Allardyce axing leaves Newcastle searching for latest 'chosen one' with holidaying Shearer tipped for post

Last updated at 07:43 10 January 2008

Newcastle tonight launched the search for their eighth manager in 11 years

after Sam Allardyce's ill-fated reign came to a shock end.

The 53-year-old looked to have survived the worst of the intense pressure which

came his way as the Magpies' season lurched from one crisis to another.

Sam Allardyce

However, just four days after they avoided an FA Cup giant-killing act - if

only just - at Stoke on Sunday, owner Mike Ashley and chairman Chris Mort

decided the time was right to act.

Confirming that manager and club had parted company by mutual effect with

immediate effect, Mort said in a statement released on the club website, "Mike and I would like to place on record our thanks for Sam's

efforts and wish him well for the future.

"A new manager has not yet been appointed at Newcastle United. We will make a further announcement on the managerial position when


Coach Nigel Pearson, as he did following Glenn Roeder's departure in May last

year, will take charge for Saturday evening's daunting trip to Manchester

United, but the book on Allardyce's successor already has an overwhelming


Geordie hero Alan Shearer, who scored a record 206 six goals for the club in a

glittering 10-year career at St James' Park, has massive public support - he was

being quoted tonight at 4-6 - and the word on Tyneside tonight was that a

British manager is being targeted.

That would obviously rule out former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, whose name has

been mentioned in recent days.

Shearer, who is currently out of the country on holiday, has been studying for

his coaching qualifications for several years and would need only to be enrolled

on the UEFA Pro-Licence course to be allowed to manage in the Barclays Premier


The news came as a huge surprise to Allardyce, who conducted his pre-match

press conference for the United game this afternoon.

In the official statement, he said: "I am disappointed to be leaving Newcastle

United, but I wish the club all the best for the remainder of the season and for

the future."

Hours earlier, he had once again spoken of the need for managers to be given

time, and little can he have known just how quickly his was running out.

Asked if the pre-eminent manager of his era, Sir Alex Ferguson, was the classic

example of that, he replied: "Every manager who has been successful has been

given the time to put his dynasty into place. David Moyes is the same, Arsene

Wenger is the same.

"The trouble is today, that amount of time is no longer available. That is plain and clear for everybody to see, otherwise seven managers would

not have already been sacked in the Premier League this year."

That figure has now become eight and one of the most precarious jobs in a

precarious profession is up for grabs once again.

Allardyce, of course, was not appointed by Ashley, but by former chairman

Freddy Shepherd as he attempted to drag the club back to where he believed it


But within little more than a week of the former Bolton boss's arrival at St

James' Park, the billionaire businessman had launched his £134.4million

takeover, and Shepherd's days were numbered.

The new regime, amid rumours they would bring in their own man swiftly, gave

their backing to Allardyce and helped to fund his summer rebuilding programme

although, perhaps significantly, provided him with only a net £10million as

funds were raked in by the sales of, among others, Kieron Dyer and Scott


It was understood that the manager would not have major funds to invest during

the January transfer window, although the club last week had a bid for

Manchester United defender Wes Brown rejected, and Allardyce confirmed his

interest in Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra this afternoon.

However, he did so against the backdrop of persistent discontent on Tyneside as

his critics grew increasingly vociferous.

Allardyce made a point on his arrival of revealing his long-term plan for

success would take between three and five years to implement as he attempted to

address the flaws of previous administrations.

However, neither his signings nor the football his side produced succeeded in

inspiring the fans, even when results were going for him.

A 3-1 win at former club Bolton on the opening day of the season got him off to

the best possible start, but although an unbeaten five-game run gave cause for

optimism, some fans remained uncertain.

The manager bristled at suggestions that his side played long-ball football,

but the emphasis too often seemed to be on stopping the opposition playing first

and only then considering the alternatives.

Some of his signings have settled - Habib Beye and Abdoulaye Faye in particular

- but others have yet to make their mark with midfielder Joey Barton, who is

currently on bail charged with assault and affray, among those yet to have an


The wheels started to fall off at Derby on September 17 when the Rams secured

what to date remains their only league win of the season, and the Magpies have

won only five of the 18 games they have played since.