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Opinion

Graeme Souness still making money out of Newcastle enough to make you sick

3 years ago
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Graeme Souness was the biggest disaster as a manager that Newcastle fans have ever seen.

In 18 months he had destroyed a Sir Bobby Robson team that had finished 4th, 3rd, and 5th, in the previous three seasons before he had arrived.

Sir Bobby’s team needed work on it to reshape and re-energise it – but Graeme Souness simply stamped all over it and dragged both the team and club back down into the depths.

His first season (2004/05) saw Newcastle finish 14th and when sacked in early February, NUFC were deep in relegation trouble.

In 23 Premier League matches of the 2005/06 season, Graeme Souness had a record of won 7 drawn 4 and lost 12, 25 points from a possible 69.

When he departed, Alan Shearer became player/assistant to Glenn Roeder for the remainder of the season and in 15 PL matches they won 10 then 2 draws and lost 3, with the same players Souness had at his disposal. Their 32 points from a possible 45 somehow lifted Newcastle to a finish of seventh and Intertoto qualification, which then led to UEFA Cup football.

After 18 months of disaster and ruining Newcastle, Graeme Souness walked away with a massive pay-off and now in his latest book it is predictably everybody else’s fault when it comes to what happened at Newcastle.

He was a truly ridiculous and disastrous appointment by Hall and Shepherd, fans were left gutted at the time he came in, but little did they know just how bad he would prove to be.

It makes you feel sick that even now Souness if making money via Newcastle United because even if not a single Newcastle fan buys the book, no doubt when he was pitching it to publishers, one of the main selling points would have been his inside ‘exclusive’ on what happened at St James Park.

I particular like the bit about how we as fans would probably like it better of we stayed permanently in the Championship…something that no doubt would have turned into reality if he’d stayed much longer.

Extracts from new Graeme Souness book:

“I made a mistake when Alan Shearer was going to chuck it by persuading him to play on and give me another year because I felt he was good in the dressing room. In doing so we only ended up getting Michael Owen in during the summer when, in reality, we needed two strikers. Alan was on his last legs and if he hadn’t stayed on we would have ended up getting the two we needed.

“Initially I’d wanted to sign Nicolas Anelka. I’d had a meeting with his brother, who also acted as his agent, in my house in Cheshire, and I’d also spoken to the sporting director at Fenerbahce and they were willing to sell him. The player wanted to come too but Freddy Shepherd wanted Michael Owen instead, so we got Owen for £17million from Real instead but only after his preferred return to Liverpool had fallen through.

“We paid Rangers £8million for Jean-Alain Boumsong in a bid to sort out the defence but it didn’t work out as I hoped it would. Of course he could have done better but we needed really had a solid partner for him. Titus Bramble and Boumsong were perhaps too similar. I then signed Craig Moore from Rangers to be a steady Eddie alongside Boumsong because what we had were two centre-halves who were a bit hit and miss.

The club also asked about Albert Luque, a Spanish winger, after we had played Deportivo La Coruna in a pre-season friendly. I said he was worth signing if we could get him for between £2million-£3million but we ended up paying £9million for him.

“Everyone gets the same treatment at Newcastle. The support can be fantastic when things are going well, but the frustration borne out of not winning a trophy since 1969 soon surfaces when the going gets tough. They see clubs like Blackburn or Birmingham winning something, or Leicester winning the Premier League, and they say, ‘Why can’t that be us?’

“There’s almost an argument for them staying in the Championship, when they are winning games there and everyone is happy. Time and time again the supporters there have had their hopes built up and it has ended in failure and disappointment for them. You have to be winning games there. If you’re not you are only two away from a full-on crisis.”
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