Ahead of Saturday's game against Newcastle United at St James' Park, we caught up once more with Magpies' fan Ben.
He gives us his views on United's recent poor results, John Carver, their survival chances, and more. You can follow Ben on twitter @BonjourMonAmiNE.

It's been a pretty disastrous last couple of months for the Magpies, it can't be much fun being a Newcastle fan at the moment?

Not at all. The performances are rubbish, the results are rubbish, and the club's standing among the fans is even worse. There's even a split in opinions between the supporters that are desperate for United to stay up and those that would rather see us go down. Football shouldn't be this depressing.

You actually had a decent first half of the season so why has it gone so wrong? manager? chairman? players?

All of the above. I would, though, point out that even under the leadership of Southern Journalism's very own Alan Pardew, results ranged from poor to very poor, barring a crazy six-match winning run. Siem de Jong's injury hasn't helped matters, nor have the various lengthy absence of Papiss Cisse, but United have continued to under-invest, and then put a failed MLS manager in charge of a Premier League side. It feels like the fans have been pitted against the club all season, but that's bound to happen when a lack of ambition is plain for all to see.

Following the departure of Alan Pardew in January, most people were surprised at the choice of John Carver as his replacement. How did United fans view his appointment?

Not with surprise, but certainly not with enthusiasm. John Carver is essentially a (much) less shiny Pardew, in that all of his ideas are taken from his former boss' notebook. Appointing somebody cheap and already at the club because league safety already looks assured is a very Newcastle thing to do.

Carver seems unlikely to remain in charge past the end of the season so is there anyone in particular you would like to see take over as United boss?

There is a lot of talk about Steve McClaren, which would be alright, but there's every chance I only think that because our last two managers have been dreadful. For a while it looked as though Thomas Tuchel might be an option, but he's now at Dortmund, while Remi Garde was touted for a long time, and Paco Jemez is the current flavour of the month. The latter two both look interesting prospects, but the next boss will likely be cheap, English and nothing particularly exciting - like, er, McClaren. Or Carver...

With three games left it looks as though the relegation battle will go right down to the wire. How confident are you that the club will retain it's Premier League status?

With all due respect to yourselves, West Brom, QPR and West Ham are three very winnable games on paper, and given the various fortunes of that trio, we could hardly have hoped for a better run-in. However - and it's a big however - it's hard to be confident about the prospects of a side that have lost eight on the bounce. I really thought that run would end at Leicester last week, and yet that was the worst of the lot. There's been a lot of talk from the club this week, in the way of apologising and vowing to improve, but the time for words has been and gone. We need results. I think we will - just - have enough to stay up. Whether that's due to an up-turn in form or because the other teams down there are so poor, I'm not sure.

Highlight of the season?

Leicester at home was a truly bizarre occasion, with the score-board falling down, Gabby Obertan sealing United's first win of the season and Sunderland losing 8-0 at Southampton, while hearty roars met Jonas Gutierrez's return and an incident involving Janmaat that I'll come on to, but it has to be the win at Man City in the League Cup. This being a club that openly admits to not caring for any competition that doesn't pay handsomely merely for being involved, we couldn't believe our luck when a team featuring two teenage strikers beat the champions to send us into a quarter-final. Of course, we would then be obliterated by Spurs, but the celebrations that followed Moussa Sissoko's clincher at the Etihad will live long in the memory.

Moment you would rather forget?

We like to criticise Sunderland for their cup final attitude towards the Tyne-Wear derby, and you do get the feeling they'd be happy with survival and six points against Newcastle, but with our club showing little interest towards progression in the cups or European qualification, it's all we have left too. Unfortunately, unlike our dear neighbours, we consistently don't turn up for those games. Eight league defeats in a row is painful, but it doesn't come close to five in a row against your rivals. The Black Cats are a really awful outfit, and yet there's every chance that their results against us will see them safe for a third consecutive season.

Player of the season?

With nods to Jack Colback and Ayoze Perez, I'd have to go for Janmaat. The Dutchman arrived on Tyneside last summer after looking decent, but no more than that, in the World Cup. He was tasked with having to replace Matheiu Debuchy, our best player last season, and has done so - and then some. The early signs were good, as he scored in just his second home game, and he soon established himself as a key performer. We expected him to be better defensively than his predecessor, but with a fairly limited attacking armory, but he has proved superb at both ends. Though he's racked up a number of assists, his finest hour was a merciless hack at Mario Balotelli, who had just wrestled the ball from two United players, before accepting his yellow card with a nonchalant shrug.

Villain of the season?

Take your pick. The owner has let us down yet again, Pardew continued to irritate the United fans, and Carver then managed to make things worse, while party plans are well under way to coincide with the respective departures of Jak Alnwick, Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran and Emmanuel Riviere. However, I'm going to plump for the captain and his deputy. Fabricio Coloccini is one of the most talented defenders to have pulled on a black and white shirt, but it couldn't be more clear that his focus is a long way from St James' Park. No team could ever be motivated when led by such a passive, uninterested skipper - or his understudy, Sissoko. Granted, the pair can be excellent on their day, but I can't wait to see the back of them.

What team and tactics are we likely to see from the Magpies on Saturday?

Well, you won't see any tactics, as Carver has openly admitted that his idea of football involves a lot of running around - and probably some shouting. As for personnel, Janmaat and Williamson are both suspended, while Paul Dummett is apparently struggling with injury, so our defence will be picked from the front row of the Milburn Stand. De Jong should be fit to start in midfield, but Rolando Aarons and Cisse might miss out.

Prediction for and thoughts on the game?

Surely, surely, we cannot lose nine games in a row. We've already passed a club record, and this has to end at some stage. West Brom should be safe now, so much will depend on whether that means that the Baggies will ease off. Either way, I'd expect you to have considerable joy against our back-line and the creaking legs of Ryan Taylor, so a home win might be a step too far. 2-2.


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