'I'm on gardening leave, but I don't have a garden. . .'
David Cuffley Former Norwich City defender Rob Newman will take his first look at Glenn Roeder's revamped side when they visit Southampton on Tuesday night - while he continues to ponder his future in the unpredictable world of football management.
Former Norwich City defender Rob Newman will take his first look at Glenn Roeder's revamped side when they visit Southampton on Tuesday night - while he continues to ponder his future in the unpredictable world of football management.
The 44-year-old lost his job as assistant manager at Bournemouth on September 1 when he and boss Kevin Bond, another ex-Canary, were axed after just four matches of the League Two season.
"I'm on what they call gardening leave these days. The only problem is I haven't got a garden," said Newman, managing to retain his sense of humour despite the sudden end of his two-year stay at Dean Court.
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"I went to Southampton on Saturday and saw in the programme that they have got Norwich next so I am going to watch them next Tuesday.
"They've got a decent man in charge in Glenn Roeder and I'm hoping they will have a better season."
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Bond and Newman almost engineered a rescue act to better Roeder's Carrow Road recovery when Bournemouth were relegated from League One on the final day of last season by just two points, despite a 10-point deduction for going into administration.
The Cherries, seemingly doomed with seven matches to go, won six in a row before a 1-1 draw at Carlisle in the last game.
Starting the new campaign with a further 17-point deduction from the Football League, after failing to exit administration via the necessary Company Voluntary Agreement and being declared insolvent for the second time in as many years, Bournemouth managed two draws and two defeats in August before new chief executive Alastair Saverimutto wielded the axe.
It was announced, after a four-hour meeting, that Bond and Newman were leaving "with immediate effect".
"Yes, you are judged on results but four games into the season seemed a bit harsh, looking at how well we finished last year," said Newman.
"After the 10-point deduction, to be just two points short of avoiding relegation was a fantastic achievement.
"To have another 17 points deducted this season doesn't help. The FA have rules and they had set a precedent but I think it's a poor way to treat people and the smaller clubs always suffer.
"Manchester United get seven bookings at Chelsea and are fined £25,000. That's not going to hurt Manchester United. It's one rule for one and one rule for others.
"That's 17 points before you even kick a ball. We couldn't get players in until three days before the season started because of administration and we lost four players who were a big part of the team that did so well.
"We started off with two draws. We conceded a goal in the last minute in a 1-1 draw at home to Gillingham, then went to Aldershot and got a good point."
But a 1-0 home defeat by Exeter and a 3-1 reverse at Port Vale signalled the end for Bond and Newman.
"We knew it was going to be tough but when it happened it still felt like rubbish," said Newman. "There are new people in and they wanted new people in charge and that's what happened."
Nevertheless, Newman believes the Cherries, now managed by Jimmy Quinn and assistant Jason Tindall, will gather the points they need to avoid dropping into the Conference.
"I still think they will get out of it. They won't get promotion but it's all about staying in the league this season, which I'm sure they will do," he said.
"Rotherham got a 17-point deduction but they're doing well and I think they've only got three more to knock off.
"I think Rotherham and Bournemouth will get out of it but Luton, I'm not so sure. They lost 30 points and still need 20 before they can start going forward.
"It would almost be better to be relegated straight to the Conference and start even and try to get straight back up first time, rather than have to get through another season."
Newman joined Norwich for £600,000 in 1991 after playing nearly 500 games for Bristol City. In seven years, he played 249 times for the Canaries, scoring 17 goals. His first season was spent in midfield and there was the occasional outing as a striker, but he settled into the centre of defence and one of his proudest moments was being handed the captain's armband for the UEFA Cup third round, second leg tie against Inter Milan in the San Siro Stadium in 1993.
In his final season with City, 1997-98, he had loan spells at Motherwell and Wigan before he joined Southend, later becoming manager. He was also Cambridge United manager before being axed by chairman Lee Power, his former Carrow Road team-mate, in 2006.
Newman's spell at Bournemouth even saw a brief revival of his playing career last season when he was re-registered and appeared as a substitute at the age of 43 in a 1-0 Johnstone's Paint Trophy win at Bristol Rovers.
Bournemouth is still his home but no longer his place of work.
Said Newman: "I'm hoping to put a line under it and carry on with my career, but it's difficult to get a job. It's better when you are in the game than once you're out of it. It's very difficult to get a job in football, but I always remain optimistic.
"We live in Bournemouth. I'm here with my wife and daughter in a lovely part of the world, but we still have a place in Norwich which we are renting out at the moment. My wife's family are from Portsmouth so we're close to both families, but I haven't ruled out returning to Norfolk."