Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alan Shearer as Manager? NOT an April Fool.

If I was a betting man, and I might just be, I'd call his move desperate and expect him not to be in charge next season. As Newcastle bring in their 4th manager of the 2008/09 season, and arguably their most folkloric hero and footballing icon, one wonders just how long the novelty and magic will lock in place.

With Shearer, an uninteresting, media-friendly pundit with no managerial experience, now in charge, the "New Manager Effect" faces its strongest challenge to date.

First, to lay out the terms:

- He's back for 8 games aka until the end of the season
- His wage? 100k per game
- 2m incentive bonus should Newcastle United avoid the drop

Not a bad deal really, although if Joe Kinnear was taking a gamble on his reputation when he turned up, Alan certainly is now.

The hero factor is unquestionable; he's their prolific scorer, an England hero, an all-round likeable guy, and now he's being asked to rescue his club from the grim reality of relegation. Dennis Wise, their rather awful Director of Football, has left the club, and Shearer has no plans of bringing in another middleman to replace him. If this ship is going down, Alan wants no buffer between him and the skittish Mike Ashley.

He did bring in Iain Dowie, who presumably brings all the managerial experience that Shearer will need to do his job. It looks, at face value, as a savvy move; Shearer is the good luck charm, the talisman, the fountain of positivity, whereas Dowie will do the bulk of the dirty work considering he knows that side of the game.

And, like Bryan Gunn at Norwich, the same situation exists: if he succeeds, it's another feather in the cap of his already-epic image with the fans. If he fails, then at least they did it the right way with their hometown boy in charge.

Being cynical, I'd say that Ashley doesn't exactly feel optimistic about their chances, and sought to buffer himself from the pitchforked masses in the summertime by pulling a glorious PR move right before the Grim Reaper turns up with Colaship parachute money.

Let's hope Alan is aware of how quickly idol worship can fade when the results don't come.

So... the big question: will it succeed? Will Newcastle avoid the plunge with their Golden Boy in charge, or is this another PR disaster for a club in dire straits?

[Already, Michael Owen has said he'll re-sign with the Magpies if Shearer stays on. I'll leave that as a separate discussion topic.]


Ibracadabra said...

According to Nicky Butt's twitter, the lads are excited to work under a legend.

I don't buy it though - they've put themselves in this hole after 30 games, and with only 8 to go, it will take more than good luck charm to get them out of it.

They face Chelsea and Liverpool in the last 8, so it's really just 6 games.

I'd say they need 9 or 10 points from those 6 games to stay up. 38/39 points should keep them up.

3 wins in 6? Difficult but not impossible.

Then again if they stay up and Blackburn or Stoke go down, maybe Blackburn and Stoke can sue Newcastle/Shearer a la Sheffield United vs West Ham/Tevez because Shearer doesn't properly have his "coaching badges" - surely because he doesn't have his registered badges, we can sue!

Nathaniel said...

I had hoped to never see the words "Nicky Butt's Twitter" exist together.

I give up.

30f said...

I think this is zero-risk for Shearer. If the team stays up - his image as the conquering hero is reinforced. If Newcastle goes down, then poor Alan didn't have enough time to save them. The story will go that Saint Shearer *wanted* to come earlier in the season, but the chaos with Ashley and Wise kept him away. How can we blame our beloved Alan? And that will serve to shield Ashley as well - IMO, the main reason for this move.

I agree that 38 or 39 points will keep them up, but have less confidence than Ibra that they will actually get there.

The papers over there are reporting that Owen says he will stay next year if Shearer does. Does that promise apply if they are in the Championship?

Wanting Shearer as the manager and the 'unlikely to play more that 5 games per year' Owen as the star player points out the delusional qualities of the NUFC team/fan. These machinations seem more like theatrical ritual than genuine efforts to make the team better - and the fans of said team are ecstatic about that.