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ManagerWatch Update: Has The "Short List" Become Less Short?

Mike Ashley's Newcastle United have turned misdirection and misinformation into an art form. Is the latest rumor regarding NUFC's coaching search another example of that?

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If we feed them THIS little tidbit...
If we feed them THIS little tidbit...
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

If there were to be a race between Newcastle United's movement in finding a new head coach and a glacier, I'm relatively certain that the books would open up at evens or very short odds in favor of the glacier.  In spite of that, we trudge on with Manager Watch as new names have ruled themselves out of the running and there is potential that a number of short list names are set to be ruled back in.

I'm out. Leave me alone. (Probably)

With the volume of names flying around, it has always felt relatively easy to take a wide view and pluck some of the names out and say "That just doesn't make much sense."  This, of course, is really easy to do when you think you know things and you probably really don't... but then it feels really cool when those names end up ruling themselves out of consideration.  Of course, it could just be that they themselves know that it doesn't make sense that they were ever connected with the job in the first place (if in fact they ever really were) but want to go on public record as refusing the job because they're loyal, honest type blokes.  As we've seen with Nile Ranger, once you've been connected to Newcastle United, you will always be referred to as "former Newcastle United _____" so in that spirit we can say that the following:

Former Newcastle United head coaching candidate Glenn Hoddle has ruled himself out of the running for the top coaching spot at St. James' Park.  The former Tottenham Hotspur boss who "didn't succeed at Wolves because he is too good to manage in the Championship" (according to a pro-Hoddle for NUFC column a few days back) never really made much sense.  The same combination of expected wage, relative reputation and willingness to accept a 0-say in transfers that makes Remi Garde such an attractive candidate really kind of ruled him out early, but now we can be mostly official about it.

Former Newcastle United head coaching candidate Eddie Howe has also ruled himself out of the running to be Newcastle's head coach. Current Bournemouth top man Howe has the club leading the charge to promotion to the Premier League next season and was another name that just didn't make much sense to me as names were being bandied about.  Sure he makes better sense than Hoddle, but even still there a more restrictive position at Newcastle United while he looks set to either prove or disprove himself as a PL level manager with his own players next season never seemed likely.

Blurring The Line Between Being Chased and Chasing

As I've been writing this, I checked oddstracker again just out of curiosity to see if the next tidbit had caused any movement in the betting lines for next permanent manager of NUFC.  Imagine my shock to see that Tim Sherwood is now occupying the top line as "bookies' favorite" for the position.  I can find no acknowledged/reported reason for this, so I will assume that this as a late cash grab by the betting sites as Remi Garde continues to become more prominent in the discussion... with the caveat/reminder that Mike Ashley and his NUFC front office are basically the Barry Sanders of the NFL with regard to their elusiveness and evasiveness when they don't want you to know something.

The news out today on the Remi Garde front is twofold.  It seems to be accepted that Newcastle United and Garde will be meeting next week to discuss the position.  Luke Edwards of The Telegraph is also positing that Garde has in fact become more of the hunter than the object of the hunt as he is pressing to take the position immediately.  I won't go back into exactly why Garde seems like a good fit for Newcastle and why his apparent acute desire to be the next Newcastle boss would be a positive thing.  You can find that information here if you missed it.  With the reality in which we are living – a reality in which we are left to infer and speculate based on partial information at best – it could be a little unsettling if you have become pro-Garde.  It is especially so when combined with the other (unsourced) statement by Edwards that supposes that "there is a temptation among the Newcastle hierarchy to leave Carver in charge of the team until the end of the season before assessing the situation again."  Of course this has always been a possibility on the table... but if Garde is truly pressing hard to take the position now, it opens speculation as to where he may actually rest on "The Short List"... and if he believes himself to be beneath some of the summer-only candidates for the post, where do the club reckon him and...

/takes breath, does relaxation exercise

What we do know at this point is that Newcastle appear to be interested in Garde.  Garde appears to be very interested in Newcastle.  All other assertions to the contrary, while certainly within the realm of possibility, are speculation and could be (if you're a pessimist with regards to the internet) vehicles to drive page views while there's a distinct lack of action in and around the club regarding the head coach spot and the transfer window.

But if...

Let us say that where there smoke there is fire.  Newcastle United don't rate Garde as highly as it seems that they do at this point and Carver is installed as caretaker until the end of the season.  In this supposition, there is never a caveat of "Carver until the end of the season with a view to become permanent manager"... it's always "Carver to get to a more suitable candidate".  If Carver was the long term man, they'd just give it to him now, right?  So Carver gets us to the summer and brings names like Frank de Boer, Steve McClaren, Christophe Galtier and Thomas Tuchel (without compensation owed to Mainz) back into the frame.  de Boer, McClaren and Galtier have all stated that they would not be willing to leave mid-season but even so will still be in situations in which their current clubs will be owed some manner of fee to buy out their contracts which run until 2017, 2017 and 2016 respectively.  Are any of these names more likely to take the job and succeed at a level higher than Remi Garde or Thomas Tuchel (I mean, if you're going to pay a fee for the other three names in the summer, why not entertain paying the fee for Tuchel now?) could do if you give them the reins now?  If you suppose that these candidates are greater than Carver, which as we stated before would be the case, you are left with the question: how much money would we lose in league placement if we keep a man who is deemed unworthy of the permanent job in place... and would that be offset by monetary gain in reduction of fees paid to get the man they want?

100% of this is conjecture.  It is as likely that we will end up with Alan Curbishley as it is that we will wind up with Remi Garde or Frank de Boer.  As it sets as the only thing left in this season worth paying attention to, however, Ashley and co. are certainly milking it for all they're worth.