Rotting Newcastle show no signs of arresting slump

Newcastle slipped to 15th, two points clear of the relegation zone with three games remaining, following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Leicester City and they finished the match with nine men after defenders Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat were sent off.

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Williamson earned a second yellow card for a reckless tackle on Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and interim boss John Carver said he thought the defender had done it on purpose as an easy way out of Newcastle’s current crisis.

Williamson apologised, saying he would “never do anything intentionally to hurt the team or its supporters” but it is just the latest debacle for a club on its knees.

Newcastle’s slump started when Alan Pardew jumped ship for Crystal Palace in January, having spent four years as a largely unpopular figure at St James’ Park because of his close working relationship with owner Mike Ashley.

Newcastle were 10th in the table when Londoner Pardew departed, but the north-east club were expected to be in safe hands for the rest of the season under the guidance of passionate local man and Pardew’s former assistant Carver.

The reality, however, has been very different as Carver has won two out of 16 league games, while Palace have moved away from the relegation zone and up to 12th with Pardew at the helm.

Carver has resorted to verbal attacks on his players in an attempt to fire them up ahead of upcoming home games against West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United either side of a crunch away fixture against 19th-placed Queens Park Rangers.

But 50-year-old Carver, who media reports suggest will be replaced by Derby County’s Steve McClaren at the end of the season despite Derby flunking promotion to the English top flight, is not alone in his frustrations.

Angry Newcastle fans held a banner that read “We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries” against Leicester before swarming around the players’ exit where the team bus was parked and shouting “cowards” at squad members.

“I can’t disagree with them,” Carver said when asked about fan abuse towards the Newcastle players.

Ashley’s ownership of the club has angered supporters since he took over in 2007 with fans accusing the British businessman of consistently selling Newcastle’s best players and offering little in terms of ambition.

Newcastle have not won a major trophy since the Fairs Cup in 1969 and the last big excitement for supporters came in the 1995-96 season when they were on course to win the league title until a dramatic collapse allowed Manchester United to overhaul them.

How Newcastle fans must long for a chance to throw away another title.

(Editing by Mark Meadows; [email protected]深圳桑拿,; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; mark.meadows.reuters深圳桑拿,@reuters深圳夜生活,)