Good morning, Toon Army. Obviously, today's links will be dominated by news of Chris Hughton's sacking and the search for his replacement. Before we jump in, I want to share with you this piece of bitter poetry:
In the hours following the news that Hughton had been let go, the interweb devolved into a cesspool of unsubstantiated rumor and speculation reported as fact. You'll find none of that here. Follow the jump to get the full rundown on this story.
If you've been living under a rock and were surprised by the intro to this morning's links, here is our quick hit on Chris Hughton's sacking.
Peter Beardsley, the reserve team manager who was rejected by Hughton as Colin Calderwood's replacement, will be the caretaker, with Steve Stone assisting. (The Chronicle)
Simon Bird of MirrorFootball reveals several ugly behind-the-scenes problems that led to Hughton's dismissal. A fascinating read.
Hughton, for his part, was classy and thanked the fans for their support. (The Chronicle)
The backlash against this move was swift and decisive. In an online poll given by The Guardian, 96.6% of all respondents (not just Newcastle fans, mind you) disagreed with the decision. The other 3.4% are presumably mackems.
Writers across the internet also condemned the move. This headline says it all: "Newcastle Sack Manager Chris Hughton: Let the Circus Recommence." (Matt Micheletti, EPLTalk) Steve Anglesey of MirrorFootball calls Newcastle a "joke club" and reveals that one Premier League official called a reporter to tell him that he hopes the Toon are relegated. Paul Bestall of EPLTalk says that given Mike Ashley's history, this move was "inevitable." In a very illuminating article, Louise Taylor of The Guardian writes about Chris Hughton's loyalty that ultimately doomed him. James Beckett of EPLTalk reasons that if a great guy and company man (not to mention good coach) like Chris Hughton can get screwed over by Mike Ashley, then nobody should want to work for him. Salient point. Marc Duffy of ESPN Soccernet aims his anger squarely at Mike Ashley.
Several players and personalities connected to the club weighed in as well. Kevin Nolan had nothing but good words for his former boss (Shaun Custis, The Sun), while Sol Campbell was considerably more angry. (The Sun) Former assistant Colin Calderwood, who left just seven weeks ago to take over the head job at Hibernian, called the move "stupid." (The Chronicle) He also hinted that one of the reasons he decided to leave was that he could see the writing on the wall for Hughton. (Luke Edwards, The Journal) Former striker Malcolm McDonald called the move "a very harsh decision." (James Riach, Sky Sports) Finally, former Toon striker Micky Quinn ripped Mike Ashley in a rant that is very worthy of your time. (Alex Varney, talkSPORT - AUDIO)
The search for a replacement has produced several names, with four of them surfacing most frequently. Lee Clark, the former Magpie midfielder whose name was immediately brought up by many in the media, says that he is committed to his work at Huddersfield. Alan Pardew says that he is "strongly interested" in the job. (Sachin Nakrani, The Guardian) Martin O'Neill has been linked, though I haven't seen any interviews with him yet. (Steven Constable, CaughtOffside, ignore the headline on this story) In a particularly intriguing turn of events, Martin Jol, who has had a rocky relationship with Ajax, resigned today, (The Guardian) fueling speculation that he could be headed to Newcastle. (Louise Taylor, The Guardian)
In other news, Joey Barton will be ready to play on Saturday against Liverpool. Every cloud, right? (Sky Sports)