Former Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan claims the club are “going nowhere” and Steve McClaren has a squad that “remind him of a second division side”.
Keegan is a hero on Tyneside after a playing spell at the club, as well as two spells of manager, but has labelled the club’s current state as “depressing” and says McClaren has a squad of players that cannot relate to the Geordie faithful.
“This club’s going nowhere at the moment and that’s very sad,” Keegan told beIN Sport.
“I don’t think he (McClaren) realised how poor the squad was when he took over. Those players remind me of when I took over all those years ago when they were in the second division. The players’ biggest problem was the club was too big for them.
“That’s a massive stadium to come out in.
“For some people, it makes you grow – for the right players, the Shearers, Ginolas, people like that, that I had they just grew in it, but these players are shrinking in it.”
Keegan led Newcastle to within touching distance of the Premier League title in the 1990s after taking over when they were in the second tier.
Magpies fans turned on their players last weekend after booing them off following the home defeat to Leicester but Keegan claimed any other set of supporters would have given up on Newcastle YEARS ago.
“The supporters want to see players having a go and relate to them and I don’t think they can with this team,” Keegan added.
“Sadly, they won’t stop coming to games. I think if ever they did boycott a game completely, I think it would get the stronger message across.
“But they can’t do it, the Geordies. Every time they think they’re going to do it they think, ‘What do I do? I always go to the game’, and they turn up.”
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley spent big last summer, paying around £50m combined for Aleksandar Mitrovic, Georginio Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin and Chancel Mbemba.
But Keegan claims McClaren has been left “shocked” by how bad the squad is, and might have even been fooled by the club talking up their chances this season despite flirting with the drop last time.
He says McClaren needs to do some deep thinking about how he can turn it around – before Newcastle sink any lower.
Keegan added: “I don’t think he (McClaren) realised how poor the squad was, when he took over, I think he thought, if you read the stuff coming out of Newcastle and their own publicity, they’ve got all these top players — most of them French, but some from Holland as well.
“And I think he thought with the right sort of training – and he is a good coach as well, there’s no doubt about that – they would start the season running.
“I think it’s been a big shock to him. I think now he’s going home in his car… wherever he lives, I hope it’s a long drive, because he’s got a lot of thinking to do.
“You can be the best coach in the world, but if you haven’t got the players – and it’s all about players – then you can’t turn them in to world beaters.”