Alan Pardew’s surprise decision to leave Newcastle and take up the managerial reins at Crystal Palace has seen the turmoil at St. James’ Park return. A man who was once the subject of considerable pressure from fans to leave the club rejuvenated the team during October and November to take the club into the top half of the table, but his departure has seen Newcastle slip out of the top ten. As results and performances have began to wane again, it has become imperative that Mike Ashley and the Newcastle hierarchy study their options carefully and make an appointment that stands the club in good stead for the future.
There are very few managers who would turn down the opportunity to manage a big Premier League club with a wonderfully passionate fanbase, with several names mentioned as potential suitors for the Newcastle job. Although results may not have gone his way, the chances of caretaker manager John Carver remaining in charge until the end of the season grew in probability as the long-time Newcastle coach offers stability and understands what it takes to play for the North East club. As the 50-year-old became strong favourite for the job, punters would have been able to get the best value using bookies.com comparison across major companies, with Carver seen as the man who can guide Newcastle to safer waters.
Although Newcastle were linked with a number of established managers, including Ajax’s Frank De Boer, the club were in dire need of a safe pair of hands who could adequately build on Pardew’s groundwork. Fans naturally hoped for the best manager possible to take charge of their club to restore the feel-good factor at St. James’ Park, but appointing a local favourite on a temporary deal may be the best for all concerned. Carver offers stability at a time when Newcastle need it most, particularly as he has worked with the players for a number of years and does not have to adapt to life in the Premier League like any of the foreign managers would. A deal until the end of the season removes any uncertainty over Carver’s position at the club, and now allows the temporary manager to set about implementing his own ideas which will hopefully reap dividends.
The right appointment?
Giving Carver the opportunity to prove his managerial credentials in the 16 remaining league games may be the safe and sensible choice, but the decision has not entirely gone down well with the Newcastle faithful. It is clear that Carver was far from first choice, with attempts to lure Christophe Galtier from high-flying Saint-Ettiene and former Arsenal defender Remi Garde hitting a brick wall. Other targets, including Steve McClaren and Tomas Tuchel, also came with difficulties as it became clear that Newcastle would be unable to secure a mid-season appointment of the calibre they were after. More importantly, Newcastle have been far from inspiring in the three games Carver has been in charge of following Pardew’s departure; although Chelsea and Southampton were always likely to be tough games, losing the lead three times at home to Burnley in a game where Newcastle were second best throughout may have rung alarm bells. A rather unsuccessful spell as manager of FC Toronto is further proof for those against the appointment that Carver is the wrong man for the job.