A good first half performance saw United fail to capitalise, Chelsea taking the lead in the dying moments. The 2nd half was a non-even from our point of view, echoing the pattern established against Burnley. Carver still apparently thinks he is the man for the job, backed up by the Chronicle, whose “journalist” suggests that the stand in “has the credentials to prove it”. 

Sadly, our intrepid local reporter failed to point out how woeful the performance had been at Leicester. After a run of articles telling us the “5 things you need to know about” different candidates for the job, the local press forgot the one thing we REALLY needed to know, that most of them don’t want the job. 

Back to that first half, any prospective manager would have seen that there is talent on display. Although Cisse is currently away on ACoN duty, he may soon be away to Swansea, or somewhere else if reports are to be believed. Sissoko, who hit the woodwork, may provide a transfer kitty to go with the fee received for Pardew. He seemingly wants Champions League football with Arsenal whilst he is wanted in Milan. 

The next man for the hot seat, including French TV commentators, will have been able to assess the squad available. He will have seen where fitness levels need to be improved. He will have seen where concentration levels need to be enhanced. Of the things he needs to know, the one that may have been answered in private conversations, is how much will be invested in the squad on his behalf. However, he will have seen that Gouffran CAN get a free kick on target. 

We also got a glimpse of Loic Remy, who chose us as a stepping stone towards an ambitious Premier League club having followed in the footsteps of Demba Ba, Enrique, Routledge, Nolan and Carroll who did the same. 

Meanwhile, our former manager took his place at Palace, emerging with a win after coming from behind. This is something he managed a handful of times at Newcastle. 

The new Palace manager did comment that his new side was TOO honest. Who would believe that a team could be too honest? After all, what Pardew fed to the fans of Newcastle was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Meanwhile, Pardew praised the “maverick” streak in his new team. A particular focal point was the provider for the winning goal, Zaha who came off the bench. Palace supporters are clearly in for a treat. Pardew knows how to handle maverick players, having had Ben Arfa on the bench before farming him out, Marveaux, mostly on the bench is another who he once praised for a moment of genius, Carlos Tevez was a fixture on the bench at West Ham under him. Good luck, Palace. 

It also emerged that he “fined a player every 42 minutes” here in the North East. No wonder that the players are apparently behind Carver. It will not be forgotten that the last Newcastle manager to succeed his previous boss with the support of the players was Richard Dinnis. Like Carver he didn’t manage a win in his first 3 matches. Dinnis was sacked after 2 wins in his last 15 games. 

Next manager
As has already been alluded to, some candidates clearly do not want the job. The bookies’ favourite at time of writing is Garde, Sherwood being close behind. We need to know 5 things about the latter before he can be considered! 

Briefly, 2nd favourite was Paul Tisdale, current manager of Exeter City and given Ashley’s level of investment, or should that be no capital outlay in his club, he was discounted by the bookies. Tisdale can obviously expect to have a higher net transfer spend if he remains at the other St James’ Park. 

Others are of course flattered to be linked. We can dream and surely a host of foreign managers, Simeone, de Boer, Galtier, many more besides would relish the chance to prove themselves with an ambitious club in the richest league in the world. On the other hand, like several players, Garde may choose to join us, like Ba, Remy and possibly Sissoko, as a stepping stone to an ambitious Premier League club. 

Local press
The local press, or more accurately the Chronicle, continue to generate interest in the club, seemingly testing the water on Ashley’s behalf. Having been previously banned for accurately reporting protests, they have undergone a recent rehabilitation of their own. At the time of the ban, they ran the headline “banned but not gagged”. 

A number of supporters report that comments on the Chronicle website mysteriously disappear if they are critical of the newspaper itself. Of the 5 things that they have learned about Ashley, one wonders if one of them is how to change the slogan to “not gagged but gagging”. Meanwhile, Luke Edwards of the Telegraph is still banned and reports independently. 

Old boys
Congratulations go to Neil MacDonald who will be remembered as a cultured right back for Newcastle back in the 1980s. Old time away supporters will remember the quality of cross such as he provided for the late Alan Davies as well as his 28 goals in all competitions. In Allardyce’s absence through illness, he maintained a European challenge. Another old boy, Andy Carroll produced a goal which demonstrated the range that he showed here, giving the Hammers a point, yet another old boy, Routledge having been denied a win. 

In the meantime, whilst Ched Evans was offering an apology of sorts, his website still offering a £10,000 reward to snoop on his victim and ridiculing some of her previous statements. Joey Barton provided a great example of how rehabilitation should be sought, enhancing his status as role model for former offenders. During a fracas Barton was seen to intervene, pulling a colleague away from disgruntled supporters as indeed he was reported as doing a month ago at the QPR Christmas outing. 

Barton may even make the ideal number 2 to Carver, given the latter’s behaviour towards Newcastle supporters against Southampton. Ashley’s leading brand was, of course, the leading Oldham sponsor not to publicly withdraw support. Well done Joey - an example to others!