WITH time appearing to run out on Alan Shearer’s ambitions of managing Newcastle United this season, Ryan Taylor has backed Chris Hughton to be the club’s next permanent boss.
Shearer’s best hopes of re-taking the job he held temporarily last season lie with his friend Barry Moat, the local businessman trying to buy United. But yesterday Moat was served with a very public ultimatum by current owner Mike Ashley.
Although no timescale was outlined in the statement, it is thought he has been given seven days to secure the bank support needed to complete a buy-out. If not, the club will be taken off the market.
And with relations between Ashley and Shearer apparently frosty, that could finally close the door on the latter.
Hughton has built a strong case recently, leading the Magpies to a draw and three consecutive wins in their opening Championship matches. Saturday’s 2-0 success over Crystal Palace emboldened him sufficiently to declare he wanted the job full-time, and utility player Taylor says the players support that.
“Chris has been fantastic and the lads are all behind him,”
said the versatile 25-year-old. “We enjoy working for him and would love to see him at the club for a long time.
“The lads want him. He’s a really nice chap and a very good coach. We only know what we read in the papers. I tend not to get involved. In training no one’s really bothered what’s going on upstairs, we go in and train.”
Taylor praised the team spirit within the United camp and recent results back up his comments.
“We’ve not got anyone who’s playing for themselves, we’re playing for each other and the club,” he said. “There are rumours of people leaving but we’ve got a settled team and I don’t want anyone else to go. We also need a few extra bodies to come in and we’ll be fine.”
Newcastle’s statement was typically brief and not especially informative for fans who have been kept in the dark all summer. But it did confirm securing the club’s overdraft is the sticking point for Moat.
“Newcastle United confirm that we have extended our deadline to Barry Moat to table an offer for the club,” it read. “The extension is being granted to allow Barry Moat and his advisers to conclude funding arrangements with Barclays, current bankers, for the continuation of last season’s £39m facility. This would allow a formal offer to be tabled.”
It has been frustratingly slow progress since the Magpies were put up for sale in the days after relegation to the Premier League was confirmed in late May.
Then it seemed a matter of time before Shearer would be installed as manager, having presided over the final eight games of the campaign as caretaker. But despite claims from managing director Derek Llambias in early July that “more than two” parties had met Ashley’s £100m asking price, the front-runner has not even lodged a bid.
While Newcastle continue to prevaricate, targets are moving elsewhere. Striker Tommy Smith passed a medical at Reading yesterday, while Sol Campbell looks increasingly likely to join League Two side Notts County.
At least matters on the field have been positive, with Taylor and Kevin Nolan notching first goals for the club at the weekend.
“It’s been a long time coming,” admitted Taylor. “I’ve had a few sniffs but when it finally dropped for me, it was nice to see it hit the back of the net.
“Hopefully this is the first of a few for me.”
Meanwhile, Bristol Rovers manager Paul Trollope has asked to extend United reserve goalkeeper Fraser Forster’s loan after the Hexham-born youngster’s promising start to life in League One. The 21-year-old has conceded three goals in four games at the Memorial Ground.