Carver summons spirit of Newcastle’s legends

John Carver is convinced he will have Bobby Robson standing alongside him on one side and Gary Speed on the other when he walks out at St James’ Park today.

Carver summons spirit of Newcastle’s legends

The 49-year-old will deputise as Newcastle boss as the Magpies take on Burnley in the Premier League with manager Alan Pardew bound for Crystal Palace.

Carver, a boyhood Newcastle fan who spent two years as a professional at his home-town club without making a senior appearance, has been asked to take charge of the next two games, along with first-team coach Steve Stone and football development manager Peter Beardsley.

However, he is confident that he will have even more support in the shape of the late Robson, under whom he worked during his reign on Tyneside.

Carver said: “For some reason, I started reading Sir Bobby’s autobiography last night. There was a message on the front of the book — ‘Thanks for a fantastic, successful five years, it should have been a lot longer. Cheers, Sir Bobby’.

“When he gave me that book, he said to me, ‘You do realise how big this football club is, and if ever you get an opportunity, don’t be scared of it, enjoy it and take it with both hands’. So I am sitting here now and I’m going to take it with both hands.

“I’m a Catholic and I believe he will be looking down on me, I really do.

“He will be there with us. He will be in the technical area with us, let me tell you that, because I never stop thinking about him.

“Apart from my mum and dad, who I lost recently, there are two people I never stop thinking about — he [Robson] is one of them, and Gary Speed is the other. They are always with us, and I think about them every game.”

Carver’s temporary appointment comes at a time when Magpies owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley assess their options as they look to appoint a long-term successor to Pardew once his exit is confirmed. They are understood to be looking for a head coach rather than a manager, a man who will work under the same system which at times frustrated Pardew, with chief scout Graham Carr central in recruitment.

There has been speculation Carver himself could take over until the end of the season or even longer-term.

However, he insisted he had not even considered that possibility as he prepared the players for today’s game.

He said: “I haven’t even had a chance to think about what I’m having for my tea tonight. It’s absolutely crazy — you don’t get time to yourself.”

Should Pardew be confirmed as Palace boss, he could turn to Darren Bent if the Eagles cannot complete a deal for Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis.

Pardew has been discussing personal terms with Palace chairman Steve Parish since Newcastle granted permission for the Selhurst Park club to approach their manager. Caretaker manager Keith Millen has admitted the club must not lose focus on their January transfer targets. “There are players on the list I’m sure the chairman’s going to go through with the new manager,” said Millen, who will stay on Pardew’s backroom staff. “If we can bring in one or two players then we can be at full strength.”

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