John Carver has defended his decision to attend a charity golf day and give his Newcastle United players two days off after the club’s defeat at Loftus Road.
Carver, his backroom staff and Ryan Taylor fulfilled a long-standing promise to play at Close House, Heddon on the Wall, on Monday.
The course’s annual celebrity golf day, also attended by Alan Shearer, raised around £500,000 for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund, which raises money for the Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
Carver’s players did not report back to the club’s training ground until yesterday, when preparations started for Sunday’s final game against West Ham United.
Newcastle, without a win in almost three months, need to three points to be certain of Premier League survival.
Carver’s decision to attend the golf day and give his players two days off in the wake of the 2-1 defeat to relegated Queens Park Rangers on Saturday was questioned by some fans.
But the club’s head coach said: “Now let me just say something.
“We made over £500,000 for the heart foundation to buy at least five scanners to save childrens’ lives, and I’m proud of that.
“It didn’t affect our preparations, and I’ve spoken to quite a lot of managers, and they weren’t in on Sunday and Monday either. I have a clear conscience.
“We pulled out of this charity day two years ago, and were criticised, so you’re damned if you do and your damned if you don’t.
“It’s a tough time, but you have to relax as well to get yourself ready for the challenge ahead.”