If you're reading this and you're a Newcastle fan, I'll give you a second to stop laughing.
It's not a surprise that fans of other teams might attribute the Toon's most recent slump to the change in management. We are delusional, after all, or so the narrative goes. It's also pretty convenient to point to the five-game winning streak earlier in the season, or the fifth place finish three years ago. But that ignores the larger body of work and the context of what happened at this very time last year.
You'll recall that Newcastle had a rather horrific finish last season, or maybe you wouldn't if you just glanced at the table. They finished in 10th, after all. The entire staff got top-half bonuses! Never mind that on Boxing Day, they were in 6th place, and that from that point on, they only earned 16 points from 20 matches, good for worst in the entire Football League, and that they conceded 36 goals in that time, also worst in the entire Football League. They had three separate losing streaks of at least 3, and one of those reached 6. Six losses in a row! Over the course of those 20 matches, they scored more than 1 goal just three times.
That they finished 10th last year is not a positive commentary on Newcastle's play. It is an indictment, rather, of the bottom half of the Premier League. Sure, they had to go on a good run to get to sixth in the first place, but the inconsistency that has plagued Newcastle is just one of Alan Pardew's hallmarks.
Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, this has continued under John Carver, a Pardew disciple who has done little to change policy or culture during his tenure. No, this is a repeat of what we saw when Pardew was here, or perhaps more accurately, when he was sitting in the stands relaying instructions through a walkie-talkie because he made the decision to headbutt a player on the pitch.
The reasons for Newcastle's poor spring performances are myriad, but a large part of it was Pardew's failure to inspire his troops when they had nothing to play for. Carver has not been successful in this regard either, but his failure does not exonerate Pardew's.
Pardew's departure did not break Newcastle. It was already broken. You might even say that he broke it and left.