UNSURPRISING and underwhelming, there was a certain inevitability about the news.
The revelation wasn’t much of a revelation.
John Carver will be in charge at Newcastle United for the rest of the season.
A number of prospective candidates for the head coach job, among them Steve McClaren, Remi Garde, Thomas Tuchel, Frank de Boer and Christophe Galtier, aren’t available until the summer.
So Carver it is, then.
The feeling among supporters is that it’s the cheap option, regardless of the non-availability of others.
That said, the club has often acted in haste in the past – and repented at its leisure. But is a club which has shown a chronic lack of ambition over the past few years capable of luring an ambitious head coach keen to win things, challenge the Premier League’s elite and play in Europe?
Maybe, maybe not.
The squad at Newcastle is talented, but it lacks depth. It’s been that way for years. Will that change as long as the club is owned by Mike Ashley?
United have long been short of a striker, yet Lee Charnley, the club’s managing director, suggested the club hadn’t intended to be “particularly active” in this month’s transfer window last week.
Why? Because the club doesn’t have to be particularly active. There’s enough of a cushion – eight points – between Newcastle and the relegation zone for Charnley not to be particularly concerned about relegation.
However, if the club goes another month without a win, United’s position will be far less comfortable – and the transfer window will be have been long closed.
Some fans fear that the club could yet be dragged into a relegation battle.
Charnley has previously talked about Newcastle being the “best” it can be – “pound for pound”.
The financial terminology was telling. United are the 19th richest club in the world. Sadly, it is not the 19th best club in the world on the pitch.
It gets by, but that isn’t enough for a fanbase which, understandably, craves success on the field.
Yet silverware is seemingly as far away as ever, with this season another write-off, and that’s assuming the club doesn’t get dragged into relegation trouble.
Too many seasons have been written off.
Newcastle again failed to get beyond the third round of the FA Cup, and there’s little, bar the Wear-Tyne derby, to get excited about between now and the end of the campaign.
Carver, a passionate man who has served his boyhood club for most of his adult life, wants the best for the club. The 50-year-old is a respected coach and is popular in the dressing room.
Maybe, just maybe, he can actually lift the club up the table.
But he’s got a job on his hands. The same will be said of Pardew’s longer-term successor.