It is being widely reported that Patrick Vieira will discuss the possibility of taking over from John Carver as Newcastle manager.
The news has seen the Arsenal legend move to displace Steve McClaren at the head of the betting to be next Magpies manager, with his price shriveling into 3/5.
Handing Vieira the keys to the control room is a strategy laced with only slightly less risk than letting Carver loose on the tactics board, or so the managerial exploits of the three-time Premier League champions’ ex-Gunners teammates are anything to go by.
Arsenal legends Tony Adams and Paul Merson both had a crack at the management game, which significantly diminished their reputations as footballing demigods.
Adams had a rather comical stab at establishing himself in the boss’ seat, starting at Wycombe Wanderers in 2004 where he oversaw relegation to League Two, before leaving a couple of months into the 2004/05 campaign with the Chairboys marooned in mid-table.
A brief stint as Portsmouth assistant manager led to Pompey making the unwise move of letting him handle first-team affairs when Harry Redknapp left for Tottenham in October 2008. He was sacked by February 2009.
It was a little over year before Adams’ next job came up, with Gabala FC of the Azerbaijan Premier League. He lasted 18 months before departing and he has been out of work ever since.
Merson, amazingly, almost managed two years in charge of Walsall between 2004 and 2006, recording a win percentage of just 32 and constantly flirting with League One relegation before moving into punditry.
Newcastle have first-hand experience of handing terrace heroes the manager’s gig too, with Alan Shearer having a crack at the whip late in 2008/09 when the Magpies were deem in the relegation broth.
He masterminded just one win from his eight-match tenure, overseen their demotion to the Championship and hasn’t returned to the game since.
Vieira, an esteemed coach at Manchester City, should heed the travails of these former stars and not attempt to cut his managerial teeth with a side expected to struggle.
The rate at which the Citizens’ change managers, there’s a distinct chance he’ll get the opportunity to lead one of the strongest sides in English football, where it’ll be a great deal easier to implement his ideas and still pick up results owing to the quality at his disposal.
It’s a similar path to coaching greatness Pep Guardiola took at Barcelona.
He got the Nou Camp gig in 2008 after coaching Los Blaugrana’s B-side and with a supremely talented squad of players of whom he had the respect from his legendary status and work in the backroom, he developed into one of the most revered manager’s on the planet.
It’s not just the City post Vieira should be thinking about either; veteran boss Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal, the club who the Frenchman played over 450 games for, must be wearing thin.
If Vieira refrains from diving into the wrong job, he’s sure to be in contention to succeed Wenger, but tarnishing his reputation at Newcastle will see him removed from the reckoning.