What happened when I booked into the team hotel at Leicester
Leicester 3 Newcastle 0 Saturday 2 May 3pm
Goals: Ulloa 1, 48 (Pen), Morgan 17
So where do we start with this one? Do I start with the fact I spoke to John Carver on Friday night?
Do I start with the fact I managed to obtain counterfeit tickets for this game?
Do I start with the first 38 seconds of the match?
Do I start with the sad jeering of Ryan Taylor or do I just ramble through?
I don’t see much point in doing an in-depth match report, 99% of you would have seen the game anyway on BT sport, and will I am sure have drawn very similar conclusions to me!
Anyway toward the end of the week I decided I wanted to go, and having tried to obtain tickets I found it was sold out, we only actually took 1900 tickets despite the demand being there.
I then went on a website called ticketbis and found 2 tickets for the away section and promptly paid over the odds to order!
The clue should have been they came from a PO address in Southampton! As luck would have it, as they arrived I got a call from the NUFC box office asking if I wanted to buy a couple of returns. I took them up on the offer and will report back on my dealings with ticketbis another time!
(See below, the fake is the top one with the runny ink and the bar code on the wrong side!)
Anyway, fast forward to Friday and off I went to Leicester.
Now when I went in January for that cup game, the team stayed in the same hotel I was at. So I sort of thought they would be there again, and for sure they were, albeit locked away out of sight somewhere.
Off into Leicester City centre for the obligatory curry before returning to the hotel for a couple of beers. On arrival back at the hotel there was an entourage of NUFC staff including John Carver, Steve Stone, Bob Moncur, Dave Watson plus a few others I did not know sat in the bar, not all drinking alcohol I will add.
Now I did have a very small NUFC badge on and I was sat close by, subconsciously trying to earwig.
After a few minutes and to his credit, John Carver came over, shook my hand and chatted for a few minutes, chatted all things NUFC, he also remembered I was there in January.
Of course I took the opportunity to ask e few things and to his credit he was quite honest in his responses, very friendly and clearly cares for the club in much the same way as the fans.
Without repeating the conversation verbatim, we spoke about the game ‘tomorrow’, and how we needed something, I asked if the players were happy and his response was ‘the ones that are here’ are, he would not be drawn further on that point, but I guess the ones that did not travel took some kind of huff!
I also asked about summer transfers and if anyone was leaving (can all go for me after Saturday), he said there was absolutely no intention of Newcastle letting their best players go.
This was countered by him saying he recognises that other teams will look with interest at what is going on, I took that to mean that everyone has his price with Ashley at the helm.
I did ask about signings and he did say that Newcastle were going to spend significantly in the summer.
We spoke of other things, like his time at Plymouth Argyle and our promotion party down there.
I also cheekily asked if there was room on the team bus for a lift to the ground as I wanted to leave my car at the hotel and for a few seconds he really did think about it…
Now I am going to be honest and frank, as I hope I always am. John Carver comes across as a genuinely nice bloke, he absolutely cares about the club and the criticism (deserved ) does hurt him, he really wants to make a success of managing NUFC.
As for his reactions when things go wrong, he is simply human and reacts like we would, that’s the problem of being a manager and fan.
I hand on heart think he should resign now, the players are simply not performing for him, for whatever reason, he needs to take himself out of the limelight. We need someone in charge who can lift the ailing squad for the last 3 games.
So, onto Saturday, bumped into JC as the bus was boarding and leaving, wished him best of luck etc.
So, a taxi to near the stadium and drinks in the very curious Indian wedding venue called the Symphony Rooms, a bar within 2 minute walk of the ground. Home and away fans mingling without the sniff of trouble, reasonably priced beer and plenty bar staff.
After this the day sort of got worse, taking my seat about 4 mins before kick-off I actually thought we had a stronger team out than recently, but the standard was set when Ryan Taylor lost a 50/50 tackle after 4 seconds and before we knew it they had scored from the resulting corner, disaster!
Like I say, I won’t go into massive details, simply because you will all have seen the game, what I will say is Leicester do it right off the pitch. Unlike Mike Ashley who disbanded the singing section and killed the atmosphere, Leicester actually encourage their fans to make some noise, and they did just that, they even joined in with the Ashley out chants!
A few minutes later and it was 2 – 0. What is it about set-pieces, we have an ex-England centre half on the coaching staff yet it seems every time we concede a free-kick or corner a goal is imminent. JC was right about Williamson, he is spineless and clueless, and our captain is at the present time not much better.
A couple of half chances fell our way before Riviere decided to make a fool of himself when one on one with the goalkeeper, deciding instead of shooting to take part in some sort of spontaneous falling on his arse ritual.
Half-time came and went, with the optimistic suggesting we could not be as bad again….wrong! As Riviere stupidly fouled someone in the box from yet another set-piece and it was now 3 – 0 from the resulting penalty, with plenty time to go for more to follow.
The anger cranked up to new levels in the away end, culminating in Ryan Taylor getting jeered as he came to take a couple of corners in front of us. I found this both justified and sad, Ryan Taylor suffered 2 bad injuries and is not the same player. Mehdi Abeid is young fit and hungry and deserves to be in that team, actually on second thoughts he is probably best out if it!
Next came the Willliamson sending off and the biggest cheer of the day from the away contingent. The tackle was stupid, reckless and could have caused serious injury, JC should not have ripped into him publicly afterwards but he was absolutely right with what he said about him.
At this point I left the ground so did not see anymore, maybe someone could tell me how our most consistent performer managed to get himself sent off also.
I feel for some players. Tim Krul, who has to play behind that back four – he must be a bundle of nerves. Ayoze Perez who battles along with no support, the rest I am afraid were awful!
Did we have a man of the match? Just the away travellers once again who put time, money and effort into the hope that things might change, hats off to us all! The huge banner displayed just a few words is absolutely spot on, we simply want a club that tries, well under Mike Ashley I don’t see it happening, he is an evil man and a cancer to our football club.
So, where are we now? Well like I said earlier John Carver is a decent bloke who cares for the club in much the same way as the fans, but he needs not to be in charge next Saturday. Someone has to be in charge of the team who can make what’s left of the squad all pull together for our final 3 games, make no mistake we won’t get another point if there is not a change this week.
It has to be someone external, someone who can just freshen the players’ minds and get them to want to go onto the pitch.
As for us, we have to get behind them next weekend because relegation would be a disaster too far, possibly a terminal disaster.
As I wrote this, rumours were rife that Newcastle were imminently about to appoint Steve McLaren, he would not be my first choice, but somebody new has to be in the dugout this weekend.
8 games in a row, it is absolutely astonishing and once again we are the laughing stock of the Premier League.
These are the key stats as provided by BBC Sport;
Possession was 52% Newcastle and 48% Leicester
Total shots was 12 for Newcastle and Leicester 19
Shots on target was Newcastle 3 and Leicester 7
While corners was Newcastle 7 and Leicester 10
(Player ratings totals below from fans so far, add yours and then press submit)
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Colback, Gutierrez, Ryan Taylor (de Jong 58), Sissoko, Perez (Armstrong 74), Riviere (Anita 64)
Unused Subs: Woodman, Abeid, Ameobi, Cabella
Ref: Mike Dean
Crowd: 31,576 (1,900 Newcastle)
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