Newcastle terrified of playing in front at home as foreign stars warn loved ones to stay away
Newcastle United players have become so scared of St James’ Park that they have told their families to stay away.
An alarming run of eight successive defeats have seen Newcastle drop into Premier League relegation danger, with three games left to play.
Two of those matches are at St James’ Park, against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and West Ham United on the final day of the season.
It is understood, however, that a number of players have become terrified of playing in front of the Newcastle home fans and that some of the foreign contingent have advised their wives, girlfriends and families to stay at home
The news only confirms fears that some Newcastle players would rather go into hiding than fight against relegation and it remains to be seen whether families are now encouraged to show their support for the final two home games.
Newcastle fans have understandably become fed up with the performances of the players and there have been protests and boycotts of games over the past month.
Head coach John Carver was involved in an altercation with supporters during the 3-2 home defeat to Swansea City and players have suffered verbal abuse and booing.
Newcastle have only won one game at home this year, against Aston Villa on Feb 28, but desperately need to improve that run over the final three weeks of the season.
It was confirmed on Monday that Carver will remain in charge after Derby County manager Steve McClaren made it clear he did not want to take over.
Newcastle sounded McClaren out on Sunday over the prospect of answering an SOS call, but the former England manager did not feel the timing would be right and was waiting to hold talks over his Derby future. It now seems he will stay at the iPro Stadium.
Carver held talks with Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley on Sunday and Monday, and the 50-year-old also met with captain Fabricio Coloccini.
Coloccini was involved in a heated bust-up with team-mate Tim Krul after the defeat to Leicester City that raised question marks over his captaincy.
Following clear-the-air talks, however, Coloccini is poised to escape being stripped of the armband for the West Brom game.
Carver has given serious consideration to replacing Coloccini as captain for the final three games of the season, but the Argentine is his only available senior defender for the West Brom clash.
That appears to have saved Coloccini for this weekend at least and Newcastle will now hope he and the other senior players accept more responsibility and show greater character over the closing weeks.
Newcastle confirmed that senior players had been spoken to in a statement that reiterated Carver will remain in charge for the West Brom, Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United games.
It 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 cub - retains its Premier League status. That is the only focus at this time.”
Despite the appalling run of results, there remains backing for Carver at board level and an acceptance that mistakes have been made over recruitment that has left the club with too many players lacking character.
The board are also aware that accusations Carver has not properly prepared his squad for games are unfair. Newcastle players were shown a video of Leicester’s fast start against Swansea City on at least two occasions before their trip to the King Power Stadium, but still conceded a goal after just 38 seconds.
Newcastle had been expected to target McClaren again in the summer, but the club will now have to look elsewhere with the 54-year-old expected to remain in charge at Derby for next season.
Despite leading the Championship for long periods of the season, Derby failed to secure a play-off place and McClaren held talks with the club about how the two parties can move forward.
McClaren is thought to have been promised that Derby will again back him for another promotion push and the ex-Middlesbrough man has clearly not been attracted by the deep-running problems at Newcastle that have been exposed over recent weeks.