John Carver is the manager of Omonoia, a Cypriot football club based in the capital city of Nicosia – a job he took up in early June.
John was interim manager of Newcastle after Alan Pardew surprisingly left the club in late 2014, until Carver was fired in June of 2015.
That’s after we had only just survived in the Premier League that season by beating West Ham 2-0 in that final game and after John had lost 8 Premier League games in a row for the first time ever in Newcastle’s history.
John Carver – while interim manager at Newcastle
He will be at St James’ Park on Boxing Day for the important game against Sheffield Wednesday, when we will be without Jonjo Shelvey, as the midfielder misses the first of five games because of suspension for the FA misconduct charge.
John is back from Cyprus for a short stay over Christmas and he had this to say on the Chronicle:
“I was manager of Newcastle, Rafa Benitez is manager of Newcastle United.”
“It really does feel like a different club. Same ground, same shirts but everyone is pulling in the same direction now compared to back then.”
“I’ve still got a lot of friends at Newcastle and they’re all telling me he loves the club, the fans and the area”
“They were difficult times in the seasons before Rafa came in, but don’t forget I know what it is like when there is a feel-good factor around the place.”
“We had it when I was Sir Bobby’s No. 2 and at times, we felt unstoppable.”
“That same feeling is being generated at the moment and I’m convinced it will continue so long as Rafa stays around.”
“There’s talk of clubs coming in for him but I can’t see anyone tempting him away.”
“I’ve still got a lot of friends at Newcastle and they’re all telling me he loves the club, the fans and the area. “
“In Rafa, Newcastle have a world-class manager but there had to be a major changes and to be fair to Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley, they recognised the fact and have done what they had to.”
“Crucially they are allowing the manager to manage properly, backing him in the transfer market and giving him the final say.”
“The club is reaping the rewards for that.”
“When the fans were protesting against Ashley, you sometimes felt you needed to be wearing a tin helmet.”
“But I’m sure there will be a party atmosphere inside the ground this time.”
“How times have changed.”
The times have changed – yes – and that’s what you get when you allow a world-class manager to come in and take control of all football matters at the club.
Rafa knows exactly what he’s doing and for once under owner Mike Ashley everybody associated with the club is pulling in the same direction.
Hopefully some great times lie ahead of us.
Note: Reader Elliot Little will be braving the sub-zero temperatures on the Great Wall of China this Christmas to raise money for mental health charity MIND.
Elliot will camp out with his friend on Christmas Eve overnight on a challenging section of the wall before trekking around the relatively under-explored area of Jiankou on Christmas Day.
Here’s more information on the trek and his justgiving page.