El Tel snub highlights a serious situation at St James's Park

By Lee Ryder on Sep 25, 08 08:13 PM

Terry Venables' snub to take the Newcastle United job on a short-term basis may not come as a surprise to many but if anything it shows just how much of a no-no the manager's hotseat has become at St James's Park.

With an uncertain future in the boardroom hovering above any incoming manager's head, many bosses will be wondering just whether it is worth the hassle to have their copy book blotted and spoil their coaching CV for the sake of a couple of games.

Venables may have an inconsistent track record with success and failure coming in equal measure throughout his career, but he's no mug and he knows that he could be out on his ear within weeks of taking the Toon job.

One other theory is that Venables was simply being courteous by talking to United and at the same time keeping his name in the frame.

In the last month alone, the Chronicle has spoken to El Tel about the situation and each time he refused to rule himself out of the job.

He did state to me on September 9 that the job would be a "great challenge" but didn't want to take the situation any further.

Now it leaves Newcastle without a manager and without a win in four matches with no leadership at boardroom level and no leadership in the dugout in sight.

Whatever the fans think, managers will take note of each other's actions and like in any profession word gets around.

And with Kevin Keegan walking out earlier this month and El Tel knocking it back, their stance will have been taken on board by other potential mamagerial candidates.

And until there is a sign of some stability and an end to the unrest on Tyneside, the uncertainty in the dugout will only continue.

That said don't rule out managers who are just as desperate to get back into the game.

But no matter who takes the job, the first thing they need to do is save United's Premier League status and it doesn't really get much more serious than that does it?


Sid Adeall said:

Wondering what people would make of the folllowing rumour that has been circulating.

Tony Blair has apparently confided in some of his close friends that he thinks what Newcastle needs is a mediator to sort out the mess between Ashley and the supporters. He thinks that if the fans could show some remorse for the way they have hounded Ashley and Ashley could apologise for the problems he has caused and make a clear statement directly to the fans that he wants to sort the mess out, the following could be achieved. 1) a new manager could be found, who would not see St James as a career graveyard. 2) The team could get some stability and play to their strengths, which would lift them out of danger. 3) Ashley would be able to sell the club quicker and get some value for his shares, which at the moment are plummeting in value.

Blair thought that someone like Bobby Robson who has the support of everyone in the game would be a good mediator as he would fairly reflect what is good for the club and is trustworthy. His friends stated the obvious that Robson is too ill to take on such a task, but suggested Blair should do it himself, as he is a lifelong fan of the club, and an act like this would only help his own public profile. Apparently Blair was not completely adverse to the idea, but would need to be approached to do it.

Bert Shaft said:

Mike Ashley is staggeringley naive about this situation. Kevin Keegan has had almost blanket support from his fellow ex pro's on the box and in other media outlets as to why he left Newcastle.
The fact that Mike Ashley could be wrong and could have dropped a huge boo boo in the way that he tried to run the club, has totally escaped him and his arrogance, stupidity and blind loyalty to his "team" are costing him dearly.
He could quite easily have rescued this situation but chose to go partying around the other side of the world instead.
Tis all your own fault Mr Asley.

Ben said:

When is all this going to end? I just hope this doesn`t mean o`bleary taking over! We are rudderless and we need somebody 2 steady the ship as soon as possible!! Surely Ashley can see the longer this goes on and the longer we are in the bottom 3 the less he is going to get!!! Lets hope a takeover deal is completed very soon and then we can finally look forward!, if this supposed deal with Oba`s mates is concluded within the next week and we were to pick up 3 points on Saturday suddenly there would be the slight glimmer of light at the end of that tunnel!!! Lets all hope and pray anyway!!!

Peter Harper said:

Be prepared for the Championship as the action(or lack of it as the case may be)of our revered Director of football Dennis Wise,has left us with a desperately weak squad.Whoever joins as manager has a huge job on his hands to avoid relegation.
Mike Ashley has been the king of clowns, entrusting NUFC wellbeing into the hands of his incompetent friends.Its about time Ashley stood up and admitted his dreadful error of judgement.He stands accused of neglect of the highest order.
I only hope there are three teams worse than us come the end of the season.
Damn Wise and damn Ashley for his ignorance.
NB-Where is Nacho Gonzalez-he is one hell of a player.Why is he not playing?

jonny said:

Kevin Keegan is the only man for the job, Wisey, you need to look at whats happend here and had in your resignation, your never gonna be wanted or loved by anyone so go back to london or millwall or wherever, just get out of tynside, Ashley knows he has to go and he needs to sell quick,so take the hint and Jog on with him.

Young Terry Duffy said:

Hello Lee, on the theme of desperation how about this; with a fan's buy out looking very unlikely, what if the money could be raised to buy out the contracts of Wise, Jimenez and Llambias. Hopefully this would pave the way for K.K. to return and Mike Ashley could sit back and wait for a buyer. Or do you think the above mentioned three would be to noble to exept such an offer and prefer to continue working-on and drawing a salary from Newcastle United for their sterling efforts.

Dave B said:

Would it really kill Ashley to offer whoever it may be a 6 month contract?

The problem ceases to be his once the club is sold. With the figures being bandied about a paying up a couple of months on a Manages contract is neither here nor there. Again the blokes take on business reality seems absolutely jaw-dropping..

James 09 said:

Could Ashley have been more utterly disastrous than he has been?? I think not.

If a sale doesn't come in the next week or so we WILL go down and below - mark my words.

Neil said:

I can't help feeling that Ashley must be in severe financial difficulties. The simplest solution to all this would be to offer Keegan his job back with the management structure he would want. But perhaps the real reason why this won't happen is because Ashley would have to fire Wise, Llambias, et al and may not be able to afford the compensation to which they would be entitled under the terms of their contracts.

The need to cover losses elsewhere may also account for his overpricing of the club.

Admiral Colly said:

With El Tel turning us down, whatever his reasons, who would you like to see take temporary charge?
I find it difficult to come up with a name, where the criteria are:
- commanding figure to win over the dressing room
- tactical nouse to fashion a team formation and style from the existing squad
- reputation and style to win over the fans
- thick enough skin to ignore the interference of the "invisible men" (Wise etc.)
- guts to handle a struggling side.
I would hate to see "weak" figures like Hoddle or O'Leary take over. I don't rate either of them in this situation - they're both famous for the slope of their shoulders, and we need someone who is straightforward and honest.

phil matues said:

I cannot believe how naive and reckless Ashley has been with our club.However I do agree fundamently with his long-term vision for the club,but with Keegan choosing the Director of Football,after all he is the one who has to work with him.
Wise could cause WW3,the man is just trouble and always has been,as Llambias,he is just not suitable to be MD of a football club!His man-management and communication skills are akin to Bin Ladens threat to world peace!!!!
I ask Ashley for the sake of OUR club,to sack these 2 clowns and bring some credibility back back to both himself and OUR club.I say OUR club because he is only the custodian.

BIgD said:

Am I missing something here? When Freddie Shepherd was in charge, he was caught out in a NOTW world sting in which he mocked Newcaslte's fans and called the women of Newcastle dogs. He undermined Bobby Robson's authority when he announced he had one year left and then would be moved on, only to sack him a month later. The financial status of the club was precarious and we were only a relegation away from going down the same path as Leeds United. Where were the protests and the banners during this era? Mike Ashley may have his faults but is trying to build solid foundations for the club to move forward such a heinous crime?

Why is Keegan a martyr? He knew the setup when he came to the club. Wise had been in place for several months and I hadn't heard too many complaints from KK about the signings of Guthrie, Colocini and Gutierrez. ANswers on a post card, or comment board please.

Steve Douglas said:

Hi all - couple of things:

1, Stuart Pearce - could do the job and keep his existing role - knows the club - respected by fans - everyones happy. Then once club is sold a long term man - hopefully KK gets in.

2, whatever happens we can not have o'leary! If the Toon go down for a season whats the big deal? the lads would still get supported and we would bounce straight back up into the top 5 with loads of momentum behind us and it would be good to win the championship! give us an excuse to parrrrty!

Keep the faith.


Terry Duffy said:

Well said Brian, Ashley's more like a Chav lottery winner than someone with business acumen.

Keith Hutton Africa said:

Let's be honest it is a high risk appointment, a board room without leadership an owner wanting to sell, a team playing badly and fans that want to tell everyone what to do and have no patience. Who would actually want the job, O'leary has applied, Big Sam was ridiculed here and he is the best English manager for years and well respected, give the job to Phil Brown of Hull he's local done well has potential and he's local which means he will understand that phenomena which is Newcastle, that's our last chance because if this goes on too long it will be too late.

Talbot Button said:

It is blinding obvious that the unholy trinity are now determined to do battle with the fans and demolish the club rather than sell and see us get our own way.

This is becoming more like a warzone with the fans at the gate and the fat baron pouring the pots of boiling tar over the ramparts.

This latest twist of employing Kinnear as manager just smacks of Wise turning the screw even further, surely he cannot be advising on this sort of approach based on footballing knowledge.

This is just pure bloody-minded revenge attacks for the way in which we have shown or anger and frustration with the calamatous decisions made by these clowns over the past few weeks

Where are Wimbledon now?!

Keith Hutton Africa said:

It can't be true has Joe Kinnear Ashleys drinking mate got the job, please tell me it's not true, this is the Keystone cops we are the laughing stock of the planet

Giles Harrington said:

Can't believe Joe Kinnear has been appointed. Is Ashley trying to get NUFC into the Championship this season?

I really don't understand Keegan's behaviour either. It sounds like he'll be ready to return to the club once the new owners are in place in about 6 games' time. If he knowsnew people are coming in why not just put his toys back in the pram and return to the club immediately? It's not as if he can be undermined on transfer policy during that period because the window isn't even open!

You can dress it up anyway you like with stories of 'Kinnear's invaluable experience', 'King Kev's immanent return', but this really is an absolute disaster. Pretty soon NUFC be sold to a faceless consortium in Nigeria and then it really will be lights out.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

Latest Premier League video


Email alerts

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

In association with


Follow my RSS feed


Follow me on

Lee Ryder's Twitter


Sponsored Links