Graeme Jones ‘last managerial role was at Luton last year, but now he’s in charge of Newcastle … so can the former postman now deliver Toon’s first win of the season as caretaker at St James’ Park ?
- Graeme Jones has been told that he will lead Newcastle in the next two games
- Magpies visit Crystal Palace on Saturday before hosting Chelsea
- The new Saudi-led owners are still on the hunt for Steve Bruce’s replacement.
- There were suggestions that Paulo Fonseca was about to take over
Graeme Jones last coached a team when Luton drew 0-0 at Wigan. On Saturday afternoon he leaves in charge of the club with the richest owners in the world.
The BBC described that match at DW Stadium in March last year as “largely uneventful.” As Geordie has learned during his nine months on Tyneside, life in Newcastle is by no means monotonous.
Jones has been told that he will lead the team for the next two games, at Crystal Palace on Saturday and at home to Chelsea next weekend.
Graeme Jones has been told to take over Newcastle United’s next two games
The new owners led by Saudi Arabia are confident that he will buy them some time in their search to replace Steve Bruce. The response at Selhurst Park will be informative on how urgent the need for a standing appointment is.
On that front, bookmaker favorite Paulo Fonseca has not been offered the job, despite suggestions that he was close to taking over. He remains one of several names in the draw, but could well be surpassed as leader by Roberto Martínez, Lucien Favre or Unai Emery in the coming days.
Jones, however, has a chance to impress and will back it up. The 51-year-old is not lacking in self-confidence and is described by players as a fine line between friendly and fiery. A recent showdown in training with forward Dwight Gayle captured his passion and abrasive nature.
The former postman has stepped in as the new Saudi owners seek to replace Steve Bruce (left)
But underneath an occasional hot head lies a cool, tactical brain. He is a soccer obsessive who, when he arrived as Bruce’s assistant in January, surprised some players with his knowledge of them.
The buzz about Jones in those first few months was all positive and he earned a spot among Gareth Southgate’s backroom staff for Euro 2020, where Jordan Henderson took him right away.
Some have suggested his influence has waned this season, and a nine-game winless start would help keep all things off between the players and management. But with Bruce gone, this is an opportunity to do everything his way.
The new owners hope that an immediate improvement under Jones will buy them some time.
Callum Wilson gave a revealing interview to Alan Shearer on The Athletic over the summer, when he said: ‘The arrival of Graeme Jones as coach definitely complemented the coach because he is a little more conscious and tactically up-to-date, while the coach has his different strengths. .
“When you look at the results towards the end of last season, we had more style and philosophy. That will happen from the beginning of the season with a good coach around to help previous coaches. It has rejuvenated the place, first and foremost.
That good start hasn’t happened and, in a meeting with the players after Bruce’s departure, Jones told them that the board had been cleared.
Paulo Fonseca is a bookmaker’s favorite and reports suggest he’s close to taking over
But Newcastle’s new owners have yet to offer the former Roma manager the job.
His first press conference as an interim on Friday was measured and decisive. For a man who was delivering mail on the streets of Gateshead while struggling to become a professional 30 years ago, he did not seem intimidated by this elevated status. I told the players: “I will evaluate you on your actions for the next three days. My lineup and tactics will be based on my interpretation of that, ”he said. So the players have chosen themselves, or not, in some cases. We’ve been in eight games and that first victory should come soon. ‘
Jones also revealed that they have given him assurances about his future and since his longtime partner Martinez has fans within the consortium, don’t be surprised if they meet again in St James’ Park in the next few weeks. If Jones does well in the next seven days, perhaps it will influence the thinking of Amanda Staveley and company in the direction of Martinez, currently in charge of Belgium.
This, then, is far from a free kick for Jones. He has been given an opportunity that was probably beyond his wildest dreams when he left Luton second from the bottom in the Championship last year. The only thing that will feel the same at Selhurst Park on Saturday is your team’s position in the league standings.
Because, as the goalkeeper of the most talked about football club in the world during the last fortnight, the pressure falls on this former postman to comply.