Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Truth Is United Are in a Fine Old Mess

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Truth Is United Are in a Fine Old Mess

Article excerpt

MAYBE United fans have become a little disturbed over the length of time Alan Shearer and Mike Ashley have been locked in talks over the manager's job.

To be truthful, I haven't been surprised because there is certainly an awful lot to talk about.

The club is in such an almighty mess that Shearer has had much homework to do and a lot of demands to make before taking over permanently.

Equally, Ashley has been so let down by his so-called mates Dennis Wise and Tony Jimenez that only now is he realising the full extent of the mess created in his name.

It is dreadful, an awful burden to carry forward and Shearer wouldn't put his head in the noose without some guarantees that he'll have a chance of working a miracle.

The man is a serious-headed, business-minded person who won't rush into a minefield. I know one or two fans trying to look on the bright side are thinking that relegation to the Championship will automatically allow United to cull all the big-name nonperformers on huge contracts and bring in more hungry players on less wages to have a crack at promotion.

Well, in reality it doesn't work like that. I found that out years ago when I took over at Fulham, a former Newcastle and England No 9 trying to make my way as a young manager just like Shearer now.

Getting rid of the big hitters is an awful problem because they simply won't go. They are sitting on fat wage packets that another club will never match.

Take Damien Duff, the first player to come out and say he wants to stay. "I'm loyal," he told us all. Fair enough, except that on around pounds 70,000 a week it pays to be loyal.

Which other club is going to match that, never mind top it, at this stage of his career? Then there is Xisco. I'm told he signed a six-year contract at pounds 50,000 a week. That means he has five years left which equates to pounds 12. …

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