Steve McClaren Sacked At Newcastle, Benitez Incoming

mcclaren chronicleThe Chronicle

Finally, Steve McClaren has been put out of his misery at Newcastle United.

The whole situation was similar to watching a lame dog limp around a living room, while the family watched over it thinking ‘maybe it’s time to end it’.

Six days after overseeing an embarrassing home defeat to Bournemouth, Mike Ashley and club chairman Lee Charnley have manned up, loaded the rifle and pulled the trigger.

McClaren was out of his depth from day one at St James’ Park.

Not having full control over signings at a club where all the transfer decisions are made by chief scout Graham Carr was never ideal, although McClaren did make some breakthroughs in his short tenure.

townsend newcastleSky Sports

The former England manager succeeded in persuading Ashley to part with nearly £30m in January, signing England internationals Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend – who will no doubt improve the team.

But it all came too late for McClaren (and maybe Newcastle), as the club slipped into the relegation zone after failing to conjour up any kind of fight required for a basement battle.

And that’s why he was axed, with Rafa Benitez already in advanced talks to take over.

The Spaniard has been keen to return to the Premier League since being sacked as Real Madrid manager, although Newcastle probably wasn’t the first choice destination.

Rafa uefaUEFA

That was likely Anfield, but Jurgen Klopp was appointed in October and any chance of a romantic return went down the shitter.

All the top jobs are unavailable in England, with Manchester City making their move for Pep Guardiola earlier this year, and a Chelsea return impossible for a man so hated at Stamford Bridge.

Outside the top clubs, Newcastle remains an attractive option for a manager looking for his next project.

Big stadium, massive fan base, a decent squad and money that just needs to be prized from Ashley’s deep pockets, Benitez could rebuild his reputation at St James’ Park quite easily.

sjp stadium guideStadium Guide

Should he be confirmed (and it’s looking as likely as Aston Villa playing in the Championship next year), Benitez will be charged with getting enough points in the final ten games to preserve Newcastle’s Premier League status.

He’ll also be tasked with overturning the dismal Tyne-Wear derby record, with the latest clash coming in what will be Benitez’s second game in charge – a coincidence, seeing as Sunderland’s previous three managers have beaten Newcastle in their second game in the dugout.

The former Valencia boss has stats on his side though, having had the seventh best win ratio of any manager to take charge of more than 50 games in the Premier League.

He’ll need that kind of record to keep the Geordies up because at the minute, they’re going down quicker than the Titanic.

From managing Cristiano Ronaldo to Emmanuel Riviere, good luck Rafa, you’re going to need it.