Newcastle deny Allardyce's job is under threat

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The Independent Football

Chris Mort, the new Newcastle United chairman, felt compelled to dismiss reports linking other managers to Sam Allardyce's job yesterday. "This kind of story does not merit a response, it is ludicrous," Mort said, but Allardyce is discovering the intensity of life on Tyneside after Saturday's embarrassing 4-1 home defeat by Portsmouth, which followed the previous weekend's reverse at Reading.

Newcastle's players gathered at the club's Benton training ground yesterday morning for a review of the videotape of the Pompey game, a meeting goalkeeper Steve Harper described as "a bit of an inquest.

"We were in on Sunday for a bit of a recovery situation and then that meeting needed to happen. It wasn't great viewing, but we needed to see it," Harper said. "We felt we had to analyse what happened in those 11 minutes [on Saturday]. By 12 minutes past three, it was almost like a bomb had gone off."

The local mood is one of anger on-hold due to Allardyce's freshness in the post, but the atmosphere will sour should Newcastle lose at Sunderland on Saturday. Damaged pride would be one thing, but a third consecutive defeat would precede the visit of Liverpool and Arsenal to St. James', with a trip to Blackburn in between.

Blackburn's manager Mark Hughes is one of those being linked with Newcastle, but it is premature speculation and Alan Shearer is a much more likely contender to be the next manager at Newcastle. Owner Mike Ashley knows Shearer via their connection with Umbro, a company Shearer has long represented as a sporting ambassador and which Ashley took his stake in to 29 percent last week.

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