On March 11 2016, Newcastle United confirmed that they had parted company with manager Steve McClaren after less than 12 months in charge.
The Englishman took over from John Carver as Magpies chief in the summer of 2015 as the North East giants sought to move to the next level after narrowly avoiding relegation, with ex-Middlesbrough and England boss McClaren the man they turned to in a bid to do just that.
Yet things went horribly wrong for the 57-year-old in eventually losing his job after only eight months in charge, although his departure came much to the delight of several Newcastle supporters on Twitter…
@NUFC good riddance
— Daniel Barfield (@_DanielBarfield) March 11, 2016
@NUFC about time
— Paul MacLean (@PaulMacL1) March 11, 2016
@NUFC took long enough!
— Not Ben (@Sam_Clarke20) March 11, 2016
@NUFC One problem gone, now for the players who only care about lining their pockets!
— [ICN] Beardlyson (@BeardIyson) March 11, 2016
@NUFC glorious news to see him go!
— richard_geordie (@RichardGeordie) March 11, 2016
— Jamie Eastlake (@jamieeastlake) March 11, 2016
— Norman Mkhwanazi (@NormanLMkh) March 11, 2016
— GAME Newcastle (@GAMENewcastle) March 11, 2016
But with his sacking coming too late into the season for new manager Rafa Benitez to salvage, it’s a major club decision which may well have been lauded by the Magpies faithful, but it was one that simply didn’t have the desired effect in the 2015/16 season.
Ultimately, there were a few raised eyebrows when McClaren got the job in the summer of 2015 given he struggled in the latter stages of his role at Derby County the season before, somehow missing out on a place in the Championship’s top six despite looking for all the world that the Rams would earn at least a play-off place.
Unsurprisingly, he lost his job at Pride Park but was rewarded with the Newcastle gig a few weeks later – a job he never really got to grips with, and as such one he simply wasn’t able to do justice throughout his time at St James’ Park.
It took the 57-year-old until the ninth Premier League game of the campaign to record his first league win, a 6-2 success over Norwich City on October 18, and only five further victories followed for McClaren before he was eventually, but certainly not surprisingly, relieved of his duties by owner Mike Ashley and the club’s hierarchy in March 2016.
The Magpies were languishing in and around the bottom three throughout McClaren’s tenure to underline just how far out of his depth he was, but the decision to sack him clearly came too late in the season to be rescued.
They may have pulled off quite a coup in convincing Benitez, who started that season in charge of Real Madrid, to take over from the 57-year-old, but he was left with very little time to try and drag the club out of the relegation mire – he actually accumulated 13 points from his ten games in charge that term, but it still wasn’t enough to avoid the drop.
And the board only have themselves to blame for sticking with McClaren too long – yes, he may have masterminded victories over Liverpool and Tottenham in December 2016, but it was clear he wasn’t up to the task of keeping the Magpies in the Premier League.
So while Newcastle fans rejoiced at the club’s decision to sack McClaren, it was too little too late that season, with relegation eventually confirmed just a matter of months later.
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