John Carver has urged Newcastle United supporters to scrap their plans to boycott the home match with Tottenham Hotspur later this month.
Bitter over Mike Ashley’s running of the North East giants, Magpies supporters, including those involved with the influential Newcastle United Supporters Trust and the website ashleyout.com, hope the attendance at St James’ Park on 19 April – live in front of the Sky Sports television cameras – will be the lowest at the stadium since the inception of the Premier League.
Judging by a recent poll in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, the boycott is an idea which is backed by a significant number of the club’s support, with 90 percent willing to participate. But even if the majority of fans were to decide against the boycott and attend the match, there are contingency plans for a protest to take place before and after the match against the Londoners.
Carver, who has been in charge of first team affairs since Alan Pardew joined Crystal Palace in January, has himself come in for criticism from supporters due to his close ties and loyalty to the Ashley regime. And the 50-year-old Geordie has again risked the wrath of the Magpies fan-base, by advising them to forget all about the boycott and instead focus on supporting the team.
“It’s an important part of the season now,” said Carver, whose run of just two wins in 13 matches makes him unlikely to be offered the post beyond this season, said. “We’re at the business end and I’m pleading ‘get behind the team, give us your support, because it makes a difference. We’ve had this in the past and the fans have got behind the team. That’s important.”
In reality, there is no danger of Newcastle being relegated this season. They are currently in 13th place in the Premier League, some nine points above the bottom three. But their fans believe the players owe them a result following the 1-0 defeat at rivals Sunderland last Sunday, and they will hope this comes on Monday night when they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool.