Date:Thursday May 18 2006
Freddy Shepherd said when he sacked Graeme Souness: 'Newcastle United will have a proven WORLD class manager by May, because this is one of the most important decisions of my career as Newcastle chairman'.
And the man who was booed during Alan Shearer's testimonial is adamant he has given the fans exactly what they want by appointing Glenn Roeder as manager.
Until he took over the caretaker job at St James' Park, Roeder had arguably the worst record of any manager in the last 20 years anywhere! He saw West Ham relegated; Watford relegated; and was sacked as manager of Gillingham when they were the bottom club in the Football League. But he has had a remarkable three months in charge at Newcastle, and Shepherd says his hands were tied by public opinion to make him boss.
Although the Magpies have been linked with Martin O'Neill, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Gerard Houllier, Sam Allardyce, Ronald Koeman and Alan Curbishley since Souness' departure in February, United's chairman claimed his mind had been made up by the support Roeder had received from the fans.
Shepherd: 'The support of the fans is very important. The supporters have identified Glenn as the man they want. We have listened to them. This is what they wanted. This is what they have got. Managers with a Geordie connection have a feeling for the club. Bobby nearly did it. He was here for five years and he almost achieved it. Glenn was here for six years, his kids went to school here. I view him as one of us. Newcastle has been his club for a number of years. He understands it.'
This 'Geordie connection' has long been a comment that has not won over many of the fans, and Shepherd continues to use it even though no Geordie manager has ever won the title. People can look at Bob Paisley, but he was born at Hetton-le-Hole near Sunderland. And how can we forget Shepherd saying 'the next manager will be a Geordie' and appoint Graeme Souness ... born in Edinburgh!
Shepherd added: 'We looked at other contenders, other applicants but Glenn has won the job with the results he has achieved. He is the highest-placed English manager in the Premiership this season and we felt he deserved the job.
'It has to be top six for Newcastle, with the players we have got and the set up we have; the facilities, the stadium, the training ground. We would expect any manager, not just Glenn, to achieve that given the wages we pay here. We pay Rolls Royce wages and we expect Rolls Royce performances.'
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