So, 4 weeks and a day after standing in for the departing Alan Pardew in the press conference following the Everton game, the cockney boss tell his men to get |Carver. He has been announced as the new Newcastle manager. This is the arrangement until the end of the season. 

Lord Charnley has taken 4 weeks and a day to sift through 80 applications for the job, allegedly undertake due diligence and come up with the man right under his nose. As the season ticket renewal deadline approaches, does he have the man to put bums on seats? 

Before going further, obviously, Carver takes the position with the best wishes of supporters. With those best wishes, naturally come some reservations. 

Carver has a long association with Newcastle United. As a local lad, he joined the playing staff aged 16 back in 1983, being released 2 years later before going on to play 13 times for Cardiff City. His playing career being truncated by injury, he went on to play for the second team in the North East, Gateshead. 

Already embarked on a coaching career, he came back to United in 1992 as a part of the club academy. He went on to become number 2 to the great Sir Bobby Robson 7 years later, taking the hot seat for a solitary game as caretaker. 

After a season away, Carver came back to join the managerial team at Leeds, ending up with another caretaker spell after Blackwell was sacked. 5 games later, including a solitary win, Carver followed, that coaching team reassembling at Luton, again sacked. 

The next stop was to take up his own managerial appointment, this time on the other side of the Atlantic with Toronto. Having brought some former colleagues from the North East, he left after 40 games. In interviews with local press, he stresses that he wanted to move Toronto forward faster than the club wanted to move. Presumably, his 12 wins in 40 games had little to do with the decision. 

Back to the UK, in December 2009, he teamed up with another Sir Bobby protégé, former Ipswich and England striker, Paul Mariner. The nomadic lifestyle continued 7 months later, joining Sheffield United under one of Sir Bobby’s fondly remembered Newcastle stalwarts, Gary Speed. On Speed’s elevation to the Wales role, Carver again became caretaker with 1 win in 3 games, before being sacked.

Within a month or so, Carver was back at
Newcastle, this time as number 2 to Pardew. Once again he found himself in the caretaker hot seat, this time with no wins in 4 games, satisfying the owner’s lack of ambition in the FA Cup on the way. To date his managerial record shows 15 wins in 53 games, or 3 in 13 as caretaker.

 

There will be time to ponder over what awaits. The questions will already be asked. Why did it take 4 weeks o come to this decision when results have given no support to Carver’s candidacy, despite protestations from the local press that “he has the credentials”. A home draw to a club in the bottom 3, an FA Cup defeat against the bottom team were followed by defeats against top 3 clubs, one of them at home. 

Supporters are left looking for clues. After the last game against Southampton, when asked if he would stay on until the end of the season, he said “I’d have to think about it”. 

Does this mean that the club have decided to postpone an appointment until the summer, or do they already have a new man lined up? It would be understandable for Carver to stay if he genuinely believes that he had a chance at the role on a permanent basis. 

The nature of the Sky question and his response suggested that Carver may have some managers he would be prepared to work under, other he might not. It may be perhaps telling that prior to formalisation of the current arrangement, 2nd in the bookies odds was Steve McClaren, another former international manager, like Speed and Sor Bobby, with who he has a link. In this case, both completed their Pro Licence in the class of 2004. 

Could it be that Charnley favours a manager currently in work, chasing promotion from the Championship? Howe at Bournemouth impresses with a good brand of football, Karanka likewise at Boro. Given Ashley’s involvement in Rangers, could they be seeking to poach someone from the Pozzo model of club, Jokanovic at Watford? Certainly of those 4 only 3 can come up. The old favourite for speculation, Steve Bruce could be available if Hull go down! 

It would be understandable if the club has already secured the next man, from a club overseas whose coaches have made an impression. It is noted that the only 2 English managers still in the game to have won trophies are Redknapp and McClaren. There is a host of talent around Europe, de Boer, Tuchel, Galtier, Garde, Laudrup and others. Benitez becomes out of contract in the summer. If the right one is not on a pre-contract, waiting for one of them is a dangerous game given other opportunities that will materialise.

It could be that, sitting on compensation for Pardew, a fee for Mbiwa, potentially bids for other top players, the club is amassing a fortune for the new man to spend. On the other hand, given the tardy replacement of players such as Carroll, Ba and Cabaye, perhaps the Managing Director is as indecisive as he came across in his major interview recently.

What can we expect from a caretaker? The last time a coach took over and a short term appointment then made, we went down. That is still a distinct possibility now. However, an internal coach did get us promoted. Roeder got us into Europe. The last time a coach stepped in after a resignation, Richard Dinnis took us into Europe and then the bottom of the league. 

The risks should be known to Charnley. We wait to be surprised. The wait could go on ……………. and on and on and on. In the meantime, we remember that like Michael Caine, Carver’s career here could come to a sticky end.