Ashley begins manager search

first_img Press Association The sportswear tycoon, currently on holiday in Barbados, had already put the wheels in motion amid fevered speculation over the identity of the seventh permanent boss to occupy the St James’ Park hot-seat during his seven and a half year reign to date. Many of the names thrown up by the rumour mill have already been discounted by sources on Tyneside with current skipper Fabricio Coloccini and former York boss Nigel Worthington at the top of that list, while former Palace manager Tony Pulis and Tottenham counterpart Tim Sherwood are also understood not to be in the running. Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has launched the search for a new manager with Alan Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace imminent. Managing director Lee Charnley is the man conducting the search on Ashley’s behalf, although the club is unlikely to make a snap decision and Press Association Sport understands Pardew’s assistant John Carver and first-team coach Steve Stone will take care of team affairs for Thursday’s Barclays Premier League fixture against Burnley and the FA Cup third round trip to Leicester two days later. Carver, who will be without striker Papiss Cisse for three games after he accepted a Football Association violent conduct charge for elbowing Everton defender Seamus Coleman on Sunday, could be considered an outside candidate for the job on a permanent basis, although current Hull manager and fellow Geordie Steve Bruce may have stronger claims. There has been popular support for the club’s football development manager Peter Beardsley, while St-Etienne boss Christophe Galtier has been linked with the club on several occasions. However, Ajax manager Frank de Boer has ruled himself out and Ashley’s unwillingness to pay compensation makes a move for Derby’s Steve McClaren, who signed a three-year deal in August, unlikely. But what is clear is that Newcastle are unlikely to deviate from the club’s established masterplan as they look for a way forward, and whoever slips into Pardew’s shoes will have to buy into the same model under which he has operated during his time at the club. That blueprint, which involves recruiting players with potential, developing them and selling them at a profit, as the club did with Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy, is managed by chief scout Graham Carr, who like the manager, was handed an eight-year contract back in 2012, and he is likely to have a significant influence in identifying the number one choice. Reports have suggested that Pardew decided to call it a day after being told there would not be significant investment in the squad during the forthcoming transfer window, and fearing that key players, midfielder Moussa Sissoko among them, could be sold next month. But it is understood that he had been given assurances that the Magpies would remain “extremely strong” on that front and would not be allowing the likes of the France international, who has been linked with Paris St Germain and Arsenal, to leave in January. The Magpies sit in 10th place in the table after their 3-2 win over Everton, two places better off then they were when Pardew arrived in December 2010 as a hugely controversial replacement for Chris Hughton. What has transpired since has been eventful to say the least with the Londoner having ridden out a series of storms on and off the pitch, with Ashley repeatedly selling his best players from under him and not replacing them in the short term, but showing commendable support – other than his ill-fated decision to parachute in Joe Kinnear as director of football – in the face of fierce criticism from a vocal section of the club’s own support. His exit will bring an end to a difficult period in his managerial career, but the repercussions could prove equally intriguing back as Tyneside awaits developments. last_img read more

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Potential for sweep of UCLA is epic

first_imgI am giddy with excitement — a ruthless, vengeful, maniacal excitement. I haven’t felt this much evil excitement since I was probably 13, in the stretch of puberty and teenage angst.I’ve been blessed to grow up with some great years of USC sports. But I’ve never seen what could potentially happen today. It’s never happened in my generation.USC could complete a full sweep of UCLA in football and men’s basketball. And end UCLA’s basketball season. The city title would so clearly, indisputably, hang in Heritage Hall for a full year. The Victory Bell would ring loud and clear all the way until November.I’d like to think of myself as a nice, happy person. And I’m not that competitive either. I’d rather play a game of FIFA with a partner against the computer than go head-to-head.But I hated UCLA in middle school. OK, “hate” is a strong word, but I really, really, really didn’t like UCLA. I think I genuinely enjoyed beating UCLA as much as I enjoyed watching USC win at that age. I proudly displayed as my Facebook profile picture in 2009 — back before Facebook even had cover photos — the glorious, triumphant picture of two UCLA employees trying to scrub off a coat of red and gold paint from a campus Bruin Bear statue.Middle school is always a crucial phase in the coming age of a sports fan. For me, it meant a new school with new friends, and I needed an identity to latch onto. I had been raised during the height of the Pete Carroll era in football, but I had plenty of growing up still to do with USC sports, allegiances to form, pointless arguments to wage over the superiority of a couple football national champions to 100 non-revenue sport national championships, realizations to have that I wouldn’t be able to root for any other college football team five or so years before checking boxes on the Common App. The rivalry — and personally identifying as a Trojan — was a huge part of the social dynamic between me and all my friends.I had been indoctrinated by USC football very early. But to achieve true Trojan fandom, I had to jump in on basketball. For USC basketball, it was the perfect time to become a fan.Though maybe it does not quite warrant the distinction of being referred to as an era, the height of Tim Floyd’s tenure as the men’s basketball coach, between 2007 and 2009, was the pinnacle for the program. USC made the tournament three years in a row, had a couple wins in the tournament and, overall, was just fun to watch.But most importantly, we competed with UCLA.Of course, UCLA basketball was one of the premier national programs at this time. With future NBA stars like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love gracing the floor of Pauley Pavilion for the blue and gold at the time, they were a consistent national title threat and put together a string of Final Four appearances — though as I loved to remind my Bruin friends, none of those Final Fours actually added up to a ring.So anytime we could pull off an upset against UCLA, it was a big deal.Of course, we established our dominance on the gridiron. In my entire early fandom, the only time USC lost to UCLA was in 2006. It was just a given that we would beat them every year.And it was great. I loved that stepping on them was a rite of passage at the end of the season.But it wasn’t quite as special as every time the basketball team would steal one away in the rivalry. Winning in football was kind of like getting money from the tooth fairy. Obviously great, but only really memorable those times you got a $5 bill instead of the usual single — or in this case, when we beat UCLA 50-0. Winning in basketball was like growing up without an Xbox but still being able to take your friend down in Madden.At the root of the rivalry, beneath all the animosity, there was a genuine admiration for the Bruins. In the spirit of Anchorman, I might have hated the Bruins, but I sure did respect them. Almost as vividly as I remember the Trojans’ upset win over UCLA in the 2009 Pac-10 Tournament, I remember UCLA’s epic comeback win over Adam Morrison and Gonzaga in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.So it’s with a weird, almost verging on empathetic feeling that I go into tomorrow’s game. I never imagined there’d be a day when USC basketball could beat UCLA three times in one season and guarantee them a spot in the NIT instead of the real one. The rivalry is always better when both programs are at their strongest, so I gave up rooting against them every game a while ago.But the 13-year-old in me will absolutely be back in full force tonight. I’ll be very bummed if the chance for the sweep passes ‘SC by because it might not present itself for a while.And with me on track to graduate next year, it’ll almost definitely be last time it’ll potentially be socially acceptable to get a serious Facebook trash talk debate going.Luke Holthouse is junior majoring in policy, planning and development and print and digital journalism. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs on every other Wednesday.last_img read more

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