OTHER than the fact they are football coaches who hail from Scotland, I can't imagine George Graham and Ernie Merrick have a great deal in common.
Graham was manager of Arsenal when I first started attending games at Highbury in the early 1990s, when the Gunners were renowned as one of the more dour teams in England.
Opposition fans would taunt them with chants of "boring, boring Arsenal", but Graham's uncompromising tactics delivered silverware.
He built a successful era around a formidable back four, an England goalkeeper in David Seaman and prolific striker Ian Wright.
In almost a decade at the helm, he steered them to victories in the FA Cup, the League Cup, the European Cup Winners' Cup and twice to the English championship, most famously in 1989, when a goal in the dying seconds of the last game of the season snatched the title from Liverpool at Anfield.
The Gunners were often lampooned for their supposedly "negative" playing style, but their supporters weren't complaining, serenading the team with the anthem "One-nil to the Arsenal", sung to the tune of Go West.
Graham was so highly regarded by the Highbury faithful that many were saddened when he was eventually sacked in disgrace, having been caught lining his pockets with a £425,000 "bung" from an agent involved in a transfer of players.
It wasn't until several years later, when he was appointed as manager of Arsenal's despised neighbours Tottenham, that the last vestiges of sympathy for Graham disappeared down the S-bend.
In contrast to Graham, Merrick's footballing philosophy is, first and foremost, to score more goals than the opposition.
Ernie would rather win 4-3 than 1-0. His attitude is that winning is the priority, rather than striving not to lose.
It's a mindset that most fans will appreciate, given that they part with their hard-earned in the hope of being entertained, and it has certainly paid dividends over the years.
He the only coach in A-League history to have passed the 300-game milestone, and along the way he has won two championships with Melbourne Victory and finished runners-up with the Jets two seasons ago.
A positive, attacking modus operandi, however, requires personnel who are capable of getting the job done, and this season Merrick finds himself pondering something of a dilemma.
Before a ball was kicked, he had to assemble a squad with perhaps the tightest budget in the A-League. Other clubs might be willing to fork out $1 million-plus on marquee players, but such luxuries are apparently beyond the Jets.
Merrick did the best he could with the funds that club owner Martin Lee is supplying, but before the pre-season had even finished Newcastle were dealt three significant setbacks.
Hopes were high that former Norwich City playmaker Wes Hoolahan would provide top-shelf creativity, but an ankle injury that required surgery will sideline him for roughly half the season.
Young Socceroos representative Joey Champness, after a 36-game apprenticeship, appeared ready to establish himself as an A-League regular, only to request time out to pursue a music career in the United States.
And then late bloomer Kaine Sheppard, who scored three goals in his debut A-League campaign last season, joined Hoolahan on the sidelines with a long-term ankle injury.
None of the attacking trio have been replaced, and in hindsight it is perhaps no surprise that Newcastle have struggled to find the net.
Their tally of five goals in five outings is the lowest in the league, although every other team has played at least one more game.
If goals are at a premium, then logically it reduces a team's chances of winning and puts pressure on them not to concede.
Twice already this year the Jets have led 1-0, only to allow Adelaide to fight back and win 2-1 and then Perth to salvage a 1-all draw.
That both games were at home highlights another problematic issue.
In the history of the A-League, no club has a worse winning strike rate on home soil than the Jets (71 wins from 183 games, at 38.8 per cent). Obviously those statistics incorporate lean seasons under former coaches. In Merrick's time in charge, Newcastle's home record has improved to 14 wins from 31 games, at 45.1 per cent.
For the Jets to stay alive in the race for this season's finals, their results at McDonald Jones Stadium will need to be better. Whether that means scoring more goals or conceding fewer depends on your point of view.
I'm certainly not remotely qualified to query Merrick's technical and tactical expertise. He will know better than anyone the strengths and weaknesses of his players and how to get the best out of them.
Merrick is confident the goals will soon start flowing but, in the circumstances, I'd suggest most Newcastle fans will regard every ugly win as a work of art.
The 1-0 victory against Western United last start might yet prove worth much more than three competition points. I doubt there will be many complaints if the scoreline is the same against Wanderers on Saturday.
Sometimes, all that counts is the result.
Just ask George Graham.