Having taken an early lead through a tap in from Ayoze Perez, Newcastle should have been in the driving seat to end their six game winless run. But once again defensive frailties and their lack of self belief shone through with visitors Swansea surging into a 3-1 lead. A late goal by the permanently injured Siem De Jong gave the team a glimmer of hope but by that point few fans were there to see it having exited the ground as early as the 75th minute. The Geordies have simply seen enough both from the team on the pitch and the board off it. Fan protests throughout the game highlighted the extent of Newcastle’s troubles, with the Newcastle faithful taking to their feet in the 34th minute to hold up banners calling for the exit of owner Mike Ashley. The significance of the time chosen was a reflection of the clubs financial woes but not in a bad way. In a report published early last week, Newcastle FC were reportedly sitting on a cash pile of £34 million as of the end of last year bringing in to question why that money has not been used to invest in the squad. Already down to its bare bones, Newcastle’s first team lacks depth and quality in several positions and has failed to plug the gaps left by notable departures. The lack of investment during the January transfer window is now starting to show with Newcastle’s season in freefall.
Saturday’s collapse marks their seven straight defeat in a row; their worst run in over 40 years. The nature of the defeat to Swansea highlighted the extent of the problems facing temporary boss John Carver. Promoted to the role shortly after Alan Pardew jumped ship for Crystal Palace in January, Carver waxed lyrically about wanting the job full time in an almost desperate self run PR campaign. Unfortunately for the long serving coach he has done little to demonstrate his managerial credentials to the Newcastle hierarchy. Results on the pitch have been poor but not as bad as Carvers off it; several times unraveling in front of the media in recent weeks. He has blamed crowd protests, bad refereeing and injuries for the losses but hasn’t spoken once about the glaring problem – his lack of tactical know how and ability to turn things around. The players did initially back him early on in his tenure, speaking to the press about how good a coach he is. This is understandable given that footballers are generally only focusing on themselves and protecting what they have so backing the then manager regardless of who that may be is a must to ensure good favour and ultimately playing time. But those voices have fallen silent now as the chaos continues. Carver is a great coach but like many who try to make the switch from second in command to pole position, he has struggled. The pressure is starting to show on Carver’s face who faced up to several harsh words from a few angry fans during the Swansea match. He called later for the club to do something about it but the solution may not be to his liking with his stay at Newcastle almost certainly over. A new manager will be appointed with a mandate of making Newcastle competitive once more.
Which league that will be in will depend on how the remaining four fixtures of this regular season play out. Up first is Leicester City, who are on a mini revival as they fight for their own Premiership safety. Failure to beat Nigel Pearson’s team could edge Newcastle closer to the drop with the gap now only 5 points between themselves and arch rivals Sunderland in 18th. Newcastle likely need 7 points from their remaining 12 to ensure survival but on their current form, no one would bet on them beating the drop. The only saving grace for the club may be that the opposition they face over those four games are in similar perilous situations. Wins over fellow strugglers QPR, West Brom and Leicester should secure survival before an end of season game against West Ham. Defeat however could spell the end for Newcastle’s Premiership story and spark further protests against owner Mike Ashley.
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