John Carver will continue to lead Newcastle into the final three games of an increasingly calamitous campaign after surviving crisis talks at the club’s training ground yesterday.
Carver was widely expected to be sacked after the Magpies’ eighth successive defeat at Leicester on Saturday left them two points above the Premier League relegation zone.
In a chaotic aftermath Carver had suggested defender Mike Williamson had deliberately got himself sent off, then admitted: “There’s a chance they (the players) are just not listening to me.”
With speculation mounting, Newcastle were left in the unusual position of issuing a short statement in which they maintained that Carver would stay in charge for next week’s game against West Brom.
The statement read: “Following the result at Leicester City on Saturday, there has been two days of frank dialogue with John Carver and senior players.
“The outcome of those discussions is that the board, John Carver, his staff and players are absolutely focused on our current situation and the three hugely important fixtures that remain this season, two of which are at St. James’ Park.
“That is the only focus at this time.”
Newcastle felt they were left with no option but to continue to support Carver after their preferred successor, Derby boss Steve McClaren, reportedly rejected the chance to step in for the last three games.
McClaren saw his Derby side fail to make the play-offs on Saturday and it was widely expected he would make the move to St James’s Park, although even a summer move now appears in doubt.
The latest twist in an increasingly sorry saga comes one day after Williamson issued a statement denying Carver’s accusations and making a series of apologies from which Carver’s name was noticeably absent.
Fans reacted with astonishment to the club’s statement, with many taking to social media to express their fears that the decision to stay loyal to Carver could cost them their top-flight status.
Mark Jensen, editor of the Newcastle fans’ magazine themag.co.uk, said yesterday: “Just when you think things can’t get any worse the club put a feeble statement out saying it’s business as usual.
“I personally don’t know a single Newcastle fan who thinks John Carver is the right man for the job, but if you talk about a change you have to question who in their right mind would want to walk into this total mess.
“This has been coming for a long time – it is a carbon copy of last season when we had a few more points on the board, and the season before that we also nearly went down.
“If other clubs continue to pick up points I think we will go down.”
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