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Open letter to John Carver from India

7 years ago

Open Letter to John Carver

Last time I wrote was for the build-up towards the Chelsea game at Stamford Bridge in January.

I remember Mark (Jensen – Editor) telling me how difficult the second-half of the season might turn out for us. After that (hard-fought?) 2-0 loss at Chelsea, I decided I would write next when I saw a positive change at the club….

I hoped for a couple of signings, a new Head Coach, a new style of play, something positive to talk about and share with the rest of the Toon Army, it has been three months and I am still waiting.

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Week in and week out, we are getting nothing short of hapless relegation-fit football, loads of sanctimonious gasbaggery from the joke of a head coach, and pictures of desolate and bereft fans at every match-day. I may not be there but I have a feeling: Newcastle Upon Tyne will today feel more Black than White due to the current state of affairs at its beloved club.

So I decided to step out of my self-imposed oblivion; To firstly, wholeheartedly, lend my voice of support to those behind the AshleyOut campaign and the thousands of fans who fought with their inner conflicts and decided to participate in the same. I even wish more strength to those who dare to foray inside St. James’ Park, but they can contribute with the #StandUpToAshley at 34 minutes. 40,000 fans with their voices inside, and 10-15000 outside, that will show fan solidarity to the businessman who is killing the soul of this club.

Through this forum, I extend my services as a keyboard warrior to those in the core of that Campaign and would love to contribute in any ways they deem appropriate. Glad to see NUFC The Mag give their support and their platform to the movement, and hope they see it out as with the SackPardew campaign.

My second reason is more to do with the football, and hence my open letter to John Carver (who I would refer to as JC from here on, though certainly not out of disrespect)

Dear John,

I am a fellow ‘fan’ from a far away land and I write to you for one simple reason: I fear relegation, and I fear not being able to bounce back again like in 2010. And since you seem to be totally out of sorts in the run up to the fag end of this tumultuous season, here are my two cents for you to consider, and at least give it a thought to save our souls this season:

Playing 11:

From what we have seen in 2015, players who should be far far away from the playing 11 are the headless dolts like Gouffran and Obertan and horrendous underachievers like Raylor and Sammy. How much I have liked Raylor in the past but he has really slipped in form and finesse, in confidence and control, no doubt his serious injuries playing a major part in that. No words for Sammy, I’d better not say anything. You cannot get them motivated enough JC, they have serially lacked the gut and the passion needed to rescue a lost cause more times than most.

Instead, get players who have things to prove here, who have the drive for the occasion, who need a bit of push to perform. Since you have now kissed and made up with Jonas, he comes in. Get both Riviere and Armstrong in too. Abeid has been direct, but gives away the ball too much so may not be first team, but certainly on the bench, with Siem De Jong hopefully.


The two CDMs sitting ahead of the back four isn’t helping us. We need to get the goals upfront, so you need to sacrifice one CDM for a forward, JC. Get Anita and Janmaat as full backs with Colo and Willo in the centre, with Colback as the CDM. Jonas and Cabella to fly the wings, and I suggest to drop Perez to a no.10 role behind a front two of Riviere and Armstrong. All out attack, at least for the home games, eh JC?

So with my playing 11 and the formation suggested, the team should line-up as below:


Enough with the counter-attack (ha, hilarious!) strategy of the club. Go on the front foot, ask the wingers to run at the full-backs, ask them to cross the ball 100 times (you can get lucky at least once then, no?).

Play long ball to Riviere, ask him to hold it up for Perez and Arma to make the forward runs. For the set-pieces, get a different formation for those corners. The crowding of the 6 yard box is not helping. Ask the players to start from wide, and make a run to the inside, for a change. And for the umpteenth time, I humbly request you – Stop hoofing it to Willo in every set piece, IT IS NOT WORKING! Has it ever worked, ever, in the training ground, eh JC? I challenge you to post a set-piece training video on YouTube where he has scored. C’mon man, seriously!


Every ball out of defence does not have to be a mindless hoof, right? Colo does have the ability to play a midfield-cutting pass, encourage him to do that more. Keeping the ball is important here, especially in a home game. Willo can pass it to Janmaat or Colo instead of hoofing it. Tell Janmaat to run through the middle as much as he can. Gutierrez doesn’t need to be told to back-track but Cabella and Perez need some reminding there.

There is enough dirt already on you today JC, which has made sure you are to remain quite unforgotten and unforgiven in the NUFC history books. But there is a chance to wash away all of this, finish the season on a high. Get the boys to play their hearts out in these last five outings, get the points necessary for survival tomorrow, go out and be brave with your formation, substitutions and your tactics. Give an ear to those who are telling you to do a thing differently, decide if you want to go down as the one who got NUFC relegated again, or the one to saved the team to play and dream again!

Yours Sincerely,


(Bangalore branch of the Toon Army)

You can follow Rishiraj on Twitter @rishirajlahiri


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