John Carver haunted by Magpies’ past soccer derby failures

The sight of Paolo di Canio sliding across the St James’ Park turf on his knees in celebration is one which will always haunt John Carver.

John Carver haunted by Magpies’ past soccer derby failures

Di Canio’s joyous celebration of Adam Johnson’s goal in a remarkable 3-0 derby victory on Tyneside for Sunderland in April 2013, remains an iconic image for Black Cats’ fans long after the controversial Italian’s brief, if eventful, reign came to an end.

But it did not go down well in the home dug-out, particularly with Geordie Carver, then Alan Pardew’s assistant.

He said: “When Paolo was sliding on his knees, I’ve never been so agitated in my life. I wanted to take the law into my own hands that day because of what I watching our in our stadium.

“It was very, very difficult to take, but you have to take it on the chin and accept it. From that day, that is something that really motivates and drives me to try to get the right result.

“This is your own stadium, this is your home and it was embarrassing. It was an embarrassing performance and I was embarrassed to be part of that.

“I was embarrassed about the way we played that day. Him doing that pissed me off, I’ve got to be honest, but I was embarrassed about the way we played.”

Sunderland will equal Newcastle’s run of five derby wins on the trot between 2002 and 2006 if they manage to claim just a third Premier League victory of the season on home soil.

Carver has experienced the joy of success in the fixture during his spells working under Bobby Robson and Pardew, but also sampled the bitter taste of defeat in one of the more notable clashes between the near neighbours as a coach during Ruud Gullit’s ill-fated spell as manager.

The Dutchman famously opted to leave star striker Alan Shearer and side-kick Duncan Ferguson out of the game at a rain-lashed St James’ on August 25, 1999, and he paid the ultimate price for a 2-1 defeat.

Carver said: “We were at the old training ground with [assistant manager] Steve Clarke and Ruud. He started talking about what the team was going to be against Sunderland. “I said, ‘Sorry Ruud, what did you say there?’ He said he was going to leave out Alan and Duncan, and this was going to be the team. I said, ‘Do you know how important this game is?’

“He used to call everyone ‘lovely boy’, and his exact words were, ‘Lovely boy, I have played in some massive derbies. I’ve played in them against Ajax, London derbies and I played in the Milan derby too’.

“I said, ‘Yeah, but do you actually know what this means?’ He said, ‘I’ve already told you – I’ve played in massive derbies’. I went, ‘Yeah, but you haven’t played in one like this Ruud’.”

Full-back Massadio Haidara will not play again this season. Carver said: “Sadio Haidara had a cyst taken off his knee last Thursday in France and won’t be available forthe rest of the season.”

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has ordered his players to treat tomorrow’s showdown as a cup final. “When I arrived, I talked to them about nine finals. The second final is Newcastle.”

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