Alan Shearer has warned Newcastle United that they must appoint a new manager soon after their Championship campaign started with a spluttering 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion.
The Magpies, up for sale and still without a permanent boss, have endured a traumatic close-season and began their first campaign outside the top-flight for 16 years with an underwhelming display on Saturday.
Shearer’s presence at the Hawthorns as a pundit for BBC TV only added to the circus surrounding the fallen giants.
The former England and Newcastle striker was interim manager at St James’ Park for the final eight matches of last season, but was unable to stop his boyhood club crashing out of the Premier League.
He still wants to return as full-time manager, but owner Mike Ashley is refusing to appoint a new boss because he wants to sell the club.
Shearer believes Newcastle risk wasting a season in the Championship unless a new boss is appointed soon.
“I’m still in limbo. I want it sorted either way because of my love for the football club,” Shearer said. “I’d dearly love the chance to finish what I started last season. Newcastle’s squad was thin last season and when you consider the players who have gone out, that tells a story. They need players quickly and it could be a long, hard season if that doesn’t happen.”
It looked like another bleak day for Newcastle when Shelton Martis pounced on Steve Harper’s weak punch to lash home in the 39th minute.
An injury to Harper forced the goalkeeper to come off at halftime, but his replacement, Tim Krul, made several saves before Damien Duff converted Kevin Nolan’s pass to equalize after 55 minutes.
Cardiff City set a ferocious pace on the opening day, as a 4-0 victory over promoted Scunthorpe put the Welsh club top of the table in their first competitive match at their new stadium.
“It was a great atmosphere and I’m very pleased for the fans who kept the noise volume up throughout the match,” Bluebirds boss Dave Jones said.
Derby County boss Nigel Clough won the battle of the famous managerial sons bidding to follow in the footsteps of their legendary fathers as the Rams defeated Peterborough United 2-1.
Clough, the son of former Nottingham Forest and Derby boss Brian, is in his first full season at Pride Park, while Peterborough are led by Darren Ferguson, son of Manchester United manager Sir Alex.
Gary Teale got Derby’s late winner just moments after George Boyd’s penalty for Peterborough had canceled out Miles Addison’s early opener.
“It was almost as though it was an end-of-season game, with both teams going at it hammer and tongs — the mystery was how it only finished 2-1,” Clough said.
“Once we start believing in ourselves, we can definitely compete at this level,” Ferguson said.
Barnsley came from behind to draw 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway’s return to Loftus Road was spoiled by a late Queens Park Rangers equalizer in a 1-1 draw.
Last season’s League One champions Leicester City got their return to the Championship off to a great start as they beat Swansea City 2-1.
Preston North End scored twice in the last eight minutes to draw 2-2 with Bristol City.
Reading were held to a goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium by Nottingham Forest, who had Luke Chambers sent off.
Watford shared a 1-1 draw with Doncaster Rovers, while Crystal Palace drew 1-1 with Plymouth Argyle.