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Welcome home John Carver

By Lee Ryder on Jan 18, 11 10:57 AM


Newcastle United have yet to sign a player in the January transfer window - but in highly experienced Geordie coach John Carver they could today have pulled off the shrewdest of coups by landing him as assistant.

Carver's coaching career has been decorated since Sir Bobby Robson was sensationally shown the door by Freddy Shepherd in 2004.

Stints at the club's Academy - where in his first week he halted a decision that would have resulted in "left-back" Andy Carroll thrown out of Newcastle - and Luton, Toronto FC, Plymouth and latterly Sheffield United followed.

But the torch simply never went out for Carver when it came to Newcastle United Football Club.

Carver twice invited me over to Canada during his stint with MLS side Toronto to allow me to observe his work from a closer distance and with access all areas, something unthinkable in the modern footballing era.

To say Carver's methods were impressive is an understatement.

The Geordie is clued up when it comes to the game's modern-technology side but also has the perfect balance of "old school" management when it comes to the proverbial arm round the shoulder or kick of the backside.

And back then in illustrious city of Toronto at BMO Field, which lies in the shadow of the magnificent CN Tower, it was obvious then that while you can take a Geordie over the Atlantic and out of Newcastle, you can't take the Newcastle out of a Geordie.

Carver is a man's man, and on a night out in TO the only subject was football and NUFC, in between getting the beers in of course.

Back then he told me he always had it in his heart to one day move make a "dream" move back to St James' Park and that has now been realised.

His love and affection for the black and whites, coupled with his undoubted coaching experience can only be considered as a major bonus for Alan Pardew.

Pardew, whose tactics have already began to pay off with three wins and a draw from his opening six matches in charge, has been honest enough to confess so far he is still "learning" the Geordie way at St James' Park.

Now with Carver by his side as number 2, and ably assisted by fellow Tyneside native Steve Stone, Pardew has plenty of know-how on Gallowgate to lean on when he feels the need.

Carver's association with United stretches back to his boyhood loyalty to the Magpies but it was Kevin Keegan who first handed him a chance as a youth coach in the early 1990s after he'd hung his boots up as a professional after representing the Toon as a youngster.

Stints at Cardiff City followed and he also starred for Gateshead and Whitley Bay, where he is considered a club legend at Hillheads, before the switch to coaching.

After working his way up to the first team coaching ladder to work under Ruud Gullit in 1998, his success as a young coach began to kick in as he and the Dutchman, along with Steve Clarke, helped guide the Magpies to the FA Cup final.

Beaten by Manchester United at Wembley, United still managed to get into Europe but less than 10 games into the season, Gullit was gone in 1999.

However, the arrival of Sir Bobby Robson was the making of JC - as he's known to players and staff - at St James' Park.

Carver helped Robson transform Newcastle from relegation fodder to mid-table material and then into a side that qualified for Champions League.

The Tynesider was by Robson's side as they put in a title tilt in 2002 and 2003 and managed back to back top four finishes - a position in which United have never since returned.

A popular figure with players and black and white through and through, Carver's arrival until the end of the season can only be a good thing for a Newcastle side who are edging ever closer to their target of survival.

4 Comments

db said:

cant believe we are going back over old ground with carver, lets talk about what he has achieved, conversation over absoloutely nothing. 3 others have turned it down and now suddenly carver is the best man. Ashley get some back bone and stop employing yes men and get some decent players you fool

toon4life said:

db I agree with you in some respects. As much as we welcome back JC i somehow get the feeling the fat one just done this as a sweetener to us the supporters because he knows smarting and still up in arms with the crass cruel sacking of CH. He obviously thinks this is a masterstroke from his point of view and i hope the supporters don't fall for that. Whatever so called "positves" he makes, there is always a massive negative just round the corner. A leopard will never change its spots.

toonagain said:

yes not a bad thing Lee you're obviously a big fan, no harm done here with this one. lets hope he can point out that Jonas is actually a right winger and therefore if we play him there we'll in fact need, as we do now, a left sided midfielder and overall be a better team. so you can keep SWP thanks, not that he was coming anyway and nor was anyone else, its all just bubbles being blown out of that tower window again...

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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