Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

To Be Quite Frank, United's Relegation Plight Is No Shock for Old Boy Clark; Former Newcastle Hero Frank Clark Not Surprised at Toon Drop, and Backs Shearer to Lead Them Up

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

To Be Quite Frank, United's Relegation Plight Is No Shock for Old Boy Clark; Former Newcastle Hero Frank Clark Not Surprised at Toon Drop, and Backs Shearer to Lead Them Up

Article excerpt

Byline: STAEVE BROWN

WHILE Tyneside strains to recover from the shock of relegation, Frank Clark is NOT surprised Newcastle United are no longer Premier League.

Anointing Alan Shearer, he adds, is the ONLY way back.

Having stepped into the formidable shoes of one Brian Clough following his and Nottingham Forest's top-flight demise in 1993, Clark knows better than most the now familiar adage that no club is too big, no team too good to go down.

While the Fairs Cup winner cannot believe United have failed to claim a major trophy since 1969, awareness of the errors committed during Mike Ashley's St James's Park reign make demotion to the Championship a good deal easier to conceive.

Looking on the bright side, ending 40 years of hurt with the second-tier trophy would be "fantastic".

He hopes it happens under Shearer's watch, for Clark fears no other manager can succeed in the job until the Toon legend has at least had a go himself.

Clark said: "I don't know Alan that well, but I hope he takes it because I think it is going to be very difficult for anybody to manage Newcastle United until he has done the job.

"Hopefully, he will do it and be successful. We all want, and wish him, that.

"However, in the long-term what matters, whether Alan is or is not successful, is that the next fellow will have a chance to succeed.

"Nobody will have a chance to manage Newcastle for any length of time unless Alan has had a try at it first." The elephant in the room, if you will. Just as relegation is now.

Not, though, to Clark, who knows the sooner United begin responding to that reality the better.

He added: "I can believe the club's in the situation it is now in.

"I live in Nottingham now, so I get my information from a distance.

"It is clear even from there they have made a lot of mistakes, and the game in the Premier League is unforgiving.

"All this rubbish about clubs who are too good to go down, or too big to go down - if you don't get it right, or if you make too many mistakes, the game will bite you.

"A lot have been made of their plight and unfortunately they are where they are. …

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