Newcastle manager faces fiery baptism in first five games

Steve McClaren is the latest manager to brave the Newcastle hotseat and thanks to the new Premier League fixture list the St James’ Park temperatures could rise a few extra degrees for the former Derby boss early doors.

After the debacle which was Newcastle’s season just gone, post Alan Pardew, theoretically even a few draws near the start of 2015/16 should endear the Toon Army to the new man at the helm.

However, McClaren’s hopes of swiftly bedding in have not been helped by the fixture computer, which has chucked out some testing assignments to kick things off.

The Magpies face two Europa League sides, a brace of probable title contenders, and a trip to a Swansea side who finished the season at a pace, before newly-promoted Watford offer the first predictable respite.

Those fixtures are Southampton (H), Swansea (A), Manchester United (A), Arsenal (H) and West Ham (A).

These games last season provided Newcastle with a grand total of one point, earned at the Liberty Stadium in October last year.

Naturally, McClaren will not be focusing on the negative results from last season, but for many of those players in the dressing room the memories will still be vivid ones.

Even by the acutely fickle standards set in football, it would be quite ludicrous to suppose McClaren would be under pressure should he fail to grab a win so early in the season.

Indeed, seven other top-flight manager’s are already closer than the 14/1 shot for the firing line ahead of the new season.

Nevertheless, it looks like a rocky road to negotiate for England’s former manager very early in his Newcastle tenure.

Managers love to tell us that there are no easy games in the Premier League as their version of insurance when points fail to materialise.

McClaren may already be hoping that Watford at home on September the 19th is one of those rare easy ones!

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.