Apparently, Tottenham Hotspur have to continue to play matches this year. I just kind of assumed that we were going to be allowed to opt out of the rest of the season once we lost to Tim Sherwood. So, I guess we're playing Newcastle this weekend. Which is cool. They haven't been very good and a bunch of their fans are planning on boycotting the game to protest Mike Ashley or the price of footballs at Sports Direct or whatever. I don't really know.
So, I sat down with Jim McMeachin of SB Nation's Newcastle blog, Coming Home Newcastle, to discuss their own incompetent caretaker manager, the success of their previous manager, and why everything else in the world is awful.
Also, on the off chance that you're interested, I answered some questions for them, in which I didn't really say anything too interesting.
Cartilage Free Captain: So, #BoycottSpurs? I can't say I blame you. I don't really want to watch Spurs either.
Coming Home Newcastle: I've tried to come up with a flippant response to this, but every one I can think of is easily countered by "well, you could get relegated and then you don't have to worry about us anymore", so I'll take the high road. For all you know this is based on moral reasons, but in reality I'm scared to death of karma.
CFC: John Carver is basically your Tim Sherwood, albeit without the charisma and ego. Will he be your manager next year?
CHN: Every word out of Carver's mouth implies his belief that he will be kept on. He ticks a lot of boxes for Ashley. Tactically inept? check. Devout refusal to play to the strengths of the players at his disposal? check. Cheap as chips? check. I think when thinking about the Carver as NUFC boss next year situation, you have to step back and consider that the man has achieved at an Extremely High Level. It took Alan Pardew some 4 years to get things broken down to where he could lose 5 league matches in a row. It's only taken Carver 4 and a half months.
CFC: Aside from Mike Ashley just being an immensely stupid individual, why is Graham Carr not just running things at Newcastle?
CHN: In the modern world, we're driven by the omnipresent being that is The Press. Either we are fed our thoughts by them or we are informed by them and then make our own decisions. If you are of the former proclivity, Graham Carr is faultless and one of the finest around at what he does. If you are of the latter, you take a step back and think: Sure he has found some very very good players. HOWEVER. He has found some very mediocre players as well, and most damningly he finds players that don't work with the managers in charge of the club. Alan Pardew wanted to lump the ball forward at any opportunity to a player like Andy Carroll and build off of that idea. So they sold Carroll. Carr (presumably) tabbed Demba Ba to come in to be a striker for the club... but it turned out he could control things decently in hoofballworld. So they sold Ba. Since then, we have had no player who could fill that role so we kept playing that way anyway. I diverge. The reality of the situation is that Carr is really great at scouting right backs. We brought in Mathieu Debuchy after we let Danny Simpson leave. After we flogged Debuchy off for profit, he brought us Daryl Janmaat (you all bastards at the top of the table leave my Daryl alone you can't have him he's mine anyway.) Anyway... Carr = good at getting right backs. Pardew = in love with left backs. I think there's a larger problem when the dynamic within the club is this broken.
CFC: If Carr were in charge, I'm sure you guys would hire a very competent (very French) manager. Like Remi Garde or something. Who would your manager of choice be for next season?
CHN: Remi Garde is a very attractive candidate to me. Prior to yesterday's events at BVB, my preference would have been Tomas Tuchel. Tactically and in his "new wave" ideas off the pitch I think that he is exactly what he needs. However, I read he's top choice to replace Klopp, so... I'll probably take some crap for this, but I'd not mind Steve McClaren too terribly. At the end of the day, though, the fact is that we'll have fun names dangled in front of us and settle-for names dangled in front of us and we'll end up with Carver staying or Alan Curbishley.
CFC: Is it maddening to watch Alan Pardew continue to be a good football manager? How do you think you'll feel when he's appointed England manager after Euro 2016?
CHN: ALAN PARDEW STILL SUCKS. See my Graham Carr answer above. Pardew is now at a club that has a player that he can hoof the ball towards (Glenn Murray) and things work from there. The tactic is still terrible and will not work in perpetuity. He will still run Crystal Palace into the ground, just like he has every other club he has managed at the Premier League level. I invite you to look at his record with West Ham. Ignore our 5th place year as an outlier and look at his actual body of work. If England appoint him, I will laugh laugh laugh all the way to the bank when I put lots of money on the USA to upset England at the 2018 World Cup.
CFC: Ok, serious question now. Why are you lot so awful at football?
CFC: Will you sell us Moussa Sissoko? How much will he cost?
CHN: A packet of crisps and a cheeseburger. And some cans. (Editor's Note: Deal.) I'm pretty well done with him. In his year out of the shadow of Yohan Cabaye, he has turned in a couple great performances and a bunch of really shoddy ones. He scheduled himself a couple matches off when we're in such poor form the word "relegation" is raising to a whisper instead of a topic such as "which clubs (that aren't us) will suffer relegation". Realistically, though, Mike Ashley is probably going to need upwards of £10m to feed his "I'M BIG IMPORTANT BUSINESS GUY" ego, I'd think. I'd almost not be shocked if he stayed as he has done nothing to earn that kind of value in the upcoming window. (Unless a club thinks they have the key to getting his best more than 1 out of 9 matches).
CFC: How is it that in the year 2015 Gabriel Obertan is still starting matches for a Premier League club?
CHN: I have a fondness for Gaby. Is he infuriating? Yes. He makes poor decisions frequently, is poor tracking back and can't cross very well. The fact remains, however, that Newcastle area better club when he's on the pitch. I can't explain it, and I don't want to. Let me have this.
CFC: I guess we should talk about this match. On a scale of re-runs of Big Bang Theory on TBS to conference calls about how future conference calls will be conducted, how boring will this match be?
CHN: It's Survivor. It's boring as hell, nobody cares anymore, no one is going to die and there isn't one person that cares anymore.
CFC: I guess you can predict a score now. Assuming, of course, that you think someone will score.
CHN: Harry Kane. Mike Williamson. Spurs 3 - 0 Newcastle
Thanks to Jim for tolerating my ignorance and a very special thanks for somehow believing that we will keep a clean sheet. If you're interested in following Jim on Twitter he can be found at @CHNOSotP and Coming Home Newcastle, for all things Geordie, can be followed at @ComingHomeNUFC.