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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 9, 2008

Sir Bobby 'stunned' by Allardyce departure

Former Newcastle United boss Sir Bobby Robson admits he was 'stunned' to hear of Sam Allardyce's departure as manager of the club - and believes the number of managers leaving their posts is 'sad' for the game.

Robson, who lifted the club away from relegation after taking charge in 1999 and led them to Champions League qualification, was himself sacked by Newcastle in 2004.

Allardyce has left his post by 'mutual agreement' after a poor start to the job, having taken over in May.

Robson told BBC Radio Five: 'Like most people I was very surprised and stunned by the news.

'I was in his company on Tuesday night, I went to see Newcastle reserves play Sunderland reserves and Sam was there.

'So hearing the news was without doubt a surprise, and I am stunned. That's the eighth Premiership manager we've lost this season already. The pressure is too much now in the Premiership.

'The dismissals of manager are coming fast and frequent and it's rather sad for the game in many respects.'

Newcastle fanzine editor Mark Jensen believes the club's supporters had a 'pre-conceived idea' of the brand of football Allardyce would bring to St James' Park.

The former Bolton manager parted company with the club on Wednesday after replacing Glenn Roeder.

He has endured a difficult reign and leaves the club 11th in the Barclays Premier League - 10 points away from a UEFA Cup spot and nine points from the relegation zone.

The 53-year-old has long been viewed as a purveyor of `ugly' football, and Jensen, editor of The Mag, admits Newcastle fans are desperate for a return to the entertaining approach last seen under Kevin Keegan.

'At the end of the day it's all about results and entertainment and we had very little entertainment,' he said.

'Any manager goes by their results. Maybe people felt there wasn't progress on the pitch - whether that would have changed over time we will never know.

'Newcastle fans had a pre-conceived idea of the football that he would play - I don't think he did much to dispel that.

'I think he maybe tried to play a style of football that didn't suit players he had available - whether he'd had time to bring in his own players, would he have been able to do it at a higher level than he did at Bolton?

'But despite that, if he had got the results he would still be manager of Newcastle United.'

Allardyce was the sixth permanent manager since the departure of Keegan in 1997, but despite his short tenure Jensen is not convinced that he would have brought success even if he had been given time.

'I'm gutted that another manager goes and another manager who hasn't been able to bring success to Newcastle - he's just another in a long line,' he added.

'People say you've got to give time to make a success of a club. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have been successful because they have been given time.

'But if you pick the wrong one and give them time then it's time down the drain.

'I think it was a bizarre set of circumstances that only days after he joined there was a change of ownership at the club.

'I think any manager would have found that hard to get their head around.'

Former Newcastle forward Mick Quinn believes the fans got what they wanted and insists the only man for the job now is Geordie legend Alan Shearer.

'From the fans' point of view they are probably a little bit disillusioned with the way things were. When Sam came to the club they expected a lot more,' he said.

'There was a whole mood of frustration and nothing much has moved on from previous seasons.

'Mike Ashley is no mug and he's being sitting amongst them and listening to them.

'He (Allardyce) is strong enough to take it and he'll be disappointed because he's a passionate guy. The fans have won again and they'll want one of their own now.

'Alan Shearer would be as good as anyone. He turned down a move to Manchester United - forget the goals he scored - they are eternally grateful for that and they want him as their number one.'