With the appointment of Steve McClaren at NUFC appearing ever more imminent, coaches John Carver and Steve “Fredflint” Stone have been expelled by Lee Charnley. Where next for the coaches, and for NUFC itself? 

Having been manager, Carver is obviously the higher profile of the candidates to have been deemed surplus to requirements. He has lived the dreams of many of us to have been schooled on Tyneside. He has been manager of our great club. 

Even more illustrious is the place that he has written for himself into the history books. He departs having had the worst record of any manager in Newcastle history, at least of those who have experienced more than 10 games in the hot seat. A win ratio of 15% and a mere 13 points in 19 league games is a record that will last for years. 

Even Richard Dinnis, who lost 10 games in a row, has been replaced in folklore. Generations of Newcastle supporters will remember Carver now. 

Controversies will also be remembered. He seemed to feel that the Bonnie Tyler song, “The Best” had been written for him. Just as we were hoping for him to be “Holding Out for a Hero”, he left us with an almost “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. 

Despite the warmth that all Geordies would have had for our own local heroes, Carver did himself no favours. Even in the last week of the season, he preferred to play golf rather than employ extra training for the crunch match against West Ham. 

Other controversies surrounded confrontations with players. Even as a coach for Sir Bobby, Carver had his run ins, famously with Craig Bellamy. In his short managerial spell, he fell out with Coloccini over potential removal of the captaincy, Jonas over being dropped after a Man of the Match performance, Williamson over allegations of avoiding matches and probably more behind the scenes. 

Despite fan support, Carver also seemed keen at times to alienate those who wished him well, famously turning on those who dared to protest against Pardew before playing Southampton. 

So where next? His coaching record isn’t that great but there have been some interesting coaches who picked him as a number 2, Gary Speed and Paul Mariner among them. 

In the past, Newcastle managers have made a career in punditry; Keegan, Shearer, Souness, Gullit, even Pardew has done a bit. Nigel Pearson and other interims, such as Steve Clarke have shown there can be a way back. Perhaps Richard Dinnis is a better example, becoming a radio commentator. 

There may be an immediate vacancy as number 2 at Gateshead to the newly appointed Malcolm Crosby but Carver may find another of his former clubs resistible, as indeed they may find him. 

Being the best coach in the Premier League and as he said, the best golfer in the world, perhaps the Ryder Cup awaits! 

Steve Stone is a different kettle of fish, being younger and having achieved more at the highest domestic levels. Time and reputation are on his side. 

The other side to the coin is what will happen to the backroom here at St James’ Park. Several people have already thrown their hats into he ring, but McClaren may decide to go with a trusted blast from his own past. If so, there is Paul Simpson from Derby, sports psychologist, Steve Black is another intriguing option. 

Of those who have been here before, Steve Round is another possibility. He has worked with McClaren at Middlesbrough, England and Derby, following in McClaren’s footsteps at Man United. Of the same ilk, Richard Money who has achieved heroics with Cambridge could also be a possibility. 

A more intriguing hint of a link to the past with potential continuity for the future is Lee Clark. Having created an exciting brand of football at Huddersfield, Clark learned to live within his means as manager of both Birmingham City and Blackpool. His development of players like Jordan Rhodes would make him a serious contender, both as assistant now and for succession planning in the future. 

Similarly, Clark’s former Newcastle team mate, Steve Watson has also been actively coaching, including under Clark. His plea through the press is worthy of consideration. 

An outside bet could be another of those former players, Neil McDonald who appears to be free now that his former boss, Sam Allardyce, has also been released from his contract at West Ham. 

Is there a dark horse from McClaren’s time spent in Europe? 

On the goalkeeping side, Andy Woodman is rumoured to interest Palace but did once tell those of us on this site that he had grown to love the North East and would love to stay. The progress that his son has made at junior England level and making the bench for the first team are undoubtedly an attraction for him to stay, unless McClaren has other ideas. 

Pavel Srncek, currently in the North East on other business, is also a free agent, having been released by Sparta Prague and has also thrown his hat into the ring. Eric Steele has been a trusty partner for McClaren but another who has strong ties and played for McClaren’s longest employer as a player could also come into the reckoning, a certain Steve Harper. 

Whatever happens we shall know soon. For Carver and Stone, this is an experience that they can learn from. For many reasons, their tenure will not be remembered with affection but we all make mistakes. Good luck to them and well done for taking a reported £1.5m off Ashley, a crowning glory – you could get Gateshead into the Football League with that and good coaching! 

For McClaren, he has much to prove. Let’s hope that Ashley backs him and gives a new team to bring pride back to supporters. There are options to return this club to greatness. We can only hope that between them, Ashley, Charnley, Carr and McClaren make it a possibility.