Date: 6th December 2010 at 6:17pm
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On the day that Hughton is dismissed as manager on Newcastle United, TOTT takes a look at the early front runners to replace him.

So Hughton has gone, working within severe financial constraints but regaining promotion at the first opportunity, developing a number of young players on the way. Some would argue that this decision was taken months ago, although the official reason given by the club is “an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward”.

This has been a convenient time to install a new manager, with a run of tough games coming up, and with the transfer window open in a fewweeks time.

The promises from the board of the club that Hughton`s contract would be renegotiated in the new year clearly meant nothing, despite Hughton`s record and his acceptance on the Newcastle terraces as indicated by the vociferous support given during the 5-1 win against Sunderland.

Naturally, attention turns to his successor. To maintain support, a decision needs to be made quickly, if it hasn`t been made already. If the club are to be believed, the range of candidates is limited.

Martin O`Neill

ne of the few managers to have played under one of the games greats, Brian Clough. Brought Wycombe Wanderers into the Football League with two further promotions. Consistently overachieved with Leicester taking them to the Premier League, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

League and cup successes marked him as a leading light in Scotland before moving back South of the border to take the reins at Villa, spending hugely to consolidate UEFA Cup positions. He left in need of a bigger transfer budget, something which Hughton was not afforded.

Plus points include no compensation required and that he has had a chance to take stock of the game over the last few months from an independent perspective, so should be ready to act in the January window. Against, following his wife, Geraldine`s severe illness, he may not wish to relocate to the North East. This could be his last chance to manage a big club in the Premier League, but it could provide his stepping stone towards the holy grail at former club Manchester United.

Martin Jol

anaged Ashley`s London team, Spurs, and would be a brave man to follow in the footsteps of his former number 2. His time at Spurs was not necessarily the happiest despite qualifying consistently for the UEFA Cup. His club spent £40m during one close season, although the signings may have been made above his head.

His more recent ventures were at Hamburg for a year, taking them to the top of the table for the first time in almost 10 years, before fading, as his team had at Spurs to finish 5th. Having moved to Ajax, he inherited a squad from Marco van Basten, which he guided to 2nd. This season, they are in 4th place, 5 points behind the leaders.

His Spurs connections will put him high on the wish list, although his teams have tended to fade. His attractive football style should appeal, even though the management style of Llambias and Ashley raise concerns about either his desire to come, or willingness to fall out.

Steve McLaren

anaged his country after overperforming with Middlesbrough having inherited an expensively assembled side as well as further financial backing from Steve Gibson. Significant moments include a League Cup win and a UEFA final. His pedigree includes working under one of the greats as assistant at Manchester United.

His reinvention led to winning a league title with Twente after qualifying for Europe in his first season. His next move was to become the first English coach in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg, being knocked out in the group stages. Behind Manchester United and CSKA. His team currently languish in 13th.

Although arguably the most successful current English manager, current form suggests that he could be a risk, and as with the two above, his track record suggests a significant investment would be demanded of the club owner.

Alan Curbishley

is managerial experience takes in Charlton who he kept in the Premier League despite the severe financial constraints at the club. Whilst there he developed n excellent reputation for developing players, who were sold on at huge profit. This would undoubtedly fit in the Newcastle`s stated long term goals.

At West Ham, he managed to survive against the odds, but left at the same sort of time as Keegan left Newcastle, and for similar reasons. It remains to be seen what sort of compromise could be reached up front with owner, Mike Ashley.

Those who have not been considered as in the reckoning, but with claims to having good top flight experience are former England manager, Glenn Hoddle, as well as former German manager and former Spur, Jurgen Klinsman. The man who performed miracles at Reading is not Alan Pardew, but the former Manchester United wandering winger, Steve Coppell.

Alan Pardew

as early backing, and Premier League experience. Like Chris Hughton, he achieved a promotion with West Ham to the Premier League, but was sacked in December following relegation form. After moving to Charlton, he managed to take them down. His last managerial spell was an unhappy time at Southampton. With a horrendous premier League record, this is the sort of joke that few people north of Sunderland would find funny.

Ian Holloway shows promise, but has little experience at this level, as does Owen Coyle. Paul Jewell also has Premier League experience, having taken Bradford up and down, managing to get to the top level with Wigan, just keeping them up. Jewell must be ranked as an outsider. In the same category is Billy Davies but fell out with the board after spending £15m in the transfer market. Despite attractive counter attacking football, he is also known for falling out with his current club. Phil Brown, Dave Jones and Aidy Boothroyd are the last of this category.

Another former top flight manager is Sven-Goran Eriksson, currently at Leicester and also known for winning things – with a big budget. Record recently as being a huge admirer of Tiote. An outsider with experience, albeit not in the Premier League, is Frank Rjikaard, currently available with a Champions League win with Barcelona. However, poor league form and an early exit from the Europa League saw him dismissed by Galatasaray.

The only other experienced managers available and likely to be within budget include former Newcastle incumbents, Shearer, Keegan , Dowie, Roeder, Kinnear, Allardyce, Souness and Dalglish. There is little doubt that Ashley would seek to look backwards. Steve Bruce will surely be a non-starter, especially after his current team were on the wrong end of a 5-1 thrashing at St James` earlier this season.

There will certainly be some outside bets put forward. They include a host of managers in other European leagues. A former rumoured target, Marcelino is also available, having made a good start to his career, but faded badly. Experienced available coaches possibly seeking a step up are Steve Clarke and Ray Wilkins.

Popular choices would undoubdtedly include some former Newcastle players. Apart from Shearer, Gary Speed has made the first step on the managerial ladder but has not had time to make an impact. Peter Beardsley and Steve Stone are the internal candidates, with Stuart Pearce being a Newcastle old boy with Premier League experience.

Lee Clark has made a hugely positive start to his career at Huddersfield, just missing out on promotion last season but with a brand of football reminiscent of his days as a part of the Entertainers. After Chris Hughton`s achievement, Clark`s t-shirt is probably Toon supporters` next most memorable moment involving Sunderland.

Still involved in the Champions League, it is probably too early to rule in Jose Mourinho.

There we have it, most of the candidates are covered, and who knows what will happen? Perhaps Ashley and Llambias already do!