Newcastle United Football Club hasn’t won a professional soccer game since Feb. 28, and that was against Aston Villa, so it barely counts. Supporters, in response to the club’s poor form and the general state of hopelessness under owner Mike Ashley, are expected to save themselves from the misery of watching the team play in person. Thousands will leave their seats at St. James Park empty on Sunday in protest as the Magpies host Tottenham.
Interim coach John Carver says he understands the fans’ plight and in return, is looking for a bit of sympathy from them as he trudges forward taking on what he calls “the hardest job in football.”
His press conference ahead of this weekend’s game was masterful for a coach who has lost five straight games while petitioning for a permanent position, but to get the real message, you have to read between his expertly crafted lines:
“I think they do support the team but they have obviously got their own issues. I respect those issues, but I was asked if I would go and I said ‘yes, I would go because I support the team’.”
Translation: Dude, I wouldn’t come to watch this team either. Have you seen us play? There are children playing games in the park down the road for absolutely free. That’s a better investment than whatever it is we’re doing at the moment.
“I never thought I’d see it to be perfectly honest, especially in the North East because we love football. So obviously something has triggered in their heads to make them not want to come and I respect that.”
Translation: I say “we” because my agent says fans are less likely to call for the head of a coach who liberally tosses around first-person pronouns when talking about supporters. I need all the help I can get. I just hope these horse-punchers aren’t offended by me playing stupid about not knowing what triggered this protest. They know where I live.
“They pay for their season tickets and entitled to go if they want. If they don’t, that’s their prerogative. They pay their hard earned money and and can do what they want to do.”
Translation: To be honest, I’m bored. I’ve been slipping Bobby Brown references into these press conferences for weeks and no one’s called me on it. “We’ll get better with every little step” was a classic, bro. Can’t believe no one caught that shit!
“I genuinely believe that if I’ve got the right tools I can do the job. I think I’m getting the best out of the players I’m putting out on the pitch at the moment.”
Translation: These players are trash, man. You know it. I know it. So when you start a riot outside St. James Park, PLEASE keep the brick throwing to the players’ parking deck. I only have six payments left on this Toyota, I’m about to be unemployed, and I really don’t need the hassle right now.
“It is encouraging that we have four games at home and two away, but we have to start winning now. We can’t keep looking over our shoulders and relying on other teams [to help us avoid relegation]”
Translation: Seriously, you guys. It’s the black Toyota Avalon in Lot D. It even has a Newcastle air freshener in it. My wife told me not to buy it until I got a permanent job, but I did it anyway. If you smash my windows out, it’s only going to prove her right. Allow me some dignity.