The former Manchester United defender told Voetbal International on Tuesday that Newcastle made a move for him a few days after he had signed a contract with Feyenoord, which was why he turned them down.
However, the north east giants have insisted that, not only did they not approach Stam, but that they never had any interest in him as Benitez’s successor.
This whole story is a bit of a bizarre one. You would have thought that had Newcastle seriously identified Stam as their potential new head coach then they would have kept tabs on his situation in regards to Feyenoord. They most likely would have alerted him to their interest before he signed a contract with the Dutch heavyweights. So in that sense Stam’s story is a slightly fishy one. But why would he simply make this up? That seems like a bizarre thing to do out of the blue in late October. It does seem unlikely that Newcastle were in for Stam, however, partly because he seems like too exotic an appointment for a Magpies board which eventually settled on walking beige carpet Steve Bruce as their next head coach. Would Stam have been a good appointment anyway, though? He did well at Reading initially, but quickly saw things go downhill. He rebuilt his career back in his homeland with PEC Zwolle, but hasn’t exactly lit things up with Feyenoord. Still, it’s not like Bruce was a revelatory appointment.