John Carver

Newcastle United fires John Carver, self-glossed “best coach in the Premier League”

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The best coach in the Premier League is unemployed.

With Newcastle United expected to hire former England boss Steve McClaren, the club has reportedly decided to cut ties with native son John Carver, who led the club to the brink of relegation after taking over for Alan Pardew midway through the season.

Carver, who called himself the best coach in the Premier League — a bit tongue-in-cheek, we hope, in saying “Who doesn’t think he’s the best?” — and accused his players of quitting, is out the door, as is assistant Steve Stone, according to the BBC.

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And while it’s hard to feel sorry for Carver given some of his verbal stunts late in the season — and quitting Toronto FC in 2009 — knowing the club allowed him to fire fan favorites Ryan Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez over the phone does give you a bit of sympathy, doesn’t it?

Carver won just three games during his 20 in charge of the Magpies, and his numbers at TFC were better but still poor (12W-12D-16L).

McClaren, should he be the man, is inheriting a mess of a club, though owner Mike Ashley claims he’s learned from his errors and that “from this day forward we will be making our own luck”.

Cutting ties with Carver is a good sign, not because the 50-year-old was that bad. Rather, Ashley has shown a penchant for keeping the same names around regardless of success.

Report: Steve McClaren set to be tabbed Newcastle United boss next week


The rumors were he wouldn’t leave the Derby County gig for St. James Park in January, but Steve McClaren looks to be set for appointment as Newcastle United’s newest manager next week.

McClaren, 54, was fired by the Rams after the American-owned club fell apart down the stretch, missing the playoffs after playing the role of promotion favorite for plenty of the season.

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And though he had reportedly refused to leave Derby for Newcastle when Alan Pardew quit on the club, the union was apparently inevitable. McClaren will work for Mike Ashley next season, according to the BBC.

From the BBC:

McClaren, sacked by Derby in May, had turned down the Newcastle job on two occasions – after Alan Pardew’s departure in December  and for the final three fixtures of last season.

Patrick Vieira was also considered as an option to become the next boss of the Magpies. However, both parties opted not to pursue a possible deal following differences over recruitment and transfer policy.

That policy is, “Let Graham Carr handle the transfers. You stick to the tactics.” McClaren is apparently good with that, and will take the job when he returns from family vacation next week.

A former England manager, McClaren was an assistant under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United before winning the Eredivisie with Twente and the League Cup with Middlesbrough. The latter means he’ll be familiar with the Northeast, now with the top job in the region.

Good move for the Magpies? It could’ve been worse, as former caretaker boss John Carver was rumored to stay in the running for the job despite quitting Toronto FC and failing miserably down the stretch last year for Newcastle.

Steve McClaren fired by Derby County — Is Newcastle United his next stop?

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The managerial situation at Newcastle United is flimsy, at best.

John Carver managed to win all of three of 16 games in his time as interim boss to finish the 2014-15 season, all while rumors swirled about his future, the future of the club and who might be brought in next to lead the Magpies either at the end of this season or the beginning of next.

[ MORE: PST’s Premier League season review ]

Steve McClaren, then-manager of Championship side Derby County, rejected Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s early approach at the beginning of May after reaffirming his commitment to getting Derby into the promotion playoffs and winning promotion to the Premier League.

Fast forward almost four weeks, and McClaren is out of a job after Derby failed to even qualify for the playoffs, which begs the question once again: how long until McClaren becomes the latest man in charge of Newcastle United?

[ MORE: Premier League season review: The stories behind the managers in charge ]

McClaren, in a statement released upon being fired:

“While we were all unhappy with the way the season ended, I still believe real progress was being made. I do not believe or accept that rumors linking me to the Newcastle United job were a factor in the team’s performances this year, as had been alleged. I wanted to remain with the club and was confident in leading the side to a successful season next year.”

For his part, Carver is talking like a man who expects to be employed when the 2015-16 season kicks off on Aug. 8. Just this weekend, upon leading the club to Premier League safety and avoiding relegation, Carver was quoted as saying, “I want a summer where I can bring in the players I want.”

At this point, no one — literally, no one, not even Ashley himself — knows who will be in charge of Newcastle tomorrow, next week, next month or next season, but the never-ending drama at St James’ Park is sure to entertain all summer long. In the end, whoever Ashley puts in the managerial hot seat is likely to be gone not long after, as long as he continues to be the man signing the checks.

2014-15 Premier League season review: The managers

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ MORE: PST’s Premier League season review ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, it’s time to take a look back at the managers that helped make the Premier League season a memorable one.

One of the most intriguing facets of the Premier League is its managers. Sure, the play on the field is perhaps second to none in the world, but the Premier League’s managers often times take on a storyline of their own and provide ample entertainment and fodder for debate. Here are a few of the PL’s managers that made 2014-15 just that much more interesting.

Jose Mourinho, the champion

Manipulator. Tactician. Twister of words. Protector of men. So many titles could be used to describe Chelsea’s enigmatic boss, but the one he will prefer the most is that of “champion.” As in, 2014-15 Premier League champion.

Mourinho used his every last one of his old tricks — diverting attention/blame from his players upon their rare slip-ups; “parking the bus” defensively; and controlling the narrative surrounding his team all season long — en route to returning the Blues back to Premier League glory for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

source: Getty ImagesTim Sherwood, the prodigal son, returns

His win percentage is the thing of legends at Tottenham Hotspur, and yet the 46-year-old was fired by Tottenham Hotspur following the 2013-14 season. On Valentine’s Day 2015, Sherwood was hired as the new Aston Villa boss and tasked with keeping the Birmingham club, which sat in 18th place at the time of his appointment, in the Premier League.

Stunning results followed. Horrid results followed. A run to this weekend’s FA Cup final followed. More of Sherwood’s proud, boastful, king-of-the-world personality ensued. In the end, Villa finished 17th, three points clear of the drop. Now Sherwood will be given his first summer transfer window in which to buy his own players and build his own team. 2015-16 prediction: Villa either win the league next season, or Sherwood will be out of a job by the New Year. Either way, he’ll continue to make the club must-see TV on a weekly basis.

[ MORE: 10 biggest storylines of the Premier League season that was ]

Nigel Pearson, the nuclear reactor (and survivor)

Is there a bigger jerk in the Premier League? The answer to that question is very likely “not a chance.” (Remember this?) Now, with that established, Pearson did a masterful job of keeping PL new boys Leicester City in England’s top flight for another season, thanks to the Foxes’ unlikely rise from last place on Christmas Day, to safety from relegation (a feat only ever achieved once before in the Premier League era) with one game left.

Pearson’s players obviously believe in him, otherwise they’d have folded when the going got tough. His shock-and-awe style with regards to handling the media can definitely be questioned and criticized, but one thing is for certain: players love managers that stick up for them and deflect the attention away from them in the bad times, and give them all the credit in the good times.

source: Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers and Manuel Pellegrini, dangling in the wind

Will they stay or will they go before August arrives? Are the Liverpool and Manchester City boards, respectively, even right to be expecting title challenges, given the obvious, gaping holes in their squads? How many of each manager’s best players will leave this summer, and how many new recruits will arrive?

Short answer: No one knows, but it’s likely to be an absolute circus either way.

Even if one or both stay at their respective through the summer, the questions will return at the first sign of trouble next season (i.e. the first loss). There’s a reason managers are paid handsomely as they are, because you’d have to be mad to take up the line of work for anything short of a king’s ransom.

[ MORE: How the Americans in the Premier League fared in 2014-15 ]

Alan Pardew, the Big Pardiola

We’ve finally reach everyone’s favorite managerial character of the 2014-15 Premier League season: Alan Pardew, formerly of Newcastle United and now the head genius in charge at Crystal Palace.

Newcastle fans seemed to genuinely hate the man, and wanted him out of their club, like, yesterday. In January, the Geordie nation got their wish, and came oh so close to realizing their greatest nightmare: Premier League relegation. Meanwhile, Pardew’s new club, Crystal Palace (then in 18th place), quickly ascended the league table and finished the season in 10th. Palace passed Newcastle on March 21, two months and 19 days after Pardew changed jobs.

John Carver, the lover of club

Poor John Carver, right? After Pardew skipped town, Carver was named interim manager by an owner, Mike Ashely, who on the whole refuses to invest funds back into the team despite selling a number of the club’s best players in recent years, and Carver struggled, in part, due to this.

I mean, he struggled badly. Just three wins in his 16 games in charge (including eight successive losses from March to May) dragged Newcastle United right down into the relegation battle. Carver loves the club dearly (he was born in Newcastle, is a product of the club’s youth academy and has said “yes” to everything they’ve ever asked of him), of which we were reminded to begin any discussion about the future of Newcastle United and Carver alike. In the end, his love for the club was just enough to keep them up, but will it keep him in the manager’s job next season? Probably not.

source: Getty ImagesHarry Redknapp, the ship jumper

Oh, you thought we’d forgotten about Harry? Of course we didn’t. The ol’ wheeler-dealer gets all his full, deserved share of credit for Queens Park Rangers being relegated from the Premier League this season.

Upon his departure for “health reasons” (he said he needed a knee operation), QPR sat second from bottom in the league with 19 points from 23 games. Not great! In the weeks and months following his resignation, Redknapp continuously appeared in the media, saying things like, “I could have kept QPR up,” “QPR fans deserves better,” and my personal favorite, “I wasn’t given enough money to build the team,” despite out-spending the entire Championship last season and tossing another $50 million worth of players on top of that this past summer.

It shouldn’t be long until he’s recklessly angling for his next job — Bournemouth? Watford? Norwich City? Sunderland? Newcastle United? Chelsea? Who knows! — and spending them into crippling debt once hired, before up and leaving again at the first sign of trouble. It’s the Redknapp way.

Newcastle’s Carver: “I want a summer where I can bring in the players I want”

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A resilient John Carver, buoyed by Newcastle United avoiding the drop, has reiterated his desire to lead the club.

On the heels of a single win since February, Carver was under immense pressure from fans even before sinking into the relegation picture.

[ MATCH RECAP: Newcastle United 2-0 West Ham United ]

Having guaranteed safety with goals from Moussa Sissoko and Jonas Gutierrez in a 2-0 win over West Ham, the former Toronto FC boss says he can do a far better job if he’s given the keys to the car (which is quite unlikely, you’d have to say).

Carver pointed to the deaths of two fans, which Premier League crowds at Newcastle and on the road have saluted in the 17th minute nearly each week, and a winter of on-field misery as parts of a poor plot.

From the BBC:

“The whole season has been difficult, when we went to New Zealand we lost the two lads (in the Malaysia Air crash in Ukraine), and that was a tragedy. I think they were looking down on us today. There have been some tough times but I’m stronger for it. I knew when I looked in the players’ eyes they were ready for this. Every player deserves credit. We have not had a good season but I am going to enjoy this moment.

“I still want this job, I love this club but I know this is a big summer. We have to invest , Mike has said that and that is encouraging. I want a summer where I can bring in the players I want. Today has given me more enthusiasm to do what I want to do.”

Carver could stay on staff, but his words — let alone his management — have shown he’s out of his element when it comes to managing a club of this size. If owner Mike Ashley really does want to win trophies, he won’t do it with Carver in the No. 1 chair.