Since Alan Pardew’s swift departure to Crystal Palace at the beginning of the month, the St. James’ faithful have seen their side trudge on without a manager at the helm, and without much of an idea of what direction their club is heading in, if any.
Several big names throughout Europe were immediately linked to the job, but seeing as the BBC have reported Mike Ashley is to give care-taker boss John Carver the hot-seat until the end of the season, Newcastle United are technically no longer manager-less.
As such a decision has done very little to appease the concerns of Magpie fans, do Newcastle have unfinished business in the remainder of the season, or does the 2014/15 campaign now go down as a write-off for everyone involved with the club?
It ultimately seems a shame that a club as iconic as Newcastle, with their strong fan-base, big stadium, and reputation for being Premier League entertainers throughout the years; have had very little success on the pitch to show for their efforts. Silverware is the ultimate objective of the game, and with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City – two teams who once would have been consider ‘smaller’ clubs – picking up trophies left, right, and centre; the footballing tide is certainly starting to turn.
History and tradition are beginning to mean less and less in today’s game, and if Newcastle are to avoid falling behind the rest of England’s top-flight sides, they must act sooner rather than later to reverse their fortunes.
Such a message has seemingly gone unheard by Mike Ashley however, with the Newcastle chairman failing to appoint a recognised head coach to lead his team throughout the rest of the season. John Carver, for all the respect he earns as a local lad who has previously worked with Sir Bobby Robson, just isn’t the man to fit the bill with the St. James’ faithful. Whilst many Newcastle fans may have greeted Pardew’s departure in celebratory fashion, would their reactions had been the same if they knew John Carver would be the man to take over?
The former Toronto FC boss, whose brief stint in the MLS is Carver’s only experience as a first team manager, simply doesn’t inject the kind of enthusiasm back into the Newcastle side that many supporters had hoped for in the wake of Pardew’s exit. The likes of Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye have unceremoniously moved on in the past, creating the idea of the the club as a stepping stone to dream moves elsewhere, rather than a dream in itself. It’s hard to imagine this image changing under the current stewardship, as very few players are going to be attracted to a team who are happy to merely plod along.
That said, if Mike Ashley and Newcastle United were to somehow land an exciting name that comes with a strong managerial reputation at the end of the season, the half-hearted promotion of John Carver will likely be quickly forgotten. Former Lyon boss, Remi Garde, has been heavily linked to the job at St. James by the Telegraph, and would fit in with the French theme that they have going on at the club. However, current Ajax manager, Frank De Boer, would surely be the most desired choice on Tyneside.
The Dutchman has become synonymous with a no-nonsense attitude, entertaining football, and most importantly; success. Such credentials would certainly tick the boxes at Newcastle – and seeing as it’s been reported in the Guardian that he will decide on his future at the end of season – there may be an argument to be made that Ashley is right to wait for his man.
Whatever happens for Newcastle in the remainder of the season, the overriding feeling is that the St. James’ faithful deserve better than what they have received in recent years. Mike Ashley seems to treat the black & white stripes as no more than a giant advertising board for his SportsDirect endeavours and has been far too happy to flounder when the aim should be to flourish. It’s hard to know what the club’s aims are for the rest of 2014/15, or more damningly, whether they have any aims at all.