Doncaster Rovers 0 Newcastle United 1
ANDY Carroll may have caused serious damage to Steven Taylor’s jaw this week, but the only thing broken at Doncaster was Newcastle United’s record for clean sheets in a season.
Carroll could still be in hot water with the club following the controversial incident at the training ground last weekend, although he has at least gone some way to repairing the damage done to the team’s promotion push.
Rarely out of the headlines in recent weeks, Carroll showed exactly why manager Chris Hughton was willing to start with him last night as he applied a cool finish to a flowing Newcastle move in the second half.
It was a potent reminder of the bright future the 21-year-old could have on the pitch, although some will feel it only serves to highlight how stupid he has been with his actions off it.
The United hierarchy can not ignore what has happened, it is not going to go away with a no comment. One of their players has fractured the jaw of another following a row about women and wages. Football people may like to tell us these sorts of things happen all the time on training grounds up and down the country, except they don’t. Team-mates do not send one another to hospital after smacking them in the face because of personal tensions. Not even Wayne Bridge and John Terry. It has been Newcastle’s team spirit, the strength of the bond between the players and the coaching staff, which has carried them to the verge of a Premier League return.
What damage has been done by this row and the after shock which has reverberated since? Carroll and Taylor are not only the two local lads in the squad, they are two of the biggest personalities and any simmering sense of discontent could easily poison a positive atmosphere if it is allowed to.
Newcastle’s public response has been to say nothing, to ignore it with a stern no comment, but it must be hoped they are being rather more proactive behind the scenes.