Joys of signing for Newcastle “I didn’t want to sign for this club in the middle of nowhere”
Former Newcastle United and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas, has been talking about being forced to give up football through injury and has reflected on his time at former clubs.
Arriving at St James Park as an 18 year old, Nottingham Forest had been forced to sell for £5m due to financial pressures.
Jermaine Jenas talks of the impression people like Sir Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Craig Bellamy made on him, as well as the club overall.
When he later moved from Newcastle he thought all football clubs would be like this, only to discover very quickly that they are not…
Amusingly, if it had been down to Jermaine Jenas himself, he would never have played for Newcastle at all.
The player saying he was more or less pushed into the move with little say and on the way up to sign for Newcastle he kept saying that he ‘…didn’t want to sign for this club miles away in the middle of nowhere’.
Only for one man to change his perception with a phone call….Sir Bobby Robson.
In this excellent interview with The Mail, this is what Jermaine Jenas had to say about Newcastle United and some of the personalities he got to know at the club:
‘Forest called me in, said that Newcastle (£5m bid) had been accepted and that there was a car coming in half an hour.
On the way up I just kept saying I didn’t want to sign for this club miles away in the middle of nowhere.
Then Bobby (Robson) rang my phone. Watching Italia 90 was when I fell in love with football and to hear Bobby Robson ringing my phone to talk to me was incredible.
Newcastle was 100 per cent right for me but it was all because of Bobby. He just understood me, knew what I needed. He just let me play, made me feel like a million dollars.
He would pull me before a game and say, “Give me everything you’ve got and then I don’t want to see you ‘til Thursday.”
So I would run my heart out for him and then head back to Nottingham and see my mum. They made me feel really special. Bobby was like a dad to me and I was lost when he was sacked.’
My respect for Gary Speed went through the roof as soon as I played with him. I thought he was a grafter, hard to play against, but as soon as I played with him I realised the quality, the timing of the runs, the passing, his left foot, the quality of his strike, his command of midfield.
He would protect me, too. Once at Everton I gave a penalty away in the last minute and afterwards Bobby launched in to me. “What the f*** did you do that for son?”
Gary was straight up. “He never f****** touched him! And did you see the header he won before that? Leave him alone!”
He had my back from the minute I walked in. And Bobby backed down. If Speedo said it then it must be true, simple as that.
It was a team of men, that one, and I don’t think I got close to that again in my career.
We used to come off the pitch at Newcastle and there would be full-blown fights, shirts off and everything.
Incredible people like Craig Bellamy, (Alan) Shearer. I missed being around players like that. The elements they bring to a team are hard to quantify.
You think everyone will be like that and they are not. They were hard and honest. Priceless.’
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