Newcastle United concluded this afternoon’s 2-1 home loss to Hull City with some portion of the home supporters making an early exit in order to take part in the day’s demonstrations against chairman Mike Ashley (above). When Saturday Comes Daily reported yesterday that telephone tycoon Anil Ambani — previously linked to a mooted Everton sale — has expressed interested in purchasing the club and “wants to bring back Kevin Keegan, who may be fated to keep returning to the club for the rest of his life, like some tortuous punishment handed down by the gods in a Greek myth.”
If Ashley is to press on with a sale it would seem sensible to not appoint a new manager in the meantime as compensation payments to another club would only add to the new owner’s burden. However, while some press reports today suggest that caretaker Chris Hughton will be asked to stay on for at least several more weeks, others say that a decision will be made soon, maybe within the next week, on Keegan’s successor. Spurs assistant manager Gus Poyet is still favourite but Paul Ince is also strong contender according to the local press in the north east. As well as being an England team-mate of Newcastle’s executive director Denis Wise, Ince was also given his first coaching role at Swindon when Wise was manager there. Having lost Mark Hughes in the summer it is fair to assume that Blackburn would strongly resist any approach for their current manager.
Another of Wise’s former colleagues, Didier Deschamps, remains available without any messy payoff complications. Indeed, Deschamps’ chances of landing the job he is said to prefer, that of French national coach, have receded in the wake of the team’s midweek victory over Serbia, even though the game was marked by home crowd chants of “Domenech, demissionÃ©!”. While Newcastle fans will be making similarly stark demands throughout tomorrow’s match both inside and outside the stadium, the fact is that they can exert almost no influence over who controls their club other than to ensure that an unpopular owner doesn’t dare show up in person. The best they can hope for is that Mike Ashley’s successor doesn’t patronise them by pretending to be a fan.
While making little noise on the transfer market of late, QPR preceded tomorrow’s encounter with Southamption by announcing the acquisition of former Italian international Damiano Tommasi. The former Roma/Verona midfielder holds the distinction of being the only professional athlete I’m aware of to receive props from the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano for his 2005 insistence on being paid a mere ‚¬1,500 a month whilist rehabbing from a knee injury. So there’s still hope for Billy Wagner, then.