He sincerely believed his legendary presence and unblemished Geordie status would lift the Newcastle dressing room and take the team out of the bottom three.
And, like many foolish managers before him, Alan Shearer even believed he could control Joey Barton's demons and get the best football out of him for four games at least.
But after stretching his run of games without a win to five with another dreadful performance at Anfield, Shearer has become the latest Newcastle boss to discover that giving Barton a chance of redemption is a waste of time. And so is Barton.
Following the red card for his scything tackle on Xabi Alonso the former Manchester City midfielder has played his last Newcastle game and will be released by the club in the summer on the assumption that no team, not even Blackburn or Bolton, will be daft enough to spend money on a player who has become a liability on and off the field.
As disappointed and angry as Shearer is with Barton and no doubt the interim manager is just as unhappy with himself for putting his trust in him his future at Newcastle is just not important this week.
The only issue that concerns Shearer and Newcastle is the most significant Tyne-Tees derby in history. 'It's the biggest game of my Newcastle career,' said Shearer. 'It's the biggest game of their careers for anyone involved in the club.'