Steve McClaren fired as Newcastle manager

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Steve McClaren has finally been put out of his misery.

On Friday morning Newcastle United announced that McClaren, 54, has been fired as their manager with the former English national team manager lasting just nine months at St James’ Park.

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McClaren (who was also on the board of directors at Newcastle) has overseen a dreadful season so far for the Magpies  with just seven wins from his 32 games in charge in all competitions.

He leaves them in 19th place and battling against relegation with 10 games to go, despite spending over $115 million on new players which makes Newcastle the fourth-highest spenders this season. McClaren has won just four of his last 15 PL games in charge and the writing has been on the wall since their 3-1 defeat at home to Bournemouth last weekend.

In a statement released on the club website, Newcastle had the following to say:

After the defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday the Club has spent some time considering its position and has today concluded that Steve McClaren’s employment with the Club will end with immediate effect. We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players, for which we apologize. However we felt that this time was necessary to ensure the right decisions were reached with the best interests of the Club at heart.

Lee Charnley said: “I would like to thank Steve personally for his services to Newcastle United. He is a man of integrity and class and he has conducted himself with great dignity during this difficult time.

“Steve worked tirelessly to try and bring success to Newcastle United. He has the utmost respect of all the players, staff and management and he leaves with our very best wishes and sincere thanks. We feel that a change is now needed in order to give the Club the best possible chance of securing its Premier League future. A further announcement on a successor to Steve will be made in due course.”

The heavy favorite to replace McClaren is former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Valencia manager Rafael Benitez.

The talk around Benitez is that he will initially take charge on a 10-game contract between now and the end of the season as he aims to first keep Newcastle in the Premier League, and if he manages to do that a three-year contract will kick in.

Newcastle have not commented about Benitez directly, but it is believed his representatives have already spoken with the club and he will tie up his move to the North East later on Friday.

Benitez’s first game in charge, if he is appointed, would be at leaders Leicester City (Watch live, 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) on Monday.