Steve McClaren faces a tough job at Newcastle United

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The exclusivity of Steve McClaren's appointment should be almost as worrying to Newcastle United fans as the care-free hysteria that greeted Kevin Keegan's appointment in 2008.

Back then the mood was high and the streets were filled with 'Special K' boxes to announce the arrival of soon-to-be failure Kevin Keegan.

The club then embodied a team that reflected a community, a family. Now the atmosphere is poisonous and cold. A culture of secrecy and sackings. A thinly-veiled PR disaster.

This time around no such buzz surrounds Newcastle's new managerial appointment, And nor should there be. Newcastle are hiring a man who has turned them down twice and been sacked from his last four jobs.

There was to be no special announcement or fan fare at McClaren's arrival, just, according to the Mail, a solitary Newcastle fan.

Tough job

Despite the almost under-hand method in which the former England manager was appointed, the job isn't without its perks. A place on the board of directors and the possibility of an eight year contract would be enough to attract any manager to even this, one of the most destructive jobs in football.

So what next for Newcastle football club in the Ashley era? McClaren will clearly have this work cut out if he is to turn things around. It seems to be one of those rare occasion where a manager might benefit from taking a quick lesson from the Pardew school of management.

That's not to say he should leave the club before he starts, but instead to encourage and inspire those around him. Life the spirits of the players, a trick that worked wonders for Pardew as he just missed out on guiding the Toon Army to a fourth placed finish in the league.

McClaren needs to deliver

His first major challenge will be to guide Newcastle to the top-eight finish he has promised. To put the brakes on Newcatle's steady decline will be hard enough, let alone to guide the club back in the right direction. The transfer window will be crucial for Newcastle's hopes. Talk of a Caybe return could make life easier for the Dutch manager, his creative spark and goal-threat from midfield was a large part of what made Newcastle so strong just a few seasons ago.

The main challenge will be Mike Ashley. He proved too bigger hurdle for previous manager Pardew to clear and McClaren will have to show some serious grit and determination to be able to work effectively with the Sports Direct owner. A strong relationship with Ashley could mean more money to be spent and less sackings to be had at Newcastle this season and be vital to the success of the club.

McClaren will have to be fighting fires all over the shop once he takes full charge of the club. It'll take a consistent run of top-performances to convince the cynical and skeptical fan base that have witnessed their club briefly dive into the mercy waters of the relegation battle that things are on the up in tyneside.

Newcastle United will need a headline-free pre-season and a solid start to next seasons domestic campaign before they are adjudged to have made any meaningful progress, but with sharks mouths open-wide beneath him, McClaren will need to hit the water swimming if he is to survive in Tyneside.

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Premier League
Alan Pardew
Newcastle United

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