Jeez, what a mess. Eight losses in a row for Newcastle United and it’s actually at the stage where it’s hard to see them winning again this season.
This team has some deeply ingrained issues, many stemming from the fans absolute, vile hatred for owner Mike Ashley and the way he treats the team and his players like pawns in his money-making schemes. But ever since Alan Pardew left, to be nonchalantly replaced by the next convenient cab off the lot, John Carver, things have gotten so much worse. It was a disinterested appointment, and with Carver in charge, Newcastle have won just twice in seventeen games.
Things got absolutely crazy this week though. Losing 3-0 to relegation-threatened Leicester, slipping into that drop-battle themselves, getting two red cards in the process, things were basically at rock bottom. Then Carver went out and accused Mike Williamson of DELIBERATELY getting himself sent off at the end of the game and said his players had been “gutless and spineless”, pretty much saying that Jack Colback is his only decent player.
Rumour has it that there were dust ups on the team bus afterwards, and any players that thought to applaud the Toon fans certainly didn’t get their generosity reciprocated. The club held crisis meetings, but nothing changed. Carver stayed despite the vacuous lack of dressing room support, and later had this gem to offer the hungry press:
“I still feel I’m the best coach in the Premier League. I still feel I’m the best coach around.”
Meanwhile Fab Coloccini has released a tacky open letter to the fans, rallying their support. Which acted as a nice way of reminding everyone that not only is Newcastle’s manager completely out of his depth, but his players are dispassionate, disinterested disgraces these days too.
Today we need you more than ever. In these three games we need to be together, we need to be united, to be a family - a family that fights together against adversity, a family that strives to achieve the success that you and this Club deserve.
Those things are always desperate last swings, but it’s not coincidence that there isn’t a single mention of the words ‘coach’, ‘Carver’, ‘gaffer’, ‘manager’ or any such derivative. ‘Staff’ is mentioned several times, sure, but no mention of the coach.
It sounds like Newcastle wanted Steve McClaren to come in for a three game S.O.S. tour after his Derby team missed the Championship playoffs, but he declined. Hence the support in Carver.
Even The Local Priesthood Is Against Mike Ashley
“If you spend your hard-earned money on a match ticket, it’s an insult to witness passionless, mercenary football. Our family is Newcastle. Give us what we want. But, if he is not prepared to change, Heavenly Father, give him the insight to know it’s time to go. Give us a new owner (or a new mentality for the present owner) who will take our spirit and not crush it but revive it. Give us someone who will not rename our stadium from St James’ Park, not change the colour of our strip. Not rebrand us into something we are not” – Father Stephen Foster, Newcastle Fan.
Look, they may be awful at the moment, but you can’t say they don’t have a prayer…
When Mascots Go Bad
Shout out to this guy, mascot for Austria Vienna, who might have gone a little hard on the beersies before storming the pitch here. Super Leo, a lion with a purple cloak and plenty of courage, had apparently been out celebrating his 42nd birthday the night before the game, and you can really tell.
The club have since added Super Leo to their official list of injuries and suspensions, citing that:
"Super Leo will be out for the rest of the season as he is feeling under the weather."
German footy club Mainz have taken the lovely approach of offering Elkin Soto a new contract immediately after he suffered a potentially career-ending knee injury.
He was due to be off-contract at the end of the season, and not likely to get another deal for a long time given the months of recuperation this is going to take. Soto had planned to return to his native Colombia at the end of the year to see out the rest of his career, with Mainz not intending to renew the 33 year old’s deal. But that all changed in a hurry, and credit to those involved for how they reacted.
For the doctors and medical professionals out there, here is the exact extend of the injury, per The Guardian:
“A total dislocation of his knee in which the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus were all torn away from the articular capsule.”
Sounds… umm, painful.