Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren is refusing to hide from the club’s fans as he attempts to negotiate a way out of a difficult start to the season.
The 54-year-old has made a point of walking on to the pitch after the final whistle in games to applaud the supporters whatever the result – as he did at Sunderland last weekend – and, in the process, potentially place himself in the firing line of those less than content with how the opening months of his reign have panned out.
It is a habit he picked up during his time in Holland with FC Twente and one he feels is important as he attempts to repair a disconnect between the club and its paying customers.
McClaren, whose side take on Stoke on Saturday, said: “It is something which when I was in Holland was kind of a ritual.
“It was a tradition in Holland and in Germany and I thought it was a good one. Will it take off here? I don’t think so, but we are just trying to reconnect and get closer to the fans.
“I once stormed off in Holland with the centre-forward and the president kicked me back out, so that taught me a lesson in that.
“I know it is not the theatre when everyone stands up and you get a round of applause. Of course it is different. But you have got to have that toughness to stay there and not to skulk off.”
Newcastle, who accepted a Football Association charge of failing to control their players in the wake of skipper Fabricio Coloccini’s controversial dismissal on Friday, have lurched from one crisis to another in recent weeks, having had a man sent off before half-time in three of their 10 league games to date, lost goalkeeper Tim Krul to injury for the rest of the campaign, collected three points just once and lost a derby.
However, McClaren does not subscribe to the view, offered in their darker moments by one or two of his predecessors at St James’ Park, that the club is cursed.
He said: “No, you make your own luck and we’ve got to turn that around. It’s not just a football thing, but a mentality thing also.
“Along the way, some bizarre things are happening, but you’ve just got to get on with it.”