There is no substitute for experience when it comes to managing a big football club, according to Lawrie McMenemy. The former Southampton boss watched two teams from his native North East fall out of the Premier League last weekend – and both had young managers at the helm. Alan Shearer won just one of his eight games in charge for Newcastle as they were relegated, while Gareth Southgate’s third season as Middlesbrough manager also ended in the drop. And McMenemy – currently visiting Hong Kong for the HKFC IP Global International Soccer Sevens – believes letting former players go straight into management at a top-flight club is a risky business. “Young managers should really cut their teeth in the lower divisions, but these days they want big names at Premier League clubs,” he said. “Alan’s only been in charge of Newcastle for a few weeks and if he stays to try and get them out of the Championship he’s going to find out just how hard management is. “Gareth Southgate was another who went straight into management from playing and it’s a difficult thing to do. “But Middlesbrough have got probably the best chairman in England in Steve Gibson, he’s stuck by Gareth and will continue to do so. “Even so, they are the least well supported of the three North East clubs – they are behind Newcastle and Sunderland in that respect – and I think they may continue to struggle. “I managed in all four divisions in England in my career and I can tell you the Championship is the most difficult to get out of.” However, McMenemy was quick to point out that Shearer could hardly be blamed for Newcastle’s demise. “As Alan himself said, it’s mainly down to mismanagement on and off the field going back several years," he said.
"Their massive support has kept them going in the past couple of seasons but all their problems have finally caught up with them.”
The Soccer Sevens will be held at HKFC from Friday to Sunday (May 29 to 31) with 32 teams taking part. Entry on Friday is free for all spectators, while all children under the age of 16 are allowed in free throughout the tournament. Adult tickets cost HK$200 for two days (Saturday and Sunday sold together) or HK$120 for one day.
Tickets can be bought via www.hksoccersevens.com or purchased at the public entrance during the tournament.
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