I have always found it hard to believe that any Newcastle fan could turn on Shay Given after what he gave to the club.

Easily the best goalkeeper any of us have seen playing for NUFC in the flesh, Given could have moved at any time to one of the clubs challenging for/winning trophies, and yet he stayed at St James Park.

Selected by his fellow professionals in the PFA team of the season in both 2001/02 and 2005/06.

After more than a decade playing for Newcastle United, most of us couldn’t blame him when he couldn’t stand any more of the nonsense from Mike Ashley, yet a small minority of supporters wanted to portray him as disloyal when he left halfway through the relegation season.

Absolutely ludicrous, a top class player, Shay Given had proved over more than 10 years his loyalty, he owed us, and especially Ashley, nothing.

However, over and above that, in his new autobiography, Given has confirmed just how disgusting Mike Ashley and his minions (the likes of Dennis Wise and JFK) are, in terms of showing respect for anybody.

We all know the dirty tricks used by Ashley and his people to try and discredit great people like Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, and Jonas Gutierrez, Shay Given is simply another for the list.

The Chronicle publishing this extract from the Shay Given autobiography ‘Any Given Saturday’ which goes on sale this Thursday (19 October 2017):

Hughton said, “Joe Kinnear is coming in as manager?”

We just could not believe it. I was shellshocked. Joe was the interim manager while Chris stayed as first-team coach but whether it be for one game or a thousand, I never believed Kinnear was the right fit. No disrespect to Joe but he’d been out of football a long, long time. The foreign lads didn’t have a clue who he was. Everyone felt down after the appointment. There was a general feeling of absolute despair. I feel for Joe when I say this because he’s not a bad bloke but, basically, this was Newcastle United and he was a guy who hadn’t worked at the top level for 10 years. It just sort of summed up Mike Ashley’s tenure, it felt like everything he was doing was on the cheap, to wind the fans and players up.

It felt like we were drifting, inch by inch, week by week, from being a club that wanted to win and succeed in the Premier League to becoming a club that just wanted to survive in the Premier League. There’s a world of difference between those two approaches, those two ideas, and I only had one career and one chance. I started to think that I would have to move on.

Eventually the chance to join (Manchester) City came up. They were everything Newcastle were not at the time – ambitious, clear about their plans, willing to spend and attract big players and they wanted success.

Eventually, me and Michael Kennedy had a meeting with Mike Ashley about what the future held. It was at the manager’s office at the training ground and Llambias was there as well. I was willing to listen to what they had to say but ultimately I left it all up to Michael. This is what usually happens with contract and transfer issues, the player leaves it in the hands of someone they trust. I went out of the room soon after the meeting had begun and returned to the car. Michael was back out, sat in the passenger seat, soon after. “We’re not staying,” he said. “That was not a serious offer in any way, shape or form.” Mike Ashley had told Michael the deal being proposed but it was considerably lower than what we were offering new players at the time, who were coming in on huge long-term contracts that would secure them for life.

My deal did not do that and just confirmed what I already suspected – they weren’t going to pull out the stops to keep me at the club. I was prepared to stay for the rest of my career but, ultimately, I was in my prime, a potential Premier League winning team wanted to sign me and Newcastle did not give any impression they wanted to chase silverware. The sad thing was I’d placed serious, long-term roots down in Newcastle, my children were in school there and I would easily and happily have stayed forever.

How much did they really want to keep me though? How much did they want to be challenging? Did the boardroom care about keeping their most loyal players? In a word, no.

In the end, with me unhappy at what was going on and the lack of ambition shown by the club, a gun was put to my head. They said they would not allow me to leave unless I signed a transfer request. By making me hand in a formal written request, it meant they could waive 10 per cent of the fee I otherwise would’ve picked up after moving. With the fee being around £6-8m, it effectively meant I was waiving £600,000 to go.

It says everything that they were more keen on saving themselves £600,000 than they were keeping hold of a player who had given his absolute all for the club for over a decade. I’d literally spilt blood for Newcastle, pushed myself hard every day, even when times were so tough and quality players were leaving by the second.

The least the club could’ve done, in my opinion, is prove I was wanted. Instead, they were more interested in the transfer fee than they were me – a proven Premier League player, a dedicated team-man and a good professional. If they were letting me go, and they were more than happy to let the likes of Milner go as well, what does that tell you? It tells me that the economics of the club were a bigger priority than success on the pitch. That saddened me a lot then and it saddens me a lot now.

It all then happened very quickly. I didn’t have chance to say goodbye to the lads, say goodbye to the staff at the training ground or even clear out my stuff. Fair enough, that’s life. I just wanted to get out and get playing again and move to a club that was going places. It was a fresh start and a chance to go again. I could’ve signed the deal offered and lived on Easy Street but I knew we wouldn’t have been challenging for anything anytime soon. In the end, it came down to the January 2009 deadline day. They had to get it done quickly to hit the Europa League cut-off. What really pi….. me off – and one of the reasons I’m doing this book – is the way the club treated me after I ‘demanded a move.’ The club was leaking stuff against me, left right and centre, telling the media: ‘We couldn’t keep him, unfortunately, because he forced us into the deal with his transfer request’ when, actually, it was the club that made me sign it in the first place.

They made it sound like I was holding them to ransom and that poor little Newcastle were being stitched up by just another greedy footballer when, in actual fact, I wanted to stay – but only if Newcastle gave me a competitive contract and, by doing so, proved the club had big plans for the future.

The way the club portrayed me was a disgrace and the money it cost me wasn’t – and isn’t – the issue; the issue was I’d given nearly 12 years of my life to that football club, given everything.

They’d quadrupled what they paid for me and when it came down to it, they couldn’t care less about me, the future of the club or the direction it was going in. To then read in the papers that I was effectively the one ‘desperate to go’ made me so mad.

In one press conference, Joe Kinnear said, “We bent over backwards to try and keep him at Newcastle United and offered him a longer contract to stay at the club. He has been with Newcastle United for a long time and has been a great servant but he felt the time was right to move on and so, realistically, we had no choice but to reluctantly agree to allow him to make this move.”

Hang on a minute…

Not only did the club play bulls… politics behind my back, claiming it was all me, after I’d gone, they were no better. All it would’ve taken was for them to say, ‘We place on record our thanks to Shay Given for his service to this football club.’

One sentence would’ve done me but no, I got nothing. I was hurting at the time and, to be honest, I’m still mad because it could’ve been dealt with a million times better. Not 10 times better, a million. As a player and as an individual I deserved so much more than that. I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to the fans and the club hung me out to dry in the media. The odd time I’ve been out in Newcastle since I left, I’ve had a few negative comments about me leaving and it kind of angers you, you know? Maybe this chapter will set the record straight and help dispel a few of those myths about why I left; at least they will get my angle to the story.

The club gave me everything but I gave the club everything back in return and, thankfully, it will be around a lot longer than Mike Ashley will.

  • Drawkcab Deman

    Well nothing has changed since he left, just got worse & more disrespect thrown at more people, and this is yet more proof of what an absolute disgrace that pie eater scum is. Look at the way he treats the SD workers, these are human beings working in deplorable conditions, & it’s 2017, were they don’t even get the dignity of a proper toilet break! I for one believe Mr Givens account, he’s a top bloke & always came over that way, not a stinking puss of a liar like that scum pie eater, the sooner he sells the better, just goes to show you that having vast amounts of money does not make the person decent.

  • Leicester Mag

    If any sane fan had doubts what Ashleys tenure has meant to this club they need to read this. No class/ no values and no morals.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    The best Newcastle keeper iv`e seen followed by Tim, both treat like schitt, both gave over 10yrs service to the club

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    Fantastic servant for the club. Never doubted Shay would hold the club to ransom. Its good to further expose Ashley’s lies and contempt of the club and fans. I so hope he will sell but somehow have this sinking feeling he’s building our hopes to cruelly let us down (again)!

  • hetonmag

    Jim White, Craigy and anybody else connected with Sky Sports should read this extract maybe they might just realize what a slime ball Ashley really is.

  • David2211

    Didn’t need to read this to know what I think of Shay, but nice to see him put his side across. An honest, good bloke who was a tremendous servant and an outstanding goalkeeper who always stood out for us.

    Sadly, treat like rubbish and moved on, and even worse, some fools actually hold some blame against him.

    • Steven05

      He’s the best I’ve seen for Newcastle United

  • thomas daniels

    We loved you Shay and we still do.


    This is why we hate Ashley, he started off as Jack the Lad for about a year and we all thought this is the start of something. Then the lies and deceit started to come out, firstly with KK and they have gone on ever since. For anyone at the club to try and slag off Shay is a disgrace. I feel sorry for Ashley, his only love and passion is money but money is never going to love you back. Maybe as he gets older he will realise that and start to give something back, just not going to hold my breath on that.

  • steve pearce

    That’s a different attitude towards the fat stinking bag of southern pus to what Chris Waddle has. He says he feels sympathy towards the owner as he’s got a raw deal from the fans. Just shows you the danger of getting dementia from too much heading the ball is real……

    • Jimmy_toons

      Makem on a wind up

  • Dillon Tovak

    Even without reading that I didn’t ever resent him leaving.
    We were going no where fast and he was way too good to rot.

    • Clarko

      Can you read? Try reading 👍🏾

      • Dillon Tovak

        Good one. Have you ever seen someone write who can’t read? At least you’re intelligent to go with obnoxious.

        • Clarko

          Yes, it is known as alexia without agraphia, it itself is a clinical disconnection syndrome, the majority of cases are caused by left posterior cerebral artery (PCA) occlusion and a resultant infarct of the left visual cortex as well as the splenium of the corpus callosum. I suggest you read or have someone read you the article “Alexia Without Agraphia: A Rare Entity” by Alexander Muacevic and John R Adler.

          • steve

            Oh, you can google as well!

          • Clarko

            Yes, it’s called being informed, it’s called learning, I’d advise both you and @disqus_UJQM6v8UNp:disqus to try it sometimes.

          • Dillon Tovak

            Silly little troll is bored aren’t you?
            The copy and paste merchant strikes again.

          • Clarko

            The standard “he’s right and I have nothing to say so I’ll just call him a troll” comment.

          • Steven05

            Can you imagine having a pint with him? Can’t imagine many people do. I feel sorry for him, but I’m sure it’s because not as a clever as him

  • joe mac

    this selling the club malarkey might be another smoke screen for spending nowt in january!….”ive tried to sell but nobodys interested “…blah blah blah!…i can see it coming…..and rafa walking!

  • lata ta birdofpeace

    Ashley has never understood NUFC. To my knowledge, he bought it for around 135 million pounds. Then we heard the never ending story about the 100 million he loaned to the club. So now we are told the new fable he wants to sell.

    In the right hands, with the right investments a business man or woman that understands Newcastle could have turned this club into a 500 million pound asset

  • Martin Rooney

    Eh this bloke is twisting it. Footballers are so self absorbed it beggars belief. In one breath he tells us about the contract meeting which he wasn’t happy about Newcastle were offering to extend his stay. Commenting that he and His agent decided he wasn’t staying. Then he says the club wouldn’t let him leave unless he signed a transfer request.
    So let’s get this straight
    Club offers him an extension
    Club will not sell him
    You want to leave put in a request
    Fair enough me thinks.
    Club is not trying to win things
    Club is signing players on higher wages better deals
    Utter bo larks from a greedy bloke who is out for himself.
    This stinks of the self righteousness of Keegan leaving because of the million bonus the kid from the city got
    Do they know how poor the rest of the northeast is?
    This bloke and his bird couldn’t wait to get to Cheshire. He’s angry about his 600k well F O its their duty to me as a season ticket holder to make as much cash from those who don’t want to be here so they can get good replacements, what a numpty

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Yes agree totally he and his agent went for the money and ignored what we offered him. A very dis loyal person who not only left Newcastle but his family too for a night club promotions younger model when he portrays himself as a family man in this article makes me sick.

  • jd

    Shay your a top man , I would say the majority of Newcastle fans would not of blamed you for leaving and what has followed has proved you where right , so your still a legend in my eyes lad

    • Toontone100

      seconded !

  • Philippines

    A bit ironic that he did not get any silverware when he moved on. We were also blessed to have Steve Harper at NUFC.

  • John D Williams

    Ashley has dragged our club through the mire for years. He is only interested in himself, how any one could take his side in any discussion is beyond me. No one is saying Given is a saint, but i would take his side over Ashley every day of the week.

  • 1957

    In Shay’s case it seems the story goes, City were interested, Shay wanted a better contract but didn’t like what he was offered. He decided he wanted to leave, the club said yes if you put in a request so we don’t have to pay your cut of the transfer fee, he put in a request and ended up at City whose interest in him seem to set the whole scenario in motion.

    It’s a situation you read about every day with players, they want to move to a club that will pay more and in some cases have a better chance of winning something, so they ask for a new contract, turn it down and force their present clubs hand.

    I’ve no problem with NUFC saying Shay could only go by requesting a transfer, they just don’t seem capable of handling the publicity side of anything tactfully.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    What Shay is saying is basically what most people thought about Mike Ashley and his M.O, Practices etc
    It confirms what everyone else has gave an opinion on without actually being in the situation.
    Sadly most fans were spot on in their assessments about Ashley and the malicious way he conducts his business affairs.
    The same things were done during Andy Carroll’s transfer where he was cast as the villain.

    Does anyone remember the flyers put into local pubs about Steven Taylor being hated at the club at a time when his stock was much higher and they were trying to cash in ?

  • TwinFire

    I’m glad he wrote this, but these millionaires sure don’t know a hard time do they?

  • NUFC9

    He’s easily the best keeper I’ve ever seen play for us and I fully
    understand why he was so unhappy with Ashley/Kinnear/Wise/Llambias
    and wanted to get out. He deserved better. I can remember being at the
    game just before he left. We were thrashed 5-1 at home by Liverpool
    and he was so fed up he got booked for belting the ball into the
    Milburn-Leazes corner out of frustration. As a general point though, if
    a player wants to leave a club while still under contract I don’t see
    why they shouldn’t be expected to submit a transfer request and waive
    any loyalty bonuses.