Perhaps the best news out of the club so far this off season is the apparent declaration that the club have, in fact, realized that – in spite of his Geordie roots and working class upbringing – John Carver is not the man to take our club into the 2015-16 Premier League. Does this apparent news give us any guarantee that Carver will not be The Man when August rolls around? Nah. This would not be the first time that the club under Mike Ashley had set up an elaborate smokescreen to cover a tremendously unpopular decision. It does, however, give us something to hold on to just in case they actually do what we think they will do for once.
The Front Runners
According to oddschecker.com, there is a very clear two-man group leading the "contenders" for the permanent post at Newcastle United. One of the names has been around since this all began while one is every bit as surprising as it is intriguing. The same is reflected in the reporting around the situation, although depending upon who you're listening to at a particular time on Ye Olde Internetz. If the odds are to be believed currently, there is only one other name currently that could be considered likely to be in the conversation at a somewhat serious level. Who have we got, then?
Seemingly coming out of nowhere in the last day or so is the former French international midfielder who has been coaching Manchester City's Elite Development team while he is finishing work on his coaching licenses through the Welsh FA. Without managerial experience, the former Arsenal midfielder would be a risk, but it does bear noting that one of his classmates in the Welsh "
UEFA A (duh - ed.) UEFA PRO" class is current Swansea City boss Garry Monk, who is two years Vieira's junior and was every bit as untested before taking the reins at the Welsh club. Granted, Monk's success – he just completed leading Swansea to their best-ever point total in the Premier Leage – does not ensure success for any club trying to go a similar direction with the appointment of Vieira. For his part, however, Vieira has put forward his willingness to draw from the experience of managers such as classmate Monk with whom he has had several conversations about ideology and experience.
It is hard to know exactly what tactics or training ideas would come in with his appointment as Manchester City have installed a club-wide tactical idea that all levels play with, but quotes have shown that Vieira is well aware of the need to follow a personal style and is being trained well by the Welsh FA to do so. Currently as short as 1/2 (Bet Victor), Vieira would want substantial investment in a playing squad that has grown stagnant under the rule of Alan Pardew and John Carver. It may or may not mean something that, since stories relaying that requirement, there have been stories saying Mike Ashley is guaranteeing 6 new arrivals this summer. There is also the hope that the former Les Bleus man would be able to finally mine the best from the French contingent in the squad.
In spite of turning the club down no fewer than three times during the season and reports saying that sources within Newcastle United have said the former Derby County manager had "burned any bridges" to an appointment to the Newcastle hot seat, McClaren has spent a considerable amount of time at the top of the odds chart recently. Most sites have him at longer than even odds (if only barely) with odds of 11/10 being the most common (Paddy Power, Ladbrokes). While McClaren is certainly a better option than Carver, but the concern is by how much? His managerial career is uneven at best and Derby's collapse at the end of the Championship season has not inspired confidence in a man that will be required to come in and breathe new life into a lifeless squad. It could be that the former 'Boro boss may be the end result of a "hey we tried" coaching search, but there are other names out there that are more inspiring if more unlikely.
Laudrup had Swansea playing some very nice stuff during his time at the club, but reports that he was unable to keep the squad motivated and in harmony within the locker room led to his removal and replacement by Monk. While the style of play would be welcome at St. James' Park, the concerns that led to his departure from Swansea may be the same concerns that preclude his appointment at Newcastle United. A clique-heavy and fractured dressing room is something that has been reported before about this squad (especially around the time of Yohan Cabaye's departure) and a manager who may not be able to prevent this from happening again would likely be a step backwards no matter how attractive the football on offer may be. He is in "third place" in the odds race, but at significantly longer odds than either of the two mentioned above, topping off at 10/1 (Bet Victor, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, William Hill).
It is reported that a "short list" does exist for the Newcastle United head coach position and that it is longer than Vieira and McClaren. There could still be a "dark horse" candidate that comes through and surprises us all. Alan Curbishley is still out there... Regardless of fans' desire to have something tied up sooner than later, it feels unlikely that a decision will be made quickly (don't forget that, according to Lee Ryder the search hasn't been that long yet because the 5 months spent since Pardew's departure don't count somehow) as the transfer window won't open until July 1. One could reasonably assume that we'll have a coach in place by then, but experience with this ownership group would suggest that it won't be one minute before it absolutely has to be.