Newcastle legend Alan Shearer discusses the club takeover
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Newcastle will reportedly part ways with boss Steve Bruce this week and prompt a search for a new head coach to lead their fresh, big-spending era. A consortium led by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund completed their long-sought purchase of the club from Mike Ashley last week and have already outlined their astronomical plans for the club.
Bruce, a symbol of the unpopular Ashley era, is widely expected to depart before Saturday’s clash with Tottenham.
The 60-year-old has failed to win over the Newcastle fans during his two years in charge. His side are 19th in the Premier League and have failed to win a game this season.
A successor will likely soon be appointed. Several names have been suggested, including former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre and ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
However, another of the favourites is Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, according to the Sun. The 43-year-old remains unemployed following his January sacking by the Blues.
Here, Express Sport looks at how Newcastle hero Alan Shearer analysed Lampard’s time as Chelsea manager.
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Lampard was appointed by owner Roman Abramovich in the summer of 2019. The hangover from Maurizio Sarri’s controversial spell still loomed and a transfer ban was present. The former midfielder was a popular choice with Blues fans – and seemingly so too Shearer.
“Frank Lampard is exactly who Chelsea need right now. I think he would be a very good appointment as manager and I understand why owner Roman Abramovich would want him,” Shearer, Newcastle’s record scorer, wrote in his column for the Sun just prior to Lampard’s appointment in June.
He added: “People will also be quick to judge Frank and will be ready to say great players don’t always make great managers.
“And while that is true, you can tell Frank has all the attributes to be a successful manager.”
Lampard’s first season was largely successful. A team built around the club’s exciting young players finished fourth in the Premier League despite the transfer ban and the coronavirus pandemic.
A whopping £200million was spent in the summer of 2020 to present Lampard with the quality to attempt a title bid.
Chelsea started the season well and appeared to overcome some of the defensive issues that had prevented them from better challenging Liverpool and Manchester City the season prior.
They spent a few weeks at the summit of the top-flight and were third when Shearer analysed a goalless draw with Tottenham.
“I spoke to Lampard last week and, quite rightly, he was delighted with the progress his side had made and where they were at, defensively and offensively,” Shearer said on Match of the Day in November, just over a month in the new campaign.
“They are third in the Premier League, only two points off the top, and are joint-highest scorers. Things are coming together nicely for them, and Lampard deserves a lot of credit for that.
“At the beginning of this season (2020-21), expectations were very different because they spent so big in the summer and there is probably more pressure on Lampard. So far, though, he has delivered.
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“There is still so much that Frank wants to achieve – and win – at Chelsea, but he has made a very strong start. He has not given anyone any reason to doubt him as manager – far from it, in fact.”
He continued: “There was a time when Chelsea were leaking goals badly at the back but that is no longer the case. In all competitions, they have conceded only two goals in their past nine games.”
But it took just a few weeks for Chelsea’s form to nosedive. They were spiralling down the Premier League table around the New Year period and a 3-1 defeat by Man City on January 3 evidenced the widening gap between the Blues and the division’s best teams.
It was Chelsea’s fourth defeat in six matches. What made it worse was that City had stormed into a comfortable 3-0 half-time lead, prompting Shearer to fear for Lampard’s job.
He told Premier League Productions: “It’s the kind of performance from Chelsea that gets the manager the sack.”
Lampard’s sacking came two matches later. A defeat by Leicester City prompted the Blues board to replace him with Thomas Tuchel.
Shearer jumped to his former England team-mate’s defence. “He should have had more time,” Shearer told The Athletic.
“After what he achieved in his first season at Chelsea, with all those financial restrictions, Frank warranted the opportunity to find answers and turn things around. Every manager has a dip, a rocky spell. No team can be on the up forever. Form plateaus.
“In Chelsea’s defence, Frank was well aware of how the club operates. He knows it better than anyone. So it didn’t surprise me in the slightest.
“But I’m sure he’ll come back and find another job and I’d back him to do well. He’ll be better for the experience.”
And perhaps Newcastle could be the club to benefit from the lessons Lampard learned at Stamford Bridge.
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