It seems more certain than ever there’ll be regime change at Newcastle this summer, after caretaker coach John Carver capped his side’s seventh consecutive defeat by slamming the players for lacking determination and fight, while accusing centre-half Mike Williamson of getting sent off on purpose.
‘We all dream of a team of Jack Colbacks’ has a certain ring to it, if you suspend a little belief, but with the Geordies tumbling towards the Championship in hilarious fashion, the latest calamity being a 3-0 reverse at formerly-in-crisis Leicester, Carver might not even see out the campaign.
His only saving grace is Sunderland’s horrific run; the north-east neighbours are just two points behind with a game in hand in 18th after a 2-1 win over Southampton, but only Leicester at home promises any hope of points between now and the end of term, with in-form Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea to come on the road.
That being said, a win and a draw could be plenty with the Black Cats holding a superior goal difference.
Newcastle may ‘only’ have West Brom, QPR and West Ham to come, two of them at home, but they’ve taken 0.6 points per game in eight Premier League fixtures under Carver at St James Park, so another catastrophic demotion, like in 2008/09, is entirely possible.
As for who’ll take over, Derby boss Steve McClaren looks a shoo-in according to the market at 3/25, and after the Rams’ spectacularly bad end to their Championship campaign saw them drop out of the playoff places at the death, a match seems on the cards.
Only Newcastle would employ a manager whose team has won two of their past 13 fixtures, but the former England failure’s passionate post-match statements, following Derby’s 3-0 loss at home to Reading, painted a slightly different picture.
McClaren is quoted as saying:
“I’m really annoyed, angry, and frustrated about the last two months and am really determined to do something about it. I’m not making a pledge, this is how I feel at the present moment. I’m under contract at Derby and I’ve said that all along.
“I’ve been questioned about all the speculation which has been going on for about six months.
“My intention is to sort this out. No one has told me otherwise and until somebody does, that’s my determination.
“I’m angry, frustrated, I want to do something about it. I want to sit down with everybody next week, I think it’s too raw, too early to make any kind of statement but what I say is what I mean.”
On the question of the Newcastle job, he added:
“Absolutely nothing has been agreed, absolutely nothing.
“Over the next two days, we’ve got to sit down with this club (Derby) and put it right.
“I’m a part of that process and I want to be a part of that process and that’s what I’m going to do.”
The Mirror says he’s set for talks with sportswear tyrant Mike Ashley today, so it will probably still happen. A potential alternative may be Remi Garde at 14/1, but who knows. It’s Newcastle, the masters of chaos.