A 2-1 defeat against a top 3 side, hardly surprising although it is a new manager at Southampton who has progressed with them.

Earlier in the season we highlighted that some managers can integrate new players into a squad with immediate impact. Instead of berating our own, Koeman deserves congratulations and recognition for an excellent work in progress. Perhaps he has illustrated why we should be looking for a foreign coach.

remi gardeThe studious crowd contributed a thoughtful approach to proceedings. The quietness rivalled that of a library.

On the pitch, we saw what we knew. Ayoze is a worker with talent. Sissoko is capable of playing with power despite the lack of options, Colback is tidy, Anita can be when given the chance. We lack bodies attacking the near and far post. Most of the talking points, however, are off the field.

Carver for the job?

Watching the recording of Sky coverage, one thing was noticeable. Where we usually expect to see at least one shot of the Directors’ Box during the game, we saw none. Was the person in waiting at the ground today? When coming back, Keegan was easily spotted. Those in the know report that when Ashley was not seen at games, he was in fact watching behind dark glass from other boxes.

(To feature like Rex N, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

Sky interviewed Carver afterwards. His view on the ‘penalty’ incident was that it, “makes a difference to livelihoods and futures.” Despite the Chronicle telling us why he has ‘the credentials for the job’, the solitary draw and 3 defeats suggest otherwise. Who would he not be prepared to work under? Does the transfer policy affect his thinking?

He was also asked if he would be prepared to take the job until the end of the season. His reply was, “I’d have to think about it.” Does he know more than he is letting on? If his support for the regime is less than wholehearted, one would have to question if he is the right man to take the team on a jolly, sorry, serious warm weather training programme.

Having had the Chronicle supporting Carver all week, Lee Ryder’s post-match verdict reverted to the apparent honesty that we saw when they were not getting free seats at St James’ Park. There may be news to come!

Backroom staff

It has also been interesting to see what has been going on in the back room. Dave Watson appears to have had a higher profile this week. It will be remembered that a significant portion of the coaching staff at the start of the season had a strong connection. Pardew, Watson and Donachie all completed the 2003 Pro Licence course together, along with former Newcastle staff Fazackerley, Joe Joyce, Nigel Pearson and former number 9s, Peter Withe and Mark McGhee.

Carver himself completed the course the following year, alongside Steve McClaren and current number 2 at West Ham, Neil MacDonald, a former United right back.

Currently the most successful coach at the club is Peter B. Watson has a win rate of about 33%, Carver 0%, Peter B having 7 wins in 10 league games to go alongside a decent cup run. Questions should be asked by our local press, why has he had so much lower a profile than the others?

Woodman who has privately expressed a love of the North East continues to be a part of the team, joined this week by his son in preference to Jak Alnwick.

Homegrown players

One of the highlights of this season is the number of local players coming through. Sammy Ameobi looked a threat when he came on, his older brother is now available after returning home from the borders of the Syrian civil war.

We had a few who started the game; Welsh Geordie Paul Dummett who was mysteriously replaced by Williamson. Given no tactical advantage, we can only assume injury or bad management. Dutch Geordie, Tim Krul, also counts as ‘home grown’ as does Killingworth lad, Jack Colback, even though in footballing terms he was raised in a pretty dismal area South of here.

Although conceding to a masterful Gouffran effort today, Forster has more clean sheets this season than any other Premier League keeper, his transfer providing Ashley with a cash windfall in the summer. Clearly, Ashley’s system has produced some benefit.

Meanwhile, James Ward-Prowse produced the sort of performance to back up Pardew’s assertion that if we want home grown talent we should look at the middle class, or players who have a double barrelled name.

League position

The Southampton game means that we are now on 27 points after 22 games. Ostensibly all looks good for safety and Ashley’s millions in TV income.

One of the two decent Chronicle articles that have been written over the last month (apart from John Gibson and former players) is credited to Mark Douglas, warning of ‘drift’, referring to Norwich who were relegated having been in the top half.

He could have gone further. In 2008, Derby gained 4 points in their last 16 games. In 2006, Sunderland got 6 points from 16 games. In 2003, Sunderland lost their last 15 games (rock bottom with 19 points), West Ham going down with 42 points. In 2000 Wimbledon had 2 fewer points than we do now and were relegated by a 3 point margin. In 1998 Palace had 4 fewer points than we do now and were relegated by a 7 point margin.

sunderlandCrucially, in 1997, Sunderland were relegated having a record after 22 games of W7 D6 L9. Their goal difference at the time was -8, one better than ours is now. If you are responsible for appointing a manager, Messrs Charnley and Carr (and Ashley), please take note.


Just a quick word for our departed manager, showing more flair than he did here for the last 3 years. In 2 PL matches in charge, he has come from behind to win, almost equalling the same achievement in 4 years here. Is this down to motivation, having a reported 250% pay increase? Could this be a lesson to Ashley, that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, or managers who act like them?

Rex also runs his own website (toontoon.co.uk) which you can visit HERE

  • SimonM68

    Good article.  I find it ironic that Pardew is “embroiled in a telegation battle” and we are … oh yes, one place above Palace. Now is seems he is looking at putting a bid in for Cisse too, to rub our noses in it.

  • GToon

    If we sell Sissoko we will go down. I’m not suggesting he is the only player we have but the general feeling amongst fans and probably players of “here we go again, sell and dont replace” could have a major impact on our season. One point of view is that the club are waiting until towards the end of the transfer window so they can sell who they like and then appoint. It could be the other way round and that the new person is waiting to see what the club does in the transfer window before accepting. I bet its the former but you never know. Would be great to think the new bloke stood up to the shopkeeper from the start.

  • GToon

    SimonM68 Honeymoon period? You know, just like Carver is currently having!!!

  • Little Davey

    A very good article RexN
    this last paragraph under ‘League Position’ is truly shocking and should not be dismissed so easily by those that say we are too good to go down.
    “Crucially, in 1997, Sunderland were relegated having a record after 22 games of W7 D6 L9. Their goal difference at the time was -8, one better than ours is now. If you are responsible for appointing a manager, Messrs Charnley and Carr (and Ashley), please take note.”

  • toon tony

    Until yesterday, i thought 13pts taking us to the “magical ” 40pt mark would be an easy task, even for Carver. Now I’m not so sure !!!

  • Little Davey

    toon tony   aye, look at the fixtures, its frightening.
    The hull match is a must win to ease the pressure

  • vbhgft

    Little Davey toon tony Frightening? By that logic every Premiership fixture is frightening, because we have to face Hull, Stoke, Palace, Villa, Swansea, Leicester, West Brom, QPR, West Ham and Everton who are not the side they were. 

    In any 16 games there will be a few Man Citys and Arsenals. Same for those at the bottom too remember.

    Are we supposed to be frightened of everyone? We have beaten Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham this season.

  • amacdee

    We all believe that Fatman wont let it happen a second time because he’d lose the PL status for advertising his brand. However with all those articles coming out of Glasgow you kinda wonder if he’s now set his goals elsewhere, especially when buying Rangers right now is such a cheaper option ?

    If he controlled Rangers for a total of £20m and they return to the SPL next season, he’s got a ready made vehicle primed to take over from NUFC in the worldwide market which is Champions League. 
    OK they may not make jump that immediately but with a few million spent on players, possibly researched by our own Graham Carr, the bloke then has a cheap, marketing tool to help raise Shlte Direct’s profile across Europe.

    So do we wait and twiddle our thumbs until Fatman makes his decisions or are you prepared to up the ante and help make his choices for him ?

  • geordieladdo

    Dummet mysteriously replaced?? He was holding his hamstring and hobbling about for five to ten mins before coming off!
    The only bad management on that occasion was how long it took to bring him off..

  • Little Davey

    vbhgft Little Davey toon tony   yes we have beaten the ones you mentioned, but just as likely we can lose to all the others.
    Not frightened of anyone, just the potential results.
    Like I say, beating Hull will do us all a power of good, a bit of breathing space and extra pressure on them in the bottom 3.
    People saying relegation looks good right now need their heads shaking

  • Little Davey

    amacdee  seriously fella, apathy rules at NUFC.
    Fans are not united and never will be unfortunately.

  • cwtoon88

    If your happy with players as poor as sammy and especially Dummett just because they are homegrown shows the menatlity of the author. EDL all the way eh?

  • DownUnderMag

    If Sissoko goes before the window closes then I expect us to struggle.  His position alone won’t be the reason, he doesn’t pull the strings as much as Cabaye did, or scoreset-up the goals that Ba did, but I believe his leaving without anyone coming in will signal the white flag by the club as a whole and the players will take some recovery from that.

    cwtoon88 I agree that having a side of Geordies isn’t good enough if they aren’t the right standard, you don’t win games by being sentimental.  But Sami was actually our most threatening player when he came on – read into that what you will; a) overrated youth player who gets a game because he is local, b) not good enough but made to look good by the dross around him or c) a decent player on his day but not capable of holding down a regular first team spot just yet due to lack of games and experience….

    Will we go down?  It’s hard…I expect us to be fighting for our premiership survival but our saving grace will probably be points on the board and even with our current form I expect a few more points before the end of the season…and I just can’t see the teams at the bottom picking up enough points to overtake us, and i’m betting Mash & Co. will be banking on this as a massive gamble to see them through to the end of the season and either a sale of the club or a total reworking of the current setup…and I expect Carver to get the job fulltime as well…not this week but next week, right around the 30th…just in time to claim no signings because of the uncertainty and the window shutting just in time for the owner to sigh that he’s not had to spend any more cash…

  • vbhgft

    Little Davey vbhgft toon tony Yes, potentially we could lose the lot and those at the bottom could win the lot. Rarely happens.