Newcastle players release statement backing under-fire boss Steve McClaren

The statement, issued less than two hours before the Magpies’ crucial relegation showdown against Bournemouth at St James’ Park, does not name any player nor make clear who wrote it.

Unusually, it seems only given to Sky Sports and no other media outlets. Indeed, the official Newcastle website did not even have it up half an hour after its release.

But in it, the players make it clear McClaren continues to have their backing despite reports that several were surprised he is still in a job and expect him to be sacked if they lose today.

And the unnamed players are adamant that it is they, not the Toon chief, who are responsible for Newcastle’s position.

The go into this afternoon’s game just one off the bottom of the table, having lost their last seven league and Cup games away from home.

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