Coloccini calls for support
Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini has begged the club's fans to put their anger to one side and cheer the Magpies to a crucial Barclays Premier League victory at home to West Brom on Saturday.
Coloccini has taken the unusual step of issuing an open letter through the club's media channels in the wake of another dismal week on Tyneside which saw coach John Carver survive crisis talks.
Carver, who accused defender Mike Williamson of deliberately getting sent off in the Magpies' eighth consecutive league defeat at Leicester on Saturday, did not merit a single mention in Coloccini's extensive plea.
Coloccini apologised for the club's recent plight and insisted: "Players and staff have come together in order to leave all past problems aside and to focus 100 per cent on the three 'cup finals' that we have left.
" I would like to make a call to all fans today to also leave aside all differences, all different opinions, anything that divides us as people who love this club.
"On Saturday, please come to St James' Park, create a great atmosphere, support the team more than ever, because at the end of the day what matters the most here is Newcastle United Football Club.
"I am also a fan and I understand how badly you are hurting, but I think that the best fans are those who are there for their club in the worst of situations.
"Today we need you more than ever. In these three games we need to be together, we need to be united, to be a family - a family that fights together against adversity, a family that strives to achieve the success that you and this club deserve."
Yet long-suffering Magpies fans might not be so easy convince having already taken to social media this week to express their disappointment that Carver is set to remain in his post.
Despite reports to the contrary, Press Association Sport understands Carver neither offered to walk away during talks with managing director Lee Charnley, nor was asked to step down.
But that situation might have been different had Derby boss Steve McClaren not indicated that he was not ready to give the Magpies the answer for which they were looking after a lengthy pursuit.
McClaren was at the top of the list drawn up by Charnley in January as he looked to replace the departed Alan Pardew, and when he could not get his man at the time, he decided to hand Pardew's assistant Carver the task of guiding Newcastle over the finishing line.
But little did he expect at that point that a team sitting comfortably in mid-table would win only two of its next 16 league games and lose the last eight in succession, to slip into the thick of a survival fight.
McClaren's prospects of landing the job in the longer term may have been dealt a fatal blow by his continued reticence, but the club's short-term focus is more fundamental.
Saturday's 3-0 humiliation at Leicester, during which Williamson and Daryl Janmaat were sent off, left the Magpies in 15th place in the table, but just two points clear of the drop zone.
Thousands of fans have boycotted the last two games in protest at the way the perceive owner Mike Ashley to be running the club - but on Saturday they know only victory will ease their relegation fears.
Given that they have only scored four goals and conceded 18 in the last eight games, that looks a remote prospect unless something changes radically in the Newcastle dressing room.
And captain Coloccini is clearly hoping his open letter will do the trick.
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