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Monday 23 October 2017

Hall urges club to sack McClaren

Steve McClaren Photo: PA
Steve McClaren Photo: PA

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has been urged by John Hall to sack Steve McClaren and give the club a chance of survival in the Premier League.

Ashley bought out Hall's stake in the club to take charge at St James' Park in 2007, and the club had hoped the appointment of former England boss McClaren last summer would bring stability after a run of turbulent seasons.

However, Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Bournemouth left the Magpies deep in Barclays Premier League relegation trouble, sitting 19th in the table with 10 games remaining and looking incapable of putting together the kind of run which would drag them to safety.

McClaren, who received the public backing of his players in a statement before kick-off, faced the media after a damaging reverse in a must-win game and vowed not to walk away.

However, the decision over his continuing employment could be taken out of McClaren's hands as Ashley, who has poured more than £82million into player recruitment since appointing the 54-year-old head coach, and managing director Lee Charnley assess their options.

That review will include the identification of potential successors if they decide to sack McClaren, with David Moyes and Rafael Benitez reportedly contenders to step in.

Hall, who was in charge when Newcastle almost became English champions under Kevin Keegan in the 1990s, said: "I'm like every fan, I'm utterly depressed that we're in a relegation battle again. We shouldn't be there. If I was Mike Ashley I'd be tearing my hair out. He's put money in to buy players and they're not gelling.

"If I was the owner again I would have somebody in mind to bring them in. That's the gamble you take, but at this moment in time we are prime candidates for relegation."

Hall said: "Ashley's got to step back, it's his responsibility, he has put the cash in, and it hasn't happened. I would be inclined to say to the manager 'It's time to go' and bring somebody else in."

Former Newcastle captain Alan Shearer said on the BBC's Match of the Day programme: "He's (McClaren) in massive trouble, he has to take his fair share of the blame but the whole club is a mess from top to bottom."

McClaren said: "If we perform like that, we are going down, but I know in that dressing room there are enough good performances there to get the points and to finish top of the four-team league."

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