Belfast Telegraph

Carver sorry for confrontation

Newcastle assistant boss John Carver and goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman have both issued apologies after clashes with fans at the weekend.

Carver confronted some of Newcastle's travelling supporters before the 4-0 defeat to Southampton on Saturday after seeing a 'Pardew Out' banner unfurled in the stand at St Mary's.

Magpies boss Alan Pardew is under increasing pressure at St James' Park with his team sitting bottom of the Barclays Premier League after claiming just two points in their opening four games.

The club confirmed they received complaints from supporters following Carver's altercation and have now dealt with the matter internally.

"My sole focus on Saturday, as it always is, was on trying to gain three points for Newcastle United and preparing the players to the best of my ability," Carver said in a club statement.

"This included keeping them focused on their roles and duties in the upcoming 90 minutes.

"In the warm up, I was disappointed to see banners that could, in my opinion, distract the players and take focus away from the job in hand - namely winning the match.

"I went over to our fans to ask them to help us and requested that they take the banners down. The vast majority of supporters back the team through thick and thin and I am very proud to be one of them.

"I was met with abuse from one supporter and I regret that I responded inappropriately. I sincerely apologise for any offence caused by my reaction.

"Every fan is entitled to an opinion, positive or negative, and I respect that. I hope fans will understand that I, like them, only wanted what was best for the team.

"I am proud to work for my home town club and would ask every supporter to back the players and all staff, as they really can make a difference."

Woodman, meanwhile, got himself in hot water after posting an inappropriate private message to a supporter on Twitter which was then made public.

"I am very sorry for the ill-advised comment I posted privately on Twitter on Sunday morning, which was subsequently made public," he said.

"It was never my intention, of course, for my response to enter the public domain. My response was a reaction to significant personal abuse I received from a number of fans which I felt exceeded that which was fair and balanced.

"That said I understand my response was unacceptable and I regret my actions and apologise for any offence caused."

The furore will come as a blow to Pardew whose relationship with the Newcastle faithful was already at a low ebb before the weekend's events.

The Magpies face Hull at St James' Park on Saturday with Tigers boss Steve Bruce among those touted to replace Pardew should owner Mike Ashley decide a change of direction is needed in the dugout.

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