Managerless Newcastle can forget any chance of prising old boy Stuart Pearce back to Tyneside to replace departed boss Graeme Souness.
Although Sam Allardyce and Martin O’Neill have been the names most touted with the St James’ Park vacancy, Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd is a known admirer of Pearce, who spent two years as a player at the club in the late 1990s.
But, while he acknowledges the plus points of being linked with such a high-profile job, Pearce has no intention of taking it.
“I can’t sit behind a desk and tell Joey Barton to be loyal to this club and then walk out myself,” he said.
“Yes it is nice to hear that people think you are doing a reasonable job. But I am Manchester City manager and the chairman here has been very loyal and honest to me. He was the one who gave me a chance nine months ago.”
It is the second time in a matter of weeks Pearce has been linked with a big job, having previously knocked back suggestions he could succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson as England coach because of a lack of experience.
The links are obvious given the unanimous acceptance of the positive impact Pearce has had at City since succeeding Kevin Keegan almost 12 months ago.
Yet amazingly, the man himself does not believe his record stands up to scrutiny.
“I don’t think I am doing good work here,” he said. “We are 10th in the Premiership and got knocked out in the first round of the Carling Cup.
“Look at Wigan. They are fifth in the league and in the final of the Carling Cup. That is a lot better record than I have. I want to be judged on where we finish at the end of the season and how we do in the FA Cup but mid-table in the Premiership is not very successful in my eyes.”
Pearce’s comments may reflect his own high standards but do not pay any account to the way he had hauled City around during his short time in charge, or the mature way he has handled the fall-out from Joey Barton’s transfer request.
Not even the midfielder’s ill-advised TV appearance prior to the Newcastle win could provoke a public show of anger from Pearce, whose aggressive style of play was one of his hallmarks.
Instead, the City boss merely threw open his door and invited Barton in for a two-hour discussion, then advised him to see advice from senior professionals such as Andy Cole.
“When I was growing up I had people like Ian Bowyer and Kenny Hibbitt around me,” said Pearce.
“Lads at this club, like Joey and Stephen Ireland can go to Andy Cole. By the time you get to Andy’s age, you have seen everything, won a few medals and had a few skirmishes with the manager. If you cannot pick the brains of people like that, it is a sad day.
“But I would also hope if young players want advice they feel they can come to me, not just as their manager but as an individual.
“I would like to think I divorce myself from this job at times and give honest advice, which I feel I did with Joey in the week.”
Unlike Barton, Cole has no problems committing his future to City and is expected to pen a new one-year deal on Thursday.
By that time, Pearce hopes the veteran forward will have fired the Blues to only their second away win since September, although the Everton side City face at Goodison Park tomorrow will be present a much stiffer test than the one which rolled over in the previous fixture between the sides in October
Even at that point, when the Toffeemen were stuck at the foot of the table, Pearce believed David Moyes would turn the situation around.
A run of eight games without defeat has achieved that, and even got Everton thinking about Europe again, an indicator for Pearce of what City could achieve given a sustained unbeaten run of their own.
“Earlier in the season I said Everton would finish nearer the top than the bottom and the way they are going at the moment, they might even get through to Europe,” said Pearce.
“That is the beauty of three points for a win. It just shows what a consistent run can do for you.”