Managerial Review: John Carver (second spell)
After a 100% win record from his first spell as caretaker charge (albeit after one match), Carver's last management spell in English football will be remembered for several wrong reasons.
After Pardew's departure, Carver was left in caretaker charge for the first few games of 2015. After defeat at home to Southampton, Carver urged the board to sharpishly appoint a replacement but was given the job the following week until the end of the season. Remi Garde turned down the job offer because he thought Newcastle, as a city, was not cultured enough for him. He went to the city of Birmingham and epically failed as Aston Villa manager the following season.
A decent run of form of one defeat (away at Man City) in the previous five matches at the end of February saw a mid-table finish to the season the most likely outcome. However, the clubs worst losing streak in the Premier League which lasted eight matches meant that problems on and off the field escalated. A relegation battle occurred and the pressure seemed to hit Carver harder than a Toblerone that has been stored in the freezer.
Instead of remaining calm and composed under pressure, Carver tried to dig himself out of the ugly hole by talking his way out of it: Accusing Mike Williamson of getting himself purposely sent off in a 3-0 defeat to relegation battle rivals, Leicester. The hot, warm climate was the reason behind the loss to QPR on the second last game of the season, weather reports said that the temperature reached a peak of 17 degrees that day. How can we forget his personal claim to be the league's best manager with three games remaining? The website "whatculture.com" even makes a list of Carver's 22 BEST (suggests there is more!) quotes from his five months in charge.
And my personal favourite John Carver quote, coming after the final day win against West Ham to secure safety after months of torturous troubles only made worse by the man: "I still want this job". The season was finished but Carver's antics were far from over as he informed Ryan Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez, in the same phone call, that their contracts will not be renewed. Taylor and Jonas were players who always gave their all for the club and the latter returned in mid-season following his cancer treatment.
A humiliating blow fell to Carver in June when was sacked and replaced by Steve McClaren who failed to finish in the Championship play-offs with Derby County despite being top of the table and five points clear of third-placed Ipswich at the end of February.
Dates: 29th December 2014 to 9th June 2015 (163 days)
League: Played: 19, Won: 3, Drawn: 4, Lost: 12, Goals for: 18, Goals against: 35, Goal difference: -17, Pts: 13. Win ratio: 16%
Home (league): Played: 10, Won: 2, Drawn: 3, Lost: 5, Goals for: 13, Goals against: 16, Goal difference: -3, Pts: 9. Win ratio: 20%
Away (league): Played: 9, Won: 1, Drawn: 1, Lost: 7, Goals for: 5, Goals against: 19, Goal difference: -14, Pts: 4. Win ratio: 11%
Domestic Cup: Played: 1, Won: 0, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 0, Goals against: 1, Goal difference: -1. Win ratio: 0%
Away (all competitions): Played: 10, Won: 1, Drawn: 1, Lost: 8, Goals for: 5, Goals against: 20, Goal difference: -15. Win ratio: 10%
Total: Played: 20, Won: 3, Drawn: 4, Lost: 13, Goals for: 18, Goals against: 36, Goal difference: -18. Win ratio: 15%
Season by Season
Premier League: 15th (Played: 19, Won: 3, Drawn: 4, Lost: 12, Goals for: 18, Goals against: 35, Goal difference: -17, Pts: 13. Win ratio: 16%)
FA Cup: 3rd Round (v Leicester City)
First win and Biggest win
Hull City 0 Newcastle United 3 (Remy Cabella 40, Sammy Ameobi 50, Yoan Gouffran 78) - 31/01/2015
A great performance away from home rounded off January with the club in good stead with further wins expected in the coming games against Stoke and Crystal Palace. Remy Cabella scored his one and only competitive goal for the club low into the corner in front of the travelling Newcastle fans. The second began in the same way as the first had ended. A wonder strike from Sammy Ameobi (yes, a wonder strike from Sammy Ameobi) doubled the lead and the team looked comfortable for the rest of the game. An added bonus was contributed by Yoan Gouffran's great solo effort for 3-0. All three goals were scored with the left foot and from outside the box - the only time that has happened to us in the Premier League.
Last win and last match
Newcastle United 2 (Moussa Sissoko 54, Jonas Gutierrez 85) West Ham 0 – 24/05/2015
In December earlier in the season, Newcastle travelled to White Hart Lane for a League Cup Quarter-Final. Just two years beforehand, Benfica were the visitors at St. James' Park in a Europa League Quarter-Final second leg. Yet before this game, Carver dubbed this match as the biggest game the club has had in a long time. The Magpies were on top from the first whistle and created the better chances in the nervy first half including a sitter from one of the many club's French flops, Emmanuel Riviere.
Relief as well as euphoria went around the stadium when Moussa Sissoko headed home the opening goal, converting Jonas Gutierrez's cross from the left. Vurnon Anita had an amazing game that day but failed to double the lead after West Ham goalkeeper, Adrian read Anita's attempted selfless pass to give Papiss Cisse an open goal to score. However shortly after, Jonas Gutierrez, playing in what became his final game for the club after seven years on Tyneside, scored low into the corner to spark wild celebrations amongst Newcastle fans everywhere. A euphoric day but arguably one that could have easily been avoided.
Further landmark matches
Biggest defeat: Manchester City 5 - 0 Newcastle United – 21/02/2015
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