This is why Glenn Roeder is so fondly remembered by Newcastle United fans – and players
Glenn Roeder got it. He got the club – and its fans.
And the warm and heartfelt tributes paid to the former Newcastle United captain and manager tell their own story.
Roeder – who passed away last week, aged 65, following what the League Managers Association described as a “long battle with a brain tumour” – was a thoroughly decent man. He was also a very decent player and manager.
Woodford-born Roeder, an adopted Geordie, was also taken far, far too soon.
I was fortunate enough to get to know Roeder – who had served the club as a player between in the mid-1980s when Paul Gascoigne was coming up through the ranks – during his time as manager.
Roeder, appointed Academy director in the summer of 2005, was given the job on a caretaker basis following the dismissal of Graeme Souness in February 2006 with the club 15th in the Premier League.
The team, which had been going backwards under Souness, didn’t look back. Newcastle, remarkably, finished seventh that season – and beat Sunderland 4-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Roeder was coy in public when asked if he wanted the job on a full-time basis, but, privately, he wanted it. He really wanted it. And, thankfully, he got it – and he took the club into Europe via the Intertoto Cup.
Domestically, the injury-hit team struggled – Roeder was planning changes at the end of the season – but the club had a lengthy, and memorable, European campaign which saw Tim Krul and Andy Carroll make their first appearances for the club in a 1-0 win away to Palermo.
“I’ll never forget the morning walk in Palermo before the game,” said Krul, now at Norwich City. “There were undercover police all around us, and he took me to the side – and asked me ‘are you ready?’. I said ‘of course I am’.
“Sad, sad news. He was a massive person in my career.”
Newcastle led Louis van Gaal’s AZ Alkmaar 3-0 in the Round of 16 first leg at St James’s Park, but ended up going out on away goals after the two teams drew 4-4 over 180 minutes.
Things unravelled, as they often do at United, but Roeder kept his dignity. He never shirked tough questions during a tough campaign. Roeder knew, ultimately, he was accountable to the fans he had once played for at St James’s Park.
He was respectful, and he was treated with respect, even in trying times.
Roeder resigned following a run of one win from 10 games with the club 13th in the Premier League. The bar was set higher, much higher, in those days.
But he was able to leave the club with his head held high.
Maybe one of the most poignant tributes came from Nigel Pearson, who assisted Roeder at Newcastle.
Pearson spoke of Roeder’s “incredible integrity, humility, warmth, humour and humanity” in a heartfelt series of tweets.
Bristol City’s manager went on: “(Glenn was) a sensitive caring man who didn't always have as high a regard for himself as others had for him. He was loved and admired by those who worked with him.”
Roeder was a brilliant football man, but, above all else, he was a lovely man. RIP.