Date: 11th January 2008 at 9:50am
Written by:

It`s been a while since we heard anything from Kenny Dalglish on the club but in the wake of Allardyce`s sacking and various mentions of the job being a jinx, poisoned chalice etc, our former boss has come out to put things to rights:

“Every time the vacancy at Newcastle United has been discussed the words ‘poisoned chalice’ are mentioned. Well, you can forget that. Managing the Magpies was a privilege for me and it should be for any manager who is given the chance to take charge of a football club where the password is passion.

I have been lucky enough to work in two of football’s greatest hotbeds – Liverpool and Glasgow – where football is almost a religion, but both are divided cities: Liverpool or Everton; Rangers or Celtic. In Newcastle, there’s just one side. In a way it is like a throwback to years ago. Even in the close season, they drive around in their black and white strip and nearly everywhere you go the debate is about football. In most other big cities, there are now other distractions and the game is not all-consuming like it was years ago. On Tyneside football is still king.

The attendances are unbelievable and the yearning for success is endless. There can be nobody in the city who doubts the affiliation of the supporters to the club. It’s a total identity. They love one of their own as their allegiance to Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson showed, but I didn’t have difficulty relating to what they wanted. The Geordies will take to anybody who can bring them success, but first you have to decide what constitutes success.

Keegan didn’t win anything, but he was rightly deemed a success because the team were close to relegation from the second flight and he masterminded promotion. And, at one stage, he took them to a 12-point lead in the Premier League.

When I left St James’ Park in 1998 I said the job offered a fantastic opportunity. Since then a few managers have come and gone. It’s a smashing place to live, Newcastle folk are great people to be around and the club’s facilities are second to none. I’m not sure Sam Allardyce’s demise was purely about results, they have 26 points and are 11th in the league, which is not embarrassing.

The new people came in after Sam had been appointed and perhaps they wanted their own man to buy players in the transfer window. I just hope the next manager is given time because there clearly needs to be an overhaul. Sam has said he had no regrets going there and neither did I. The only regret I had was that it came to an end.’

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