How hard can it be to be a football manager these days? Everybody from the stand thinks that they can do a better job, or at least politely offer their opinion and advice when required!
I include myself in this, even though I’ve got no FA badges, never trained as a coach, nor a ref, never played to a professional or even a semi professional standard, not even moonlighted as a referee on a 5-aside. Nor even studied as a forensic business accountant, which a few fans seem to specialise in nowadays!
This profile would probably fit the majority of the fans of most clubs, so I thought it would be interesting to have a crack at assembling a team based on how YOU would manage the club.
Yes, I know there is Football manager, Fantasy football league and all that malarkey but this is just a little fun and hopefully cause a bit of debate – asides from the debate that is dragging everybody down.
It will give me a rest from carrying my sandwich board around Gallowgate. All this shouting “The end is nigh” and “Beware the Fat man” has left me a little hoarse and my shoulders terribly chafed.
Such has my focus been on what I see as the abuse and maltreatment of our club, I have felt like the preachers you see standing on a street corner shouting like a nutter to anyone who will listen.
So, with a fair wind and the sun in the sky let’s dream of better times.
Disregarding my complete unsuitability for the post of manager of Newcastle United and my CV reading like the Beano written by a chimp with crayons – I have landed my dream role (after all these small matters didn’t hinder JFK did they!).
Putting aside the obvious outcry at my appointment I sit down at my Desk at little Benton – staring at a blank piece of paper looking for inspiration.
If only I could track down my old school work book’s from the early 90’s. Or tactics text books if you will. Written in the boring lessons at school, myself and a small dedicated junior management team would sit and work out every single possible connotation or formation that we could fashion from the current squad and any recently linked players.
Christmas trees, diamond midfields, 3 up top, 3 at the back – you name it, it was done to death.
However, the only inspiration I would honestly take would be from a certain Kevin Keegan. People might say am stuck in the 90’s and need to get over it. Unfortunately, in mind, body and spirit I am actually still there!
The obvious thing whilst sat at that desk would be how to replicate that team that rose from the brink of relegation to the third tier, to within a whisker of making history and deservedly grabbing the Premier League crown. I know we didn’t win it, but we should have and without wanting to depress myself or anybody else, we will not remind ourselves just now.
The miseries out there (and there are a few) will say Keegan blew it, bottled it, tactically inept and all the other nonsense that shrouded his management career. My response to that is – you have not got a clue. You either were not there, not old enough to remember or have suffered some kind of brain trauma!
Those teams that played under Keegan were the pinnacle, not only blowing opposition apart with constant wave after wave of attacking football – but they worked their socks off – and without wishing to sound controversial – a core of Englishmen!
Pride in the shirt and a synchronicity with the fans. The players after wins, out on the lash mixing with the fans (remember Julies Night club?) the city was buzzing. Keegan was my idol, and he epitomised everything that was good about the club. He loved us – we adored him.
Sir Bobby was awesome and his passion and class were embodied in his teams. That forward line of Shearer, Bellamy, Robert, Solano, Dyer and Speed would stand up against any team.
Still though, and without hesitation, Keegan provides me with my management model.
Can this good vibe be resurrected from the Ashes of destruction?
Well lets pretend we have an owner who fancies actually having a dip in the transfer market and that I (you) can spend some loot. Nothing stupid though and the books have to be balanced. One hundred million should do it!
Keegan really had two teams (successful). The First Division champions and first year back up, then the team that nearly won it – that is the template for my teams design. See below.
This line up is practically pornography to those who can remember the way we played!
A breakdown of the template wanted.
Two attacking full backs willing to overlap, weigh in with goals, but have the legs to track back and tackle hard.
One silky centre half as gifted on the ball as anyone has ever seen at SJP, and who also weighed in with goals (no, not Peacock!). Another CB with solidity and a willing to stay back.
A holding midfield enforcer, who not only could break up play and intimidate the opposition, but who could play football and spray it around. The other a box to box goal-scoring midfield sensation bought from a relegated top flight team for buttons.
Two out and out wingers, both very different, both devastating.
One with pace to burn and could use space behind full backs to run into and whip in crosses (Barcelona anybody? Yes I know that was Dog Leash for the anoraks) the other a player who could turn both inside and out, beating players and supplying both goals and great quality into the box.
Then a striker who would cover every blade of grass in the number ten role, or the Messi role in Pedro. What words can describe Pedro or those dancing feet? Legend.
Then a centre forward who was direct, unbeatable in the air and the ball stuck to him like a magnet – only interested in laying off and getting back between the chalk marks in the 18 yard box, waiting for the inevitable chance that would come his way.
Now is this the impossible task to recreate?
Krul would keep his place.
Right back I would bring in Micah Richards (£12m)
Coloccini would stay at centre back
As a partner to Colo, I would bring in a rock of a centre half (£8m) for Ashley Williams
Left back it has to be Leighton Baines (£15m) utter class
Right wing Aaron Lennon from Spurs (£8m)
Left wing, HBA is moved across into the Ginola role.
Midfield enforcer, ball player Sissoko lands this role (Cant keep spending!)
Box to box player is “super” Frank Lampard (old I know, but could have been landed on a free for a season or two) still got it.
How do you replace Pedro? The only person can think of with the work rate and quality is a certain Wayne Rooney (cool £35m) – though still not fit to lace the great mans boots!
Sir Les gives way to to an underrated strong Forward – Dzeko (£15m)
So that is £93 million spent. Holy hell! Not so easy as it sounds? But not a bad team.
Now the inevitable trimming begins…. But I will not bore you with that!
If you were in the hot seat and had the owners backing – how would you play and who would you bring in/keep?