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John Carver: It doesn’t matter whether Mike Ashley attends Newcastle finale – but players MUST turn up ready to fight

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley

John Carver says it doesn’t matter whether Mike Ashley attends Newcastle United’s relegation decider – as the only important thing is that his players turn up ready to fight for the cause.

Owner Ashley has not attended the club’s last few games.

It wouldn’t bother me at all if he came, but if he doesn’t come, I’m sure he will phone me beforehand, and if he does come, I’m sure he’ll come and see me before the game.

John Carver

And head coach John Carver does not know whether the billionaire will be at St James’s Park on Sunday, when the troubled club’s fate will be decided. Newcastle, without a win since late February, need to beat West Ham United to be certain of Premier League survival.

Carver – whose side was beaten 2-1 by relegated Queens Park Rangers last weekend – expects a phone call from Ashley if he stays away from the ground.

Asked if Ashley would attend, he said: “I don’t really know to be honest. He wasn’t there last weekend (at Loftus Road), and he still got some stick, didn’t he?

“It wouldn’t bother me at all if he came, but if he doesn’t come, I’m sure he will phone me beforehand, and if he does come, I’m sure he’ll come and see me before the game.

“But I really don’t know what his plans are. I can’t decide what Mike’s going to do, all I can decide is what we’re going to do on Sunday.”

Some supporters are planning to stay behind after the game, whatever the outcome, to protest against the direction of the club under Ashley, who Carver says has backed him “100 per cent” since Alan Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace at the turn of the year.

“What I will say is that before every game he has spoken to me and wished me all the best, gave me his backing – 100 per cent – and that was encouraging for me,” said Carver, who still hopes to be given the head coach job on a permanent basis at the end of the season.