In the midst of a second-successive season-ending swoon, Newcastle United is getting heat from one of the most beloved players in club history.
Alan Shearer, Newcastle’s all-time leading scorer with 206 goals, appeared on Match of the Day and lamented the status of his longtime club.
“They’re in a mess. They’re in trouble,” he said. “I feel a bit sorry for John Carver, because he’s from the area, he loves the football club; it’s just a shame some of his players don’t love the football club as much as he does.”
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Newcastle has 35 points and a favorable slate the rest of the way, but still likely needs a point or three to ensure its safety. With Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion, QPR and West Ham remaining, that should be achievable.
And Shearer’s criticism won’t do anything to help under-fire ownership, which has endured several high-profile fan protests in recent weeks, nor help Carver.
For his part, Carver’s had about enough from the fans. He’s trying, darn it all, and stopped just short of tossing his players — losers of seven-straight — under the bus.
“They expect me to put the ball in the net, stop the headers going in, stop the opposition from scoring,” said the 50-year-old.
“I can’t affect that. I can’t get on the end of the corner and head the ball clear which would have kept us one up at half-time. I can’t do that.”
“I am not going to stand out there and be abused during the game. The club has to do something about it,” he said.
“I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Sometimes it is quite difficult to stand in that technical area and be abused the way I was abused without any protection from the sidelines.”
Mess is the right word here. And while Carver also flamed out from Toronto FC, he’s not to blame here. Shearer’s got that right, and he might just be spot on right away. In any event, NUFC owner Mike Ashley better hope his players don’t mail in the final quartet of games, or else his mid-table money goal will turn into another needed promotion push.