Newcastle’s caretaker learned coaching the hard way in Canada

John Carver
John Carver

JOHN Carver says he learnt about management the hard way at Toronto FC – where he once had to field his chief scout at right back!

Carver has put himself forward as a potential successor to Alan Pardew at Newcastle United.

The 49-year-old, previously Pardew’s No2 at St James’s Park, managed in his own right at Toronto.

Carver – put in temporary charge after Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace – spent 18 months at BMO Field.

And he feels the challenges he faced – and overcame – in Canada have prepared him well for the job at his boyhood club.

Carver even tried to persuade former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark, in Toronto while taking his coaching badges, to come out of retirement during an international break which left him without a team.

“In international breaks we had to play games,” said Carver.

“My team was made up Cananda internationals, two from Honduras, one from Jamaica. I had to play kids, trialists.

“I nearly played Lee Clark when he was over on a study visit. He would have played if he’d been fit.

“Instead, I actually ended up having to play my chief scout at right-back. You can imagine what it was like. I made a big thing about it. So it was frustrating.

“They said I could have stayed for life – and I could have, it’s a beautiful city – but I wanted to be successful, I wanted to win so I came back here. It’s the only reason I came back.”

Carver succeeded former Scotland international Mo Johnston at newly-formed Toronto, and he felt he improved the Major League Soccer club with the help of former United fitness coach Paul Winsper, who was his No2.

“When I went it was their second season,” said Carver.

“Mo Johnston managed the first and got something like 15 points. I took over the same team the following season, and we were within four points of the play offs.

“The following season after six games we were top of the League, then I had a disagreement with them.

“I felt they weren’t wanting to move as fasting as I was. They were happy to take their time and I was saying no – we need to do x to make this club better.

“And you can see where the MLS is going now – from strength to strength. It’s in an incredible position. The things I was asking for then are actually coming to fruition now.”