Hong Kong, China (PressExposure) May 27, 2009 -- 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 Northeast of England fall out of the Premier League last weekend â 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 Southgateâs third season as Middlesbrough manager also ended in the drop.
McMenemy â currently visiting Hong Kong for the HKFC IP Global International Soccer Sevens â said letting former players go straight into management at a top-flight club was fraught with difficulties.
âYoung managers should really cut their teeth in the lower divisions, but these days they want big names at Premier League clubs,â he said.
âAlanâs only been in charge of Newcastle for a few weeks and if he stays to try and get them out of the Championship [the division below the Premier League] heâs going to find out just how hard management is.
âGareth Southgate was another who went straight into management from playing and itâs a difficult thing to do.
âBut Middlesbrough have got probably the best chairman in England in Steve Gibson â heâs stuck by Gareth and will continue to do so.
âEven so, they are the least well supported of the three Northeast clubs â they are behind Newcastle and Sunderland in that respect â and I think they may continue to struggle.
âI 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.â
McMenemy, though, was quick to point out that Shearer could hardly be blamed for Newcastleâs demise.
âAs Alan himself said, itâs mainly down to mismanagement on and off the field going back several years. Their massive support has kept them going in the past couple of seasons but all their problems have finally caught up with them.â
McMenemy managed Doncaster Rovers and Grimsby Town in the lower divisions before making his name at Southampton, where he was in charge from 1973-85.
He guided them to a shock FA Cup final victory over Manchester United in 1976 and in 1984 led the club to their best-ever finish in the top flight, runners-up to champions Liverpool. He later had a spell in charge of Sunderland and was an assistant to England manager Graham Taylor.
McMenemy, accompanied by his wife Anne, is making his first visit to Hong Kong. He is the guest speaker at the Soccer Sevens Sportsmanâs Dinner being held on Thursday (May 28) at the Hong Kong Football Club in Happy Valley.
More than 600 guests will attend the dinner, which will also include a question and answer session with current Premier League referee Mike Riley.
The Soccer Sevens will be held at HKFC from Friday to Sunday (May 29 to 31) with 32 teams taking part â 16 in the Main competition and 16 in the Masters.
Play takes place from 6:00pm to 8:30pm on Friday, from 8:00am to 8:00pm on Saturday and from 8:00am to 7:00pm on Sunday.
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 http://www.hksoccersevens.com or through Laxton Marketing Consultants (Tel: 2866 3110), or they can be purchased at the public entrance during the tournament.