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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
The Blair pitch project
By Chris Charles
BBC Sport

Sir Bobby Robson and Tony Blair
Look who's after your job, Bob

Bookmakers are offering odds on Tony Blair becoming the next manager of Newcastle.

Ladbrokes quote the Prime Minister at 500-1 to succeed Sir Bobby Robson when the evergreen 70-year-old finally calls it a day.

Blair, whose Sedgefield constituency is in the North East, professes to be an avid follower of the Magpies and once engaged in a spot of head tennis with then-Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan.

If the PM does get the gig upon his retirement from Downing Street, expect a few changes at St James' Park.

His first move would surely involve the setting up of a Wor Cabinet, in homage to the legendary Jackie Milburn.

The WC would also be given responsibility for flushing out all the true Geordies (apart from Alan Shearer) in the squad - likely to prove as fruitful as the great weapons of mass destruction hunt.

Blair might demand a right-hand man in the mould of John Prescott - a no-nonsense northerner who likes a pie and is not scared of throwing his weight around.

Mick Quinn
Quinny would beef things up a bit

Sounds like the perfect job for Mick Quinn.

He would also need a spin doctor - someone who could convince the Newcastle public their team is the best in the land - even if they're not.

When is Arsene Wenger out of contract again?

Throw in a weekly televised debate with Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy and a sponsorship deal with Bush Electronics and you get an idea of what life at St James' would be like under Blair.

It may take a while to get the fans on board, but once they realise he's tough on Tyne, tough on the causes of Tyne, they'll soon come round.

And no prizes for guessing what these eager disciples will be calling themselves.

Will the real Tone Army please stand up?




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