John Carver says he wants Newcastle to give him protection from being abused by fans after getting confronted by two of them as he stood in his technical area on Saturday.
Now, just to make it clear, this column in no way condones supporters leaving the stands and fronting up to managers, coaches, players or officials. But if in the broader sense Carver wants to stop getting abused, there’s a simple solution. Start winning a game or two.
The 50-year-old has now overseen seven defeats in a row, the latest of them coming at home to a Swansea team with nothing other than the pride of manager Garry Monk to play for. What’s more they gave Newcastle a goal start. There really should be little excuse for not chipping out a draw at the least.
But listen to Carver and he’s full of hard luck stories about all that’s gone wrong for him since Alan Pardew walked out and he stepped up from the coaching staff to take charge.
Mostly he’s blaming a mixture of injuries and a squad that wasn’t strengthened in January. Even managing director Lee Charnley has gone along with that excuse, giving a public apology for leaving him with a threadbare team.
But just for the record, six of the outfield players who started when they beat Everton in the last game before Pardew walked out were available for selection when Carver picked his team against the Swans. And first choice goalkeeper Tim Krul was also playing, having missed that match. Of those missing, Moussa Sissoko was absent only because he’d been sent off during a game in which Carver was in charge.
Back then several hundred pounds were matched on Newcastle at odds-on for a top ten finish. Now they are far more concerned with the relegation market.
Carver has been angry not only at the lack of security around him, but with the way a number of pundits have accused his players of downing tools. Michael Owen said they “already had their flip-flops on”, and earned himself one of those reprimands that managers are fond of dishing out to pundits, asking if they know so much, why they are sat on a studio sofa rather than a dug-out bench.
But Owen has played enough games – including for Newcastle – to know a team that isn’t responding to a manager when he sees one.
It’s fortunate for Carver that Pardew’s reign saw them scrap together enough points to be sat on 35 now, which ought to be enough to see them over the line to safety. Their remaining fixtures are relatively kind with trips to relegation rivals Leicester and QPR, plus home games with West Brom and West Ham. That’s why they are as long as [22.0] to go down, despite the current disastrous run.
After all, those are the sort of games you’d have expected Pardew to take at least four points from, especially against Sam Allardyce‘s side who also can’t beat an egg at the moment. Under Carver, however, it’s a different story – and you wouldn’t rule out them finishing up the campaign by losing all four.
There’s a point up to which you can claim to be unlucky, and beyond that comes a stage when it begins to appear that you just aren’t good enough. Carver, with an owner who doesn’t care providing he’s still collecting the Premier League TV money, might just be reaching that point.
And if it goes on, and he does get relegated on the final day, then Newcastle really will need to bring in some extra security.