Steve McClaren has done things very differently since his appointment as Newcastle's head coach. He has spoken to the Supporters' Forum, something none of Alan Pardew, Lee Charnley, nor Mike Ashley have ever done. He has a spot on the board and has a say in transfers. That is also unheard of! Today, he added to that list, taking fans' calls on live radio.
You read that correctly. Steve McClaren--a Newcastle United coach--went on the air and spoke to fans. You can listen to the full interview yourself here, once the BBC finalizes the audio.
One of the things he put to bed is the armband debate: who will be the captain for the 2015/16 season? A list of very strong candidates were thrown out--Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, and Jack Colback to name a few--but it will be none of these.
Fabricio Coloccini will be this season's captain.
The Argentinian international is in his final year of his contract and turns 34 this January. Despite missing the entire preseason with an Achilles injury, Colo looks like he will be fit for the season opener. He has gone on the record with Steve McClaren that he wishes to finish off his contract and, ultimately, his career as a Magpie. The two, per the call, have talked a lot about the upcoming season, and McClaren likes what he hears.
This might one of the first divisive decisions made by McClaren as a coach. A lot of people I speak to regularly find Coloccini to be past his prime and should make way for younger players. With Chancel Mbemba the lone defensive reinforcement this season, he's still better than the other alternatives.
Entering his 8th season with Newcastle, Coloccini is by far the most senior player in the squad. Keeping on your most seasoned veteran's good side will ensure a healthy locker room atmosphere. He is not the most vocal captain I have seen--he was very quiet when I saw him play live--but he is respected and gives everything he has for the team.
I suspect this is Coloccini's swan song in the team, and it cannot be a more fitting gesture than to have Coloccini keep the armband for just one more season.