So John Carver has proved he is the equal of his mentor, Pardew, having managed a defeat against Sunderland and only one match away from potentially equalling the record run of 6 consecutive defeats. No other Newcastle manager has done worse than that.
To get the stats out of the way, since taking over, Carver’s run has not been the best. 2 wins out of 14, including a cup exit, league form since he has been in charge has dived. Only Sunderland have scored fewer goals, only QPR conceded more, only QPR have fewer points, no side has a worse goal difference and only Hull have gone longer without a win.
In election time, Blair’s anthem ‘Things can only get better’ resonates.
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Looking back, the cup may seem half empty. 1 goal in 5 games since Cisse’s suspension. It is 9 games since we scored more than 1, against lowly Hull and Steve Bruce. That episode with Cisse reminds us of the lapses in discipline that have also seen others miss out; Colback for too many cards, reds for Coloccini and Sissoko.
We may now be mathematically out of the race for Europe, but we are still in touch, albeit remotely, with one of the targets that Carver set for himself, 8th place (don’t laugh, he did really), at least until the visit of Swansea.
The defeat at Liverpool had some promising signs, however. We only conceded 2. Carver rallied the troops after by saying we have 6 cup finals, arguably not the most motivating to say with our cup record under Ashley. Liverpool have their own cup to look forward to, a semi against resurgent Villa who appointed a proper manager, albeit at the embryonic stage of his career.
Looking back, the glass may seem half full.
Injuries seem to provide more positive news; de Jong available soon potentially, Coloccini comes back. The knock on effect is considerable, our right-back will be able to move to right-back, left-back presumably being covered by the right sided midfielder currently deputising for Janmaat.
Colback and Abeid can resume their partnership, de Jong provides a forward midfield alternative. Out wide, we have options that may not be with us next season.
A striking option is now available in the shape of the South American wizard, Ferrerya (they are wizards if they can do disappearing acts aren’t they?). Cisse will return for the last 3 games of this season, if not next year.
OK, we are not yet mathematically safe from relegation but remaining fixtures for other clubs should see us safe. Even if we slip places, Ashley’s financial losses through league placing will be more than covered by compensation from Pardew and Santon, which brings us to the accounts.
We have some extra news on that front this week which you can read HERE. There is still some explaining to do but at least the club can, as we have been told the aim was, ‘wipe its nose’, at least without a case of man flu.
Despite having only made a profit of £18.7m, the powers that be at St James’ Park turned a £4.5m overdraft into a £34.1m cash surplus. Cash has improved by £20m more than profit. Just imagine if the powers that be were to work the same sort of magic on the pitch!
The club can still meet Fair Play rules, notably with the increase in commercial income from sponsors who shall remain nameless. Charnley has indicated a net spend is forthcoming in the summer.
Just imagine the sort of spending power that will create, added to those players who are ambitious to further their careers.
The likes of Krul, Sissoko, Tiote, Janmaat and potentially others should bring in some healthy spending power to add to the loose change.
Newcastle United are also well poised to provide decent wages for free agents. Already gone are Santon, Mbiwa and Ben Arfa. Other players whose contracts here are coming to an end include Jonas and Raylor.
Who needs those 4 established international players when we can pick up hot prospects such as Riviere, Gouffran and Obertan?
The club has also taken another bold positive step, ditching photographs (see image above) of the former Newcastle United. We clearly no longer need reminders of those heretics who consistently sought the distraction of Europe when we have the heady ambition of Premier League survival.
With relative safety also secured, we have 6 games until the end of the season to assess the merits of younger players in the squad. The Under 21s may not have gained a single league victory in 9 games since the turn of the year but did manage an impressive 3-1 win in a friendly against Carlisle. The Under 18s have managed a healthy 3 wins in 12.
John Carver has also had the opportunity for some valuable experience in the hot seat. As he tells us, he does not shackle players who are inching ever closer to expressing themselves and only have a few miles to go.
Even if Carver does not choose to continue next season, and with 2 wins in 14 games why should he not want to, then Lee Charnley has had 4 months to wade through the 80 or so applications for the managerial role.
Carver tells us that he has the credentials for the job and who can argue with his 12 wins out of 40 with Toronto? The wally with a brolly is allegedly waiting in the wings to bring his international credentials to St James’ Park. We are spoiled for choice.
Yes, we can look back and claim a half empty cup, if indeed we want a cup at all. Looking forward, the cup really is not half-hearted, it is half full.
With a sound financial base, highly motivated players, a coach who worked with Sir Bobby and a playing philosophy that can perform miracles by sending the most severe insomniac to sleep, thing really CAN only get better – or is that just a D:Ream?