Remi Garde was not Tomas Tuchel, but was one of the more intriguing names that was connected with Newcastle United's vacant head coaching seat following Alan Pardew's departure and through the summer of 2015. For long stretches of time, he was the bookmakers' favorite to take over on a permanent basis. Through rumors and innuendo, it felt at some points like Garde was very close to accepting the job, only for him to ultimately pass on the opportunity for unknown reasons.
Today brings news that Garde has been appointed at Aston Villa, where he will take over the one team that is demonstrably worse than Newcastle through the first 11 matches of the 2015-16 season (Villa play Spurs in a few hours, so this may be an incorrect statement eventually, but as of writing it is true). Villa is not too different from Newcastle on the surface. They too brought in several exciting young talents over the summer. They have been disappointing over a period of years. Frequently in relegation battles. They're not too different, which is why this stings a little bit.
It must be assumed that his passing on the Newcastle job was one of two things: 1) It was a matter of "I feel like I can get something better if I wait" or 2) He was never truly in the frame from the club's end and/or his name wasn't Steve McClaren. If it was the former, you have to wonder exactly what it is that would qualify Aston Villa as a "better" job than Newcastle United. If the latter, you wouldn't be surprised as the club have a history of locking on to a target, letting a story fester and fester, allowing the story to grow organically while there is only ever one result possible but the club won't be pushed into announcing anything on your time line thank you very much.
It seems likely that, if Garde ever truly was in the frame to replace Pardew, promises of change from Mike Ashley must've fallen upon deaf ears. Or, Garde didn't possess that extra motivation of having just been fired from his second-division team where he would have had pause to say "Hey, remember that one time you tried to hire me?". We'll never know what the truth of the situation was or wasn't... it's not how Ashley's management team operate. What we do know is that a very interesting name from the search for Pardew's replacement has essentially now said "Aston Villa is a better job than yours". Long term, maybe Garde doesn't work out in the Premier League. Maybe Steve McClaren progresses past the "We're making progress!" phase of his reign. Only time will tell, but for now... this one stings a little bit.