Wednesday 26 October 2016

John Carver didn't offer to resign as Newcastle boss and wasn't asked to leave

Damian Spellman

Published 05/05/2015 | 11:15

Newcastle United manager John Carver
Newcastle United manager John Carver

John Carver neither offered nor was asked to step down as Newcastle's head coach as a developing crisis on Tyneside came to a head.

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The 50-year-old held no-holds-barred talks with managing director Lee Charnley and senior players on Monday before the club announced that he would remain in charge for the final three games of a season which could yet end in disaster.

But Press Association Sport understands he never offered to walk away and was not asked to as club officials desperately try to find a way out of a mess largely of their own making.

However, that situation might have been markedly 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 defenders Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat were sent off, the former prompting a remarkable post-match reaction from Carver, left the Magpies in 15th place in the table, but just two points clear of the drop zone.

They face West Brom at St James' Park - where thousands of fans have boycotted the last two games in protest at the way owner Mike Ashley is running the club - on Saturday knowing 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.

Newcastle fans reacted angrily after the club chose to stand by Carver.

He was widely expected to be sacked after defeat to Leicester. In a chaotic aftermath Carver had suggested Williamson had deliberately got himself sent off, then admitted: "There's a chance they (the players) are just not listening to me."

With speculation mounting, Newcastle were left in the unusual position of issuing a short statement in which they maintained that Carver would stay in charge for next week's game against West Brom.

The statement read: "Following the result at Leicester City on Saturday, there has been two days of frank dialogue with John Carver and senior players.

"The outcome of those discussions is that the board, John Carver, his staff and players are absolutely focused on our current situation and the three hugely important fixtures that remain this season, two of which are at St. James' Park.

"All parties accept responsibility for the current situation but are determined, together, to ensure this club - your club - retains its Premier League status.

"That is the only focus at this time."

But that did nothing to satisfy fans, with many taking to social media to express their fears that the decision to stay loyal to Carver could cost them their top-flight status.

Mark Jensen, editor of the Newcastle fans' magazine, told Press Association Sport: "Just when you think things can't get any worse the club put a feeble statement out saying it's business as usual.

"I personally don't know a single Newcastle fan who thinks John Carver is the right man for the job, but if you talk about a change you have to question who in their right mind would want to walk into this total mess.

"This has been coming for a long time - it is a carbon copy of last season when we had a few more points on the board, and the season before that we also nearly went down.

"If other clubs continue to pick up points I think we will go down. I don't think any fans have hope of getting any more points ourselves. If we stay up it will only be due to the shortcomings of others."

Press Association

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