His piece, “Newcastle boss Chris Hughton under pressure as Mike Ashley is poised with axe” is derived from a story first cooked up by the Daily Hate Mail.
Despite Newcastle’s victory at West Ham which left them in the top half of the table, Oliver insists:
“CHRIS HUGHTON is fighting for his job at Newcastle, with Mike Ashley yet to start negotiations on a new contract.
“Toon boss Hughton’s deal runs out at the end of the season but owner Ashley is in no hurry to begin talks after Newcastle took just one point from three Premier League home games – against Blackpool, Stoke and Wigan.
“And despite impressive defeats of Aston Villa and Everton in the league, as well as a stunning win at Chelsea in the Carling Cup, it is the results at St James’ Park against fellow relegation candidates that have set the alarm bells ringing with the top brass.”
Oliver cuts a rather pathetic figure in North East football journalism nowadays, has no contacts at Newcastle United whatsoever, and of course, if Ashley and Llambias were thinking of sacking Hughton, the last thing they would do would be to tell the likes of him. He prates on:
“Victory at strugglers West Ham last night moved Toon five points clear of the drop zone – at least until today.”
So they will still be clear of the “drop zone” even if all the teams below them win, but Oliver presses on:
“Despite that, Hughton is well aware there are experienced managers out of work such as Martin O’Neill, Alan Curbishley and Glenn Hoddle should Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias decide to give him the boot.”
There are always experienced managers out of work, so this is completely irrelevant twaddle. He continues:
“In fact, Hughton’s own future could well be gauged by whether he is allowed to bring in a new No.2 in the near future after Colin Calderwood left to become boss of Scottish side Hibernian.”
Even Oliver knows that Hughton is selecting his successor, so he’s trying to mislead his readers here. He then carries on with the usual M.O. a few lines stating the obvious, then a few lines trying despertely to put the most negative possible slant on it:
“Also, Newcastle face two crucial home games in four days starting with Wednesday’s Carling Cup fourth round tie against Arsenal quickly followed by a crunch derby clash against Sunderland next Sunday.
“And the feeling coming out the club is Hughton’s days could be numbered if Newcastle lose both games, particularly if their hated Wearside rivals win in front of a baying Toon Army.”
There is no feeling coming out of the club that Hughton’s days are numbered, there is just a feeling in the whole of football that if a manager loses a string of games, he is more likely to get the sack than if he wins a string of games, so that is just more irrelevant piffle. Also it shows what a low opinion Oliver has of his readership if he suggests that the whole of the “Toon Army” would be “baying” for the sacking of Hughton if he lost two games in a row. But let’s move on:
“The United hierarchy always said that they wanted to give Hughton the chance to prove himself as a Premier League gaffer after marching back to the top-flight last season as Championship title winners.
“But after being given very little money to strengthen his promotion-winning squad and hearing nothing about a new deal, Hughton knows the signs for his long-term future at the club are not looking good. It has been a torrid week in charge for the former Spurs coach after star striker Andy Carroll was arrested and charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
“The England hopeful then had his car set on fire.
“The few moves Hughton has been allowed to make in the transfer market have not impressed Ashley and Co.
“One of Calderwood’s recommendations, James Perch, has made a disastrous start to his Toon career since joining from Nottingham Forest.
“And striker Leon Best, signed for £2million from Coventry in February, has been a flop.”
Of course, he studiously avoids all mention of signings such as Hatem Ben Arfa, Chieck Tiote, Mike Williamson, Wayne Routledge and the rest, including some very handy loan signings, because that would reaveal that Chris Hughton has actually been rather good in the transfer market, and that Oliver himself is man of straw, a malicious idiot of little substance. Certainly, one of Mike Ashley’s and Derek Llambias’s best moves at the club has been to ban this grubby little hack.