Newcastle ‘apologise’ after taking ‘a number of days’ to decide sacked Steve McClaren’s fate

Steve McClaren has been sacked as manager of Premier League strugglers Newcastle United with "immediate effect".

Steve McClaren has been sacked as Newcastle manager after a spell that has seen the club drop into the relegation zone. Oli Scarff / AFP
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Steve McClaren has been sacked as manager of Premier League strugglers Newcastle United with “immediate effect”, the club announced Friday.

Newcastle are second-bottom in the table and face relegation despite spending some £29 million (Dh152.3m) on new players during the January transfer window in a bid to avoid the drop.

Former England manager McClaren’s position at St James’ Park had been the subject of intense speculation for several days following Newcastle’s 3-1 loss at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.

The club apologised to McClaren for the ensuing uncertainty over his position after the Bournemouth defeat, but they said now was the time to end his nine months in charge, with Newcastle having won just six of their 28 league games so far this season and only Aston Villa below them in the table.

Richard Jolly: Steve McClaren has failed: Newcastle are too good, and expensive, to be this low

“After the defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday the club has spent some time considering its position and has today concluded that Steve McClaren’s employment with the club will end with immediate effect,” Newcastle’s statement said.

“We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players, for which we apologise.

“However we felt that this time was necessary to ensure the right decisions were reached with the best interests of the club at heart.”

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez has been touted as a possible successor to McClaren, but Newcastle’s statement said: “A further announcement on a successor to Steve will be made in due course.”

Reports in the British media suggested Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley was due to hold talks with Spaniard Benitez later on Friday.

Whoever takes over will have just 10 games left to keep Newcastle in the Premier League this season, starting with a daunting trip away to leaders Leicester City on Monday.

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