We couldn’t quite believe just how poorly the team played in the second half of last season under John Carver, and as well as having injuries, we also picked up some stupid suspensions – such as Papiss Cisse getting banned for a massive seven games for spitting – and that didn’t help at all.
As well as injuries and suspensions, the team played very poorly and the players played nowhere near their best – and nowhere near how they played earlier in the season.
We had a six game winnings streak and then a few games later we beat Chelsea 2-1 at home – the third time running we had won that fixture in the league.
Steve McClaren – new head coach at Newcastle
That was Chelsea’s first defeat in the Premier League last season and also their first defeat since the previous April, when they were beaten 3-1 by Atletico Madrid in the semi-final second leg of the Champions League.
So the players were pummeled in the press – especially in the Chronicle – but a coach’s job is also to get the very best out of the players he has available – and nobody can accuse John Carver of being successful in doing that.
We don’t want to put the responsibility too much at John’s door, and the players have to take responsibility for their terrible form and even their attitude was poor, as some of them seemed like they couldn’t care less at times.
That’s simply unacceptable at a club like Newcastle – and if they don’t want to give 100% for Newcastle – they should leave or be sold this summer.
John Carver and Steve Stone paid for that terrible run of 13 points from 19 league games, and they were both fired earlier this month.
Ian Cathro – Newcastle assistant manager
That leave a clean slate for Steve McClaren and it was a bit of a coup that we have signed 28 year-old Scot Ian Cathro as the assistant manager – and he is highly respected in coaching circles for one who is not yet 30.
Steve is also likely to have a (very) strong coaching squad, so they should be able to get the best out of the players we already have., never mind the new players we will be bringing in this summer.
We have to remember that in the first 19 games last season we still had 26 points after a very poor start, so if we had kept that up and got 52 points for the season, Newcastle would have been in 10th place and made the target of a top 10 finish – but Alan Pardew had had enough and left quickly at the end of last year.
So the players we have cannot be that bad, and we think Steve McClaren and Ian Cathro and the other coaches can get the best out of those players, and can get the lads much better organized than they were this year under John Carver.
That’s one reason we are fairly confident about next season.
Last season was one of the worst seasons ever for injuries, and we were again easily at the head of the injury league, where a club gets one point for every game a player misses.
Steve McClaren is bringing in Alessandro Schoenmaker as head of Sports Science (or whatever his title will be) and he’s been with McClaren at the other clubs he’s managed.
Schoenmaker’s top job will be to reduce the large number of injuries Newcastle always pick up in a season.
Most of the injuries tend to be hamstring problems, and it’s been a bane at Newcastle for at least 10 years.
We remember Graeme Souness thought it was the training pitches that produced all the hamstring problems, and he had the lads train on the Academy pitches – but we still picked up injuries.
That’s an area and problem that just has to be solved – and just imagine if we had few injuries such as Chelsea had last season, we could have fielded a much stronger team and picked up more points.
So that’s the second reason we have confidence about next season.
And the lads seemed to be short of confidence and inspiration when playing under John Carve, and the good news is that Steve Black is coming back into the club as part of McClaren’s coaching staff.
Steve is also among other things a motivational speaker, so hopefully he can persuade the lads they are the best players in the league at their positions – before the games and during the week.
That should get improved performances from them.
But the main two reasons that should make a big difference next season are much better coaching and organization, and hopefully a huge decrease in the number of injuries we pick up.