John Carver’s been watching as his team scooped up one point out of its last 30 to slide from the top half of the table to the brink of relegation, but he still can’t believe it.
The self-glossed best coach in the league, Carver’s running out of things to say (at least logical ones). His recent media talks have ranged from the bizarre — We mentioned he said he was the best, right? — to the conspiratorial (Remember his claim that Mike Williamson took a red card on purpose?).
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And this tense final week has been no different. In what you’d hope wasn’t a line from his Sunday team talk, Carver expressed wonderment at his team’s failures, “I can’t believe it’s come to this, but it has and we’ve got to deal with it.”
Many people, however, can believe it has come to this. Carver’s bunch has played lackluster football while being waxed by clubs from the top and bottom of the table.
At times it looks a lot like the last relegation season, only with an odd-quipping manager talking about how he swore he’d never get the club relegated. And he remembers watching Alan Shearer managed the deciding loss to Aston Villa.
“I’d come back from Canada and I was watching on television in a pub,” said the Tynesider, who had then just resigned from his post as the head coach of Toronto in the MLS but now occupies Shearer’s old shoes. “It was a difficult time for me and on that day I genuinely didn’t speak for an hour afterwards.
“I remember seeing the pictures of Alan on the pitch afterwards and I thought: ‘I hope that never, ever, happens to me.’ As it happens, I saw Alan only the other day and we talked about his feelings at the time and I told him what I felt. I just said: ‘I hope I don’t have to experience that.’ Hopefully I won’t.”
Visualize that. Carver walking up to a club legend and saying, “That must’ve been terrible, Alan. I sure hope I don’t blow it on Sunday!”
At least Newcastle supporters can know that even in a worst-case scenario, owner Mike Ashley wouldn’t keep Carver on board if the team goes to the Championship, right. Right? Right?!?!?