Ex-Sunderland boss backs McClaren for Newcastle United

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren

Malcolm Crosby has given incoming Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren a glowing reference - and told Toon fans he will get it right at St James’s Park.

McClaren is set to be unveiled as Newcastle’s new head coach this week after returning from holiday.

He organises teams and gets the best out of players

Malcolm Crosby

He will bring a wealth of experience to the job, having guided Middlesbrough to a League Cup triumph and a European final, managed England, been No 2 at Manchester United when they won the treble in 1999 and won the Dutch title with FC Twente.

His appointment has still left some fans feeling flat, however, who had hoped for a younger, fresher coach to be put in place.

Crosby, who was yesterday unveiled as Gateshead’s new manager, knows McClaren very well, having worked with him at Oxford and Middlesbrough, and says Newcastle are getting one of the best coaches in the business.

“I think he will do well with them (Newcastle),” said Crosby. “He will get them right and he will get them organised and make them a harder team to play against.

“He’s a good manager and people have missed the boat with him, they really have.”

Crosby and McClaren will have an instant chance to renew their friendship when Gateshead host Newcastle in a pre-season friendly on July 10 at the International Stadium.

It will be both men’s first game in charge of their new teams, and Crosby is looking forward to hopefully forging a close link between the two clubs.

“We worked together at Oxford and Middlesbrough,” he added. “He’s a good man and a good manager so it wouldn’t be a problem.

“I joined Oxford in 1993 with Denis Smith as assistant and Steve was a youth coach. He went to Derby and then Man United and he recommended me for a job at Derby when he left.

“We got on well and he took me to Middlesbrough and he’s a good manager and a good coach.

“He’s one of the best I’ve worked with. He organises teams well and he gets the best out of players.

“The England job came at a bad time. If he had been a manager for another three or four years he would probably have gone to a really top club and then got the England job. But you’re not going to say you don’t want it because you might never get the opportunity again so I understand why he took it.

“The first thing I said to him was ‘are you crackers?’ but then you look at it you think you can’t not take it as you might never get asked again.” One thing that McClaren will be getting asked after his appointment at Newcastle is rubber-stamped is whether he can loan Gateshead any players – not that Crosby is confident of getting help!

“He doesn’t normally give me anything but I will knock on his door,” he laughed.

If that avenue is closed, Crosby has plenty others through his links at Middlesbrough and Sunderland. “I don’t know how many loans I can have. But there will be players who get released.”