Should Newcastle reward John Carver's loyalty?

The interim head coach is in pole position to get the job permanently and has the support of his players, but should the board look beyond sentiment?

Despite only steering the north east giants to two league victories in his six games in charge, Carver has the full support of Newcastle players past and present, as he looks to have given the board a tough decision to make at the end of the season.

Newcastle are heading towards a respectable mid-table Premier League finish, despite a troubled start to the season in which they failed to register a win in their first seven games. However, a disgruntled fanbase are anxious to see the club return to competing at the top end of the table, and while the playing staff might be supportive of Carver being given the job on a permanent basis, many fans are calling for a more established name.

In the Chronicle this week, ex-goalkeeper Steve Harper has claimed that promoting Glenn Roeder from within did the club no harm in February 2006 after the sacking of Graeme Souness. Roeder managed a 7th-placed finish that season, but after Alan Shearer retired in the summer, the following season became a trial and Roeder didn't last long.

It is also true that Roeder had far more managerial experience at the point at which he was promoted, in the lower divisions with Gillingham and Watford and in the Premier League with West Ham, albeit none of this was particularly successful.

Current player Sammy Ameobi, a scorer in the 3-0 win at Hull City that marked Carver's first game in charge, told the Newcastle Chronicle this week that “John Carver is a man who sticks by his players. He’s been around for so long. Everybody is very used to him. We all want the best for him. We are trying to the best for him and hopefully, he keeps his job.”

Carver's popularity both with players and fans is without question, but the Newcastle board should take a warning from previous trading on sentiment, when the emotional returns of Kevin Keegan (2008) and Alan Shearer (2009) failing spectacularly.

Faced with what could be a landmark managerial decision in the summer, the question whether Carver's loyalty should be rewarded is a universal 'yes', but surely only with a position on the backroom staff where he has excelled for many years.

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