Date: 29th June 2006 at 8:35pm
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Neil McDonald never truly set the world alight when he was a player, a lanky looking youth from Wallsend Boys club who progressed to being a journeyman footballer featuring for clubs such as Newcastle United and Everton, without ever being a sensation or regarded as being of extreme quality.

Now McDonald returns to Brunton Park, a venue where he learned the early ideals of his football trade. With coaching experience behind him at Bolton Wanderers and Crystal Palace he seemingly comes ‘recommended’ by Bolton boss Sam Allardyce. Those who know him speak well of him, today I have been advised by many within the game that he is a ‘decent’ enough coach without being over praised or highly rated.

The big question being, Is Neil McDonald the man to take Carlisle United forward? Certainly he must have impressed the board who interviewed him, he doesn’t poseess much in the way of an experienced CV, no first team managerial experience at any accredited level, but is regarded as a decent enough coach, however, neither did Paul Simpson, nor Adrian Boothroyd at Watford! But what both these men had was quality and experienced right hand men to support them. We are currently told this is going to be Billy Barr’s responsibility. Will it work?

We can only seriously hope that the right and proper decison has been made for all the progressive football club reasons and has not any soft financial implications behind the appointment as has been suggested elsewhere. McDonald deserves a chance, ambitious, well lets wait and see how he copes with management. First on the agenda is dealing with professional footballers first hand, the Michael Bridges situation has to be resolved as soon as possible, new signings have to be brought in to strengthen a team which needs bolstering and improving in soem areas if it is to cope with the strains of Division One football.

The pressure is on McDonald to deliver from the outset, he has a lot of expectation on his shoulders. There are those in the game who question the appointment and the committment of the football club. Whatever, the lad deserves a chance, hopefully he will have the confidence to make the right decisions and signings. He does not have the experience and unless a quality right hand person is appointed (no offence to Billy Barr) then that will undoubtedly count for a great deal in the bigger picture of things.