It feels as if anybody with a pulse and a rough idea of what a dugout is has been linked with the vacant job on Tyneside, with confirmation of Rafa Benitez’s departure sparking an almighty scramble to find a suitable replacement.
Of all the prospective candidates, however, perhaps the most unexpected is a certain Joey Barton.
The former Toon man is no known for his shyness, and so it proved once again when he claimed that he would find it difficult to turn down the Toon job, were it offered to him, as reported by Sky Sports, via the Chronicle.
You have to admire his ambition. Aside from the fact that he is has only had one job as a manager, Barton’s record with Fleetwood Town is hardly stunning.
1.3 points per match [Transfermarkt] and an 11th place finish in League One are hardly stunning figures, and certainly not enough to suggest that he has what it takes to stop the rot on Tyneside.
And that’s the view of veteran Chronicle columnist John Gibson too, who has systematically debunked Barton’s comments.
Writing in a piece for the local outlet, he said: “As for Joey Barton . . . ah, come on!
“He has more baggage than a jumbo jet, is a headline-maker away from football as well as in it, has criticised the man who would have to offer him the Newcastle job, and is buried at Fleetwood Town in League One at the beginning of a new career.
“Plenty minuses, few plusses.”
Barton may go on to be a great of the game, and one day in the future we may look back on Gibson’s comments and chuckle at how misguided they were.
But right now, at this exact moment, he is bang on the money, and his cutting appraisal is surely a sign that the 36-year-old is nowhere near the running at St. James’ Park.