Newcastle’s capitulation at the King Power this lunchtime was entirely predictable. Leicester are currently the antithesis of John Carver’s side, they are the scrappiest, most feverishly motivated team in the division and, all things considered, Newcastle were lucky to head home having only been beaten by three.
Post-game, Carver did an admirably effective job of creating yet more division on Tyneside, throwing almost all of his first-team players under the bus in the press-conference and accusing Mike Williamson of intentionally getting himself sent-off.
And in fact, fair enough; Carver is of limited use in the Premier League but there’s something novel in hearing a Newcastle manager raging against the dark apathy which has infected the club. The players were unforgivably poor today and Williamson probably did lunge at Jamie Vardy with the aim of excusing himself from next week, so he’s can be forgiven for his reaction. It will solve nothing and, in all likelihood, just make his relationship with the players more fractious, but it’s good to know that there is still something resembling a pulse at St James’ Park.
Carver, as we all know, is a symptom rather than the illness. He is an unfortunate footnote in this never-ending Mike Ashley saga and this site has already produced enough content on that topic.
But isn’t it interesting how little gets said about Ashley on television. Whenever Newcastle play - and invariably lose - on Sky or BT, their defeat is always met with the same set of banal platitudes. The players’ commitment and effort is always questioned, Carver’s credentials are always doubted, but nobody ever says anything about how the club is actually run. Nobody.
Why is that?
We joke about how naive some of these pundits are and how surface-deep the analysis of the game can be, but it’s implausible to suggest that they are all ignorant of the true circumstances at Newcastle. Criticise the players and the manager - fine, they deserve it - but how can anybody surmise the situation at that club without mentioning the obvious causes.
Why, at this time of year, does Newcastle’s form tail-away?
Why, when Alan Pardew left the club, was a manager with no professional managerial experience appointed to replace him?
Everyone knows the answers to those questions, but why is this topic never debated in the public domain? It’s as if, to preserve the illusion of the Premier League, discussion of anything which hints at its impurity has been forbidden by a higher power. When Newcastle get beaten, the analysis shouldn’t be limited to listless set-piece defending and self-defeating coaching decisions, it should encompass the entire context within which this nonsense is happening.
Where are the talking heads when you actually need them? Put Mario Balotelli in front of one of those ex-Liverpool player-pundits and they’ll be provoked to an incandescent rage. Bring up Newcastle, though, and they’ll sink back into their chair, muttering quietly about effort and ‘difficult circumstances’.
Honestly, if I don’t know better I’d think that this topic was being censored.
This needs to change and those with a public profile need to be more angry about this. Where are the concerned statements from The FA or the league? Where are all the shouty blow-hards when you actually need them?
There’s nothing. Like a topic which should never be mentioned, any conversation which seems to be heading in Mike Ashley’s direction is brought to an unnatural end and replaced with an awkward, inappropriate silence.
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