Whereas John Carver initially struck the right chord when placed in interim charge of Newcastle, emphasising his past relationship with club legend Sir Bobby Robson, each interview since has seen him edge closer and closer to talking himself out of a job.
First came the self-praise for daring to pick two strikers, then the attempts to blame his foreign players – “within their DNA, when it comes to a derby game, there’s something not right – for their latest defeat to Sunderland. After losing to Swansea, he offered his most damaging comments yet:
“Sometimes it is quite difficult to stand in that technical area and be abused the way I was abused today without any protection from the sidelines. That is the reason I moved back. I am not going to stand out there and be abused during the game. The club has to do something about it.
“They expect me to put the ball in the net, stop the headers going in, stop the opposition from scoring. I can’t affect that. I can’t get on the end of the corner and head the ball clear which would have kept us one up at half time. I can’t do that.
“That is the first time I have had that. Just totally getting abused throughout the whole of the second half and I am not accepting that. I don’t think it is right. No one should put up with that.”
In a few sentences, he managed to antagonise fans, scapegoat stewards (“some of them just watch the game”), belittle his players, undermine his influence and make demands of his bosses, all soon after promising: “I am getting stick from the crowd and I can take all that. I’ll take that on the chin.”
It is hard to escape the conclusion that the simplest way for Newcastle to grant him the “protection” that he desires is to take him out of the firing line and bring an early end to a miserable interim reign which has brought the Magpies nine points from 15 matches, and seven straight reverses.
Mike Ashley has previous for shuffling his caretaker deck when threatened by relegation, sidelining Chris Hughton in favour of Alan Shearer for the final eight fixtures of the calamity-strewn 2008/09, and Hughton had done far less than Carver to erode the limited goodwill of both players and fans.
While the likelihood is that they won’t attract anyone too special, it is easily arguable that after seven successive losses in which they scored four and leaked 15, anyone is preferable to Carver, even the guys who have spent a long time out of action such as Alan Curbishley and Glenn Hoddle.
The struggling 50-year-old is [8.0] to be the Next Manager to Leave Position, with it [1.25] that there are no more Premier League coaching changes before the final set of games kick off on May 24.
His best hope of seeing out the season is if Ashley agrees with Betfair punters’ verdict that relegation is a [22.0] prospect, despite Newcastle’s lead over the drop zone thinning from 13 points to five since the start of March.
Then again, the unpopular owner is a keen gambler with a knack of landing long shots, and will be anxious to ensure that this isn’t another.