Time for Mike Ashley to sack Steve McClaren at Newcastle says former owner Sir John Hall

Former Newcastle United owner Sir John Hall believes Steve McClaren should be sacked in a move to save the club from relegation.

Sunday, 6th March 2016, 11:24 am
Updated Sunday, 6th March 2016, 11:31 am
Sir John Hall says owner Mike Ashley needs to sack Steve McClaren if Newcastle are to stand a chance of avoiding relegation.

Yesterday's 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth has piled the pressure on head coach McClaren, with Newcastle sitting 19th in the Premier League and one point from safety.

The St James's Park crowd turned on McClaren during the game, but the former England boss said he has no intention of resigning his position.

Hall, who was in charge when Newcastle almost became champions under Kevin Keegan in the 1990s, feels current owner Mike Ashley must now act to keep the club in the top flight.

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"I'm like every fan, I'm utterly depressed that we're in a relegation battle again. We shouldn't be there," Hall told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.

"If I was Mike Ashley I'd be tearing my hair out. He's put money in to buy players and they're not gelling.

"You've got to ask yourself what's going on, and it all comes down to management.

"Steve's not getting the players to play for him and it's maybe time that he goes. You need someone to harness the team.

"Something's not right there and you need change, it's the only thing."

Newcastle have 10 games left to save their season, starting away to league leaders Leicester on Monday week.

They have a game in hand on the two teams above them, Norwich and Sunderland, but have lost five of their last six matches.

McClaren was given a vote of confidence by his players in a statement before the Cherries clash, but has failed to engineer a recovery despite Newcastle making a significant outlay in January when England internationals Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend were among the players signed.

"Does Mike Ashley have the confidence to keep the manager there until the end of the season?" said Hall.

"You've got to motivate the players, but it's not happening out there - and that's got to come down to management.

"If they're not gelling together then I would change. If I was the owner again I would have somebody in mind to bring them in.

"That's the gamble you take, but at this moment in time we are prime candidates for relegation.

"We should not be in this position and you have got to ask yourselves why we are?

"Ashley's got to step back, it's his responsibility, he has put the cash in, and it hasn't happened. So he's got to put a rescue plan in.

"I would be inclined to say to the manager 'it's time to go' and bring somebody else in."

Former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes has emerged as the favourite to replace McClaren should his nine-month stay on Tyneside come to an end.

Asked about Moyes, Hall said: "He's a nice fella, whether he's got the strength of character I don't know.

"But you need somebody who can motivate those players and change the tactics.

"You need someone to get hold of the players and get them playing out there."