Lee Clark's long-held dream of one-day managing his beloved Newcastle United Football Club may now be one, small step nearer to fruition as he packed his bags for Norfolk.
The 35-year-old former Fulham skipper – one of the few true Geordies still to be found at St James' Park – was this afternoon granted permission to speak to the Canaries as new boss Glenn Roeder moved swiftly to bolster his back room staff and get at least 50% of 'Team Glenn' in place ahead of this Sunday's derby clash.
Speaking at this morning's Press conference, Roeder was hoping to be in a position to announce at least one new arrival tomorrow – though he still politely declined to name names.
Clark would now appear to be one of the men that Roeder had, from day one, identified to be part of his backroom staff.
Currently reserve team boss at Newcastle United – his last game was a 7-0 thrashing of non-league neighbours Alnwick – Clark's coaching career blossomed under Roeder only the arrival of Sam Allardyce's 21-strong backroom team to squeeze one of the Gallowgate's more favoured sons out of the picture.
The only remaining point of interest is whether Clark will arrive as Roeder's coach or No2. The impression remained that this was Roeder's right-hand man riding into town.
“I think we'll be able to make an announcement by tomorrow – but we'll probably know by the close of play today,” said Roeder this morning, as his Colney revolution continues apace.
“But seeing as both coaches are still employed by a club – and if I say 'club' it gives a clue away – so clubs, it's be wrong of me to say who they are when I need to speak to their managers first,” said Roeder, confirming that the two new posts will be an assistant manager and a coach.
“The coach will be basically taking the reserve team, but will also work with the first team as well and will travel with the first team.”
Given that Roeder has already suggested that for both men their moves to Norfolk would be viewed as a promotion, the suspicion would be that Clark would step up to be Roeder's No2.
The feeling was all week on Tyneside that the all-action midfielder would always have to move away to get on – certainly once Big Sam and his entourage arrived on the banks of the Tyne this summer following Roeder's own exit.
Speaking to a junior BBC reporter last year, Clark made it clear that he had his mind set on a coaching career since he was a teenager. And that whether it was in the balck-and-white of Newcastle or the white-and-black of Fulham, he has has been looking and learning all the time.
Given Newcastle's turnover in managers under Freddy Shepherd, he's not been short of characters to learn from – be the experience good, bad or indifferent. Clark might also be just the kind of sparky, young character to inject fresh ideas and fesh life into the Colney dressing room.
He should also come with big 'respect' attached after last being seen masterminding Fulham's 6-0 demolition of the Canaries on that fateful day on the banks of the Thames.
“I've got a lot of things I can take from some superb managers that I've had,” Clark told the BBC's cub reporter.
“All the way from Willie McFaul who originally signed me, Ossie Ardilles, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Paul Bracewell, Jean Tigana and Chris Coleman and obviously coming back and working under Glenn now as a young coach,” said Clark last season, giving every hint that the new Canary boss was giving him every chance to shine.
“He's given me a fantastic opportunity to take that to another level. I've been very lucky with the managers I've had, they've all been of a high standard and had different qualities and if one day I am lucky enough to become a manager I can tap into some of those things”.
Clark was linked to the Carlisle United managerial vacancy in the summer – plus a possible tie-up with his ex-Fulham boss Chris Coleman now with Real Sociedad in Spain.
But his experiences on Tyneside under Roeder having clearly armed Clark with much of the experience he now needs to keep moving up the managerial and coaching ladder.
“At the start of this season (2006-2007), Glenn said to me to look at the club as a whole and work with the first team, reserves and academy and take individual players and do some one-on-one work and also sometimes I'll work with players in a small group,” Clark revealed last year.
In the distant future, he clearly has another ambition – to return to manage Newcastle United. To do that, of course, he is going to have to be wildly successful elsewhere – few in Norfolk would begrudge him that chance if he and Roeder had enjoyed a wildly successful time here.
There is another interesting aspect to appointing someone of Clark's ilk. City's most successful spell coincided with a period of internal managerial appointments – a succession that linked the Bonds, the Browns, the Stringers and the Walkers together.
Ever since, they have always been forced to embark on wholescale change with all the upheaval that entails.
Maybe – just maybe – Clark's impending arrival could offer the first, little step towards a longer-term plan; offering the Canaries the first chance at establishing some kind of managerial continuity within the corridors of Colney.
“Without doubt, the goal is to be a manager; and the ultimate goal is to be manager of this club (Newcastle) one day, so that's the reason I'm going through the coaching set-up and getting the qualifications to help me grasp the opportunity if it ever arose,” he told the BBC last season.
By the end of this weekend, he could yet be one small step nearer that goal.