Mourinho gone, Allardyce gone, Jol gone. Coming talent like Billy Davies gone. Rafa under siege.
All of that must ultimately impact on the field of play. We’ll see it first at St James’s Park.