April 01, 2009

Alan Shearer To Take Charge At Newcastle: April Fool Or Not – There’s Laughter To Be Had

While April Fool’s Day has pretty much come and gone by now, the day will be remembered by sports fans for the unbelievable, yet seemingly true story that Alan Shearer is to take charge as Newcastle manager until the end of the season – even though it still hasn’t been officially confirmed. It’s believability isn’t in question because it’s a notion too hard to fathom – quite the opposite, it’s an idea that’s been banded about Tyneside ever since Bobby Robson’s time as Newcastle manager was questioned. But never before has Shearer, a Geordie hero since his then record-breaking £15 million move to St. James’ Park from Blackburn Rovers, even come close to taking up the role which has seemed to become vacant in recent years as often as England have changed their kits.

Shearer’s past reluctance hasn’t been because he has no interest managing the club he supported from the terraces as a young boy. Instead, the former England and Newcastle striker has seemed to avoid taking up the job due to a lack of desire to work under Newcastle’s owners, be them the unpopular John Hall and Freddie Shepherd, or the nemesis of Tyneside Mike Ashley. But Ashley, despite the Newcastle fans’ wishes and his subsequent attempts to sell, is still at the helm of the club that’s becoming as well-known for having thousands of fans standing outside St. James’ wondering whether one of the clubs favourite sons is coming or going as it is performance on the field. So what’s motivated Shearer to finally take the plunge and have Newcastle fans in jubilation until the weekend at least? A question answerable in two words. Impending relegation.

And it is the influence of this potential disaster which prompted this article. When discussing today’s developments in the North East, a number of people have suggested to me that Shearer is taking charge because his love for the club is so strong that he will do everything he feels he can to prevent the doomed fate of Championship football. Even if it means sacrificing his reputation and popularity with the fans who cheered every goal he scored and chanted his name as he infamously ran by them in celebration one arm aloft. While a noble and optimistic view of Shearer, I believe it is a wrong one. Newcastle have been in trouble before, albeit not quite so deeply as now, but the record Premier League goal-scorer has not batted an eyelid when turning down the opportunity to save the club before.

The difference this time, is that the decision isn’t one requiring sacrifices. Shearer will be Newcastle’s manager for eight games. If Newcastle stay up; Shearer’s status as a Tyneside God increases. If Newcastle go down; Shearer put the club before himself, tried his best but didn’t have the time/personnel to work the miracle required. To put it simply; Shearer can not fail. He will walk away (or indeed perhaps stay on if successful) a Newcastle hero, whatever happens. Whether this is the beginning of a long and successful managerial career for Alan Shearer, we’ll have to wait and see. But for now, I see something more of the politician perhaps than the manager. He’s chosen the right time under the right circumstances for him personally; the worst possible time and circumstances for Newcastle United. The only way is up; or at least that’s what their fans will hope.

October 19, 2008

Time To Reinvent The Blog … Again

So it’s been over a year since I last gave this place a visit.

From now what will follow is a series of my observations from the year I spent in America.
This short series will include my opinions on all aspects of the life I encountered and experienced in America, from university life to politics to food.
I finished the year with a journey of 9 cities in 26 days to go from coast to coast, so keep reading to the end, and you’ll get some photos.

Enjoy, or not. As the case may be.

May 15, 2007

Insanity of a Chairman

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
– Benjamin Franklin

If thats the case then this blog can reveal the insanity of the chairman of a Premier League club.

Yesterday, Wigan appointed Chris Hutchings as the successor to Paul Jewell, quitting only a day after keeping Wigan in the Premiership on the last day of the league season.

Wind back to the end of the 1999-2000 season. Manchester United had won the league, and Bradford City, under the management of Paul Jewell stayed in the Premiership by managing a win on the last day of the season.

A few days later he quit.

Chris Hutchings was appointed his successor.

After just 21 matches in charge, Hutchings was sacked, and the club went on to be relegated.

Dave Whelan, by Benjamin’s Frankiln definition, is insane, appointing Hutchings in almost identical circumstances to 7 years ago, and believing he has made the right choice, a choice which will benefit his club, saying himself:

“I know Chris Hutchings and I know how good he is. I’ve every confidence he’ll push us forward.

Insanity? You can judge for yourselves, although wait till this time next season, and the league table might be able to do it for you.

May 14, 2007

(Another) FA Premiership Team of the Year

So as the FA Premiership season has finally drawn to a close, I thought it fitting to reveal my team of the season. Admittedly, this is not entirely a team based on the inclusion of the best performers within the league, but those who I feel are most worthy of recognition, perhaps a subtle difference, perhaps not. The players in this team have not been put in because of their reputation, players like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard not featuring.

GK: Scott Carson – like Ben Foster also, he’s had an incredible season at a poor club and so has often been overlooked, but Charlton would have been relegated earlier than Watford if it weren’t for him. Although perhaps not as consistent as the record-breaking David James, Carson has improved significantly as a keeper, putting in a number of man-of-the-match performances for a side who offered him little protection.

RB: Gary Neville / Steve Finnan – both consistently good at the back and in their delivery of crosses, but both having injury problems at the end of the season – its personal preference I feel to separate them.
LB: Nickey Shorey – has looked like he’s been playing in the premiership for years, rarely caught out defensively and a major weapon going forward, good on the ball and delivering dangerous crosses and set-pieces.
CB: Nemanja Vidic – he looked like a clueless battering ram when signed last season, but he’s been immense at the back this season, hard in the tackle, strong in the air, and rarely rattled under pressure.
CB: Jamie Carragher – you know I’m right, and he should partner Terry for England. Yes really.

RM: David Bentley – I’ve always felt he wasn’t given a proper chance at Arsenal and Mark Hughes has really got the best out of him, a tireless runner down the flank, delivering dangerous balls and possessing a wicked shot.
LM: Ronaldo – What can i say that hasn’t already been said by so many? The best midfielder in the premiership, and possibly Europe.
CM: Paul Scholes – After being out for so long last season, his contributions to United’s midfield have been even more noticeable. A player with great vision and passing ability, his technique is matched by an often consistent mentality, showing maturity and composure on the ball.
CM: Michael Essien – Although he has been played out of position much of this season, his midfield performances have been world class and he’s looked much deserving of the reputation he joined Chelsea with.

CF: Didier Drogba – Chelsea would not have finished in the top 4 if it weren’t for Drogba, I honestly believe that. Showing a massive improvement in both his ability and his mentality compared to last season, Drogba has become the most complete striker in the league, a constant threat to defenders and a worker for his side.
CF: Dimitar Berbatov – In his first season in the premiership, he’s shown great ability on the ball, both in his finishing and passing. Creating as many goals as he has scored, he’s been a credit to Spurs, and a really exciting player to watch. He’s come in, adjusted to the premiership, and got on with it, playing some really entertaining football to watch.

It's Been A Long Time Coming

So it’s been about a year since my last (and first) entry on this blog.

Done on a whim one night I couldn’t sleep, I soon lacked the motivation to continue blogging, but lo and behold, with exams and essays around the corner, blogging seems like the perfect distraction, and so here it goes:

What’s Next – Part II

Ignore the pretentious piece of rubbish written below, and hopefully enjoy what will become a series of blogs, commenting on sport, films and music, and a year in California.

What’s Next?

May 16, 2006

Why Now? What For?

With only five and a bit weeks left to go of my first year of studying at Warwick, it has only now seemed appropriate to me to do this.

There are some aspects to this blog which will be understandable to everyone, some trivial matters, some which may only make sense or be of interest to Warwick students.

Although the purpose of each blog will be different, I hope the motivation is still the same, to write candidly, to honestly observe, and to clearly communicate.

I hope this is of interest to someone out there, if it isn't, it won't affect what I write.

So if all of the above seems ridiculous to you, there's not much point in reading anymore.

What's Next?

February 2023

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