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Byline: Paul Dixon

WELL, that was a slick operation wasn't it? Handled with all the verve, finesse and tact of a spouse dumped at the altar.

Being us, though, it wasn't anything like a 'Corrienders' altar dumping ... more the comedy of runaway bride Sally Ann Field character in the first of the 'Smokey and the Bandit' films.

At the end of it all, another failed coach/manager disappears down the A1.

I have no personal antipathy towards Steve McClaren, but that doesn't mean I feel sympathy, except when it comes to the appalling manner in which this whole business has been handled.

But this is a club that dispenses with the services of players by telephone, two at a time, so this last week will have come as no surprise to supporters.

Having said all that, let us not concentrate our ire on one man. A scout fixated on the near-continent, with the stream of incoming potential duds, matched only by the stream heading the other way.

A management structure you'd be wary of allowing to run your bath, never mind the football club.

However, we have finally arrived at the correct manager, and boy is he going to earn his corn. Senor Benitez is like a ray of sunshine playing onto the club at last, and his appointment will hopefully herald a new change in policy from the previous discredited 'plan'.

What are his challenges? Firstly, reminding this squad that they aren't as bad as has been painted, and then to get the treatment room cleared up.

There are sub-Saharan nomadic tribesmen who have trod on more grass in the last 18 months than Siem de Jong, for example.

The immediate target is survival of course, and he has to somehow squeeze at least 14 points from our remaining games. Under Mr McClaren I think we'd have struggled that for the rest of the year.

We welcome Senor Benitez, a proven winner and a proven motivator.

He has the goodwill of us all. His task is Herculean, the odds are slightly against him still, but at least something has been done to rectify things.

The immediate future ends in May. Good luck to you, amigo.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 12, 2016
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