Craig Bellamy was one of the stars of the Sir Bobby Robson team of the early 2000s.

The £6m signing in summer 2001, along with Laurent Robert’s £10m arrival from PSG, helped transform Newcastle United from a team going nowhere in mid-table, to one that then finished fourth, third and fifth, as well as bringing us those great Champions League nights.

Whether Sir Bobby should have seen his Newcastle managerial career ended is one thing…but to replace him with Graeme Souness was just staggering.

It was claimed that Freddy Shepherd and John Hall brought him in to pull the likes of Craig Bellamy and others into line, instead we just got a big fat disaster as Souness dismantled Sir Bobby’s team. Bringing in disastrous big money replacements in Owen, Boumsong and Luque.

Nobody could claim Bellamy wasn’t a pain at times but he was a key part of the team and exciting to watch.

However, Souness insisted on taking him out of the role where he had been so successful in and around Alan Shearer, instead moving him out to the wing.

Most of you will recall, that his eventual departure was brought about after a game at Arsenal.

Craig Bellamy had travelled to the match but wasn’t named in the matchday squad.

After the game the striker was interviewed by Geoff Shreeves of Sky Sports after the match and told him he had missed the game through injury.

This was then contradicted afterwards by Newcastle/Souness and the story then became that Bellamy had refused to play.

However, interviewed by Geoff Shreeves once again on Wednesday night on Sky Sports, Craig Bellamy gave a very different version of what happened.

The former NUFC player says he was left out of the squad by Souness that day at Arsenal and indicates that there was an agreement he would say a minor was responsible for his absence, rather than make it into a big story about a split/trouble in the camp.

Craig Bellamy claiming it was all a set up…

Craig Bellamy speaking to Geoff Shreeves of Sky Sports:

“I had a disagreement with Graeme Souness when I was at Newcastle because I didn’t want to play on the wing.

“I went in one day, saw the paper, and it said they had listened to offers for me.

“So then I went out to training.

Dean Saunders was taking it then. I didn’t particularly like talking to him anyway but at the same time I was like ‘where’s the manager? I want to speak to the manager’.

“The manager wasn’t there and so I trained…and my head wasn’t in the right place.

“So I thought, I’d better got off the pitch because I felt I was letting everyone down out there.

“As I have walked off I told the coach that my hamstring was tight, because I knew I needed to get off the pitch, I was letting everyone down as my head wasn’t in the right place.

Then Graeme Souness, we go and see the chairman, the late Freddy Shepherd.

“We had it out and he accused me of walking off the pitch…I wasn’t injured but I gave him the reasons why.”

“Then the game we all remember against Arsenal, I was fit to play and I had trained the next day, it wasn’t a problem. Travelled to Arsenal but I wasn’t in the squad.

“Geoff was prepped well before it, knew before I knew, like everybody else at Sky Sports.

“I was set up.

“There was no questions about what happened at Arsenal, the score or anything like that, the story turned into that I faked injury and didn’t want to play.”

  • Kneebotherm8

    Sourness and sour faced Dalglish…………..two very forgettable Scots……replaced two of the best managers this football club has ever had and transformed their teams to 💩💩💩💩…..

    • Leazes.

      Dalglish was Shearers manager at title winning Blackburn that’s why he was brought in….. Shearers recommendation….someone he could work with!

      Souness was the result of Shepherd being taken aside and told Robson was too soft, he wasn’t he was a man manager…. Shepherds over reaction….a hard man.

      Hall and Shepherd both listened to the wrong people….they did the same thing undermining Keegan.

      • Kneebotherm8

        A massive overreaction in SBRs case, imo…….at the time I was gutted that Bobby had been replaced…….as far as losing the dressing room….well it went from bad to worse, what with Bellamys antics and the Bowyer/Dyer fight and double sendings off on the pitch……..Sourness was an unmitigated disaster for this football club……..

      • FatParosite

        I’m convinced Shepherd had money on the in coming Soonmess through several syndicates. Blackburn wanted rid and snapped our hands off for compensation.

        • 1957

          He was on the verge of being sacked at Blackburn and they couldn’t believe their luck when Freddie put money on the table for hi

  • Peaky

    Bellamy……decent footballer but an odious little 💩……

    • Leazes.

      Depends whether or not the story is true, the club had gone into a downsizing operation under Shepherd, neither would I have totally blamed Souness….. it sounds like the club was cashing in but made it look like the player was at fault and not the regime….. spin from the club isn’t a new phenomenon.

      Ian la Frenais certainly thought Bellamy was a little Ship…. and cast him as the villain in the film ‘Goal’…. Shearer didn’t like him either….. so he was up against it with the clubs establishment.

      I can’t remember who replaced him. I’ll look it up…..

  • Steven05

    I wish we still had Bellamy

    • Kneebotherm8

      A very effective signing for our team at the time………his signing by SBR was the catalyst, imo,that set his team on the road to the top 5..

      • Wezza

        Couldn’t agree more. Bellamy was exciting even though a pain, his pace was lightning and was an awesome strike partner with Shearer.
        Those were the days when we had a team that was set up to compete.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Always a pain…….needed a man manager like SBR……….he certainly brought the best out of Shearer……..not the most clinical finisher but still ended up with 42 goals in 128 games for us……

  • SuperDesHamilton

    He was quality prolonged shearers career but he didn’t need much setting up did he? He was a monumental little pleb to start with

  • TheFatController

    Graeme Souness and Craig Bellamy were just edged out by Nelson Mendela when I was asked to come up with my ‘man of the 20th century’ for a poll.

  • Philippines

    Some folks said Sir Bobby had ‘lost the dressing room’. To some extent I think that was partly due to Bellamy’s attitude. In fact, I think Bobby knew how to deal with it although it was not obvious to others. They saw it as ‘being soft’ as someone has said below. I also detested that arrogant SOB Laurent who sauntered off when substituted, as if he as the equal of Pele.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    I know Bellamy was a difficult character to manage but I wouldn’t put it past Sky Sports to have been aggravating the situation.
    Their whole thing has been manipulation from day one to create drama and story arcs off the back of any given situation.
    Why wouldn’t they ?, After all it’s all the “Entertainment Business.”

    You only have to look at how they covered “The Keegan Gate Scandal” to know that they inflamed that situation to no end !

    Thanks to everyone who attended last nights F.A Cup replay between Heaton Stannington V Seaham Red Star.
    4-4 after extra time with Seaham eventually going though 4-2 on penalties, So best of luck to them for the next round and the rest of their season.
    A great club with good people volunteering and following them.
    A great night despite the weather and fair play to all the hardy souls who attended proceedings.

    Next up Heaton Stannington are at home to Billingham Synthonia on Saturday the 18th of August at Grounsell Park 3.00 pm K.O.

    Howay The Stan !

  • FatParosite

    So Bellemy wan’t us to believe him about this but spouts $hite about Ashley. Sorry mate, I would be inclined to believe you but I have zero sympathy for you.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      In English please

  • MadMag83

    Souness should have changed his name to Clueless. Yes Bellamy could be temperamental, but he bought a lot to that side. I still remember him pointing to the Premier League badge after the defeat against Wolves haha. We’ve not had a player like him since.

  • gallowgate26

    Pooness was the beginning of the end.. still haven’t been near the top 4 (apart from that flash in the pan Ba/Cisse season). Missed the boat now, can’t even catch the likes of Everton. Tottenham are in a league above…

    • Ben Jones

      It’s easy to forget but the toon army back then really did make the difference, with 30m gate money and 25m commercial along with TV (only 25m) We had 80m turnover whereas smaller clubs had 10/10/20 so 40m, we were twice as big as most teams back then.

      Now? With TV money being such a large percentage of most clubs income the gate money of course is still important but we’re trading at ~175m whereas smaller clubs are trading at ~130m. So yes we’re still bigger than them and by rights be doing better, we are no longer twice their size

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        True, we also had a wage bill that was out of control. The commercial revenue was high but not very profitable due to the high overheads. The saying turnover is vanity and profit sanity applied to Ffs’s running of Nufc.

  • Scottie Chugger Dearden

    It’s why I can’t take Souness seriously as a pundit cause he was such a failure as a manager, sacking SBR for him is something I can’t understand, however I think Steve Harper explained it best when he said somewhere in SJP there is a self destruct button.

    • ghostrider

      Souness was far from a failure as a manager.

      • Mark Davies

        I could be wrong but didnt he basically buy a few titles at Rangers in the pub league north of the border, perhaps won one cup with Liverpool and left under a cloud and is still hated by some Liverpool fans for being paid by the discgraceful Sun paper for an interview?

        Blackburn couldnt believe their luck when we paid for him a game or two before the sack and then his deliberate dismantling of us to win a war of egos is laid bare.

        Like I say I could be wrong about what he won as a manager but he still makes my skin crawl when I see him as an “expert”. For the records Bellamy is a bell end of equal measure too.

        You’d think they’d get on with their obvious dilsike for the toon.

        • ghostrider

          Souness was a hard line manager…but a good manager if you toed the line.
          Of course his managerial career doesn’t read fantastic but then again it doesn’t read terrible either if you take into account what he was up against in most of his tenure at certain clubs….one being ours.

          Souness had to deal with a nightmare that was left at our club.
          The trouble is, if the footballers literally won’t play ball then you’re obviously going to take a lot of flak as the manager.

          The most difficult thing for any new manager to do is to reshape a team that consists of too many arrogant undisciplined players and especially one’s that feign injury because they don’t get their own way.

          The trouble is, Souness carries the hardman tag and also controversy throughout his career and that follows him wherever he goes, fan wise and media wise.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Can’t agree with you there. Yes he did well at Rangers but he was terrible at Newcastle.

            In his defence, he had players foisted on him that blew his budget. His story about Luque gave an insight into how much say the manager had in transfers by that time (see also SBR being told who he can’t sell and signing players he didn’t want)

          • ghostrider

            I think he got much more out of his team than most would have expected given the mess he walked into and having to try and get some harmony as well as trying to offload or segregate the arrogant troublemakers.

            But fair enough in your thoughts. We all see stuff in our own ways.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I can’t help but believe Souness was bought in for Shearer rather than the club.

          • ghostrider

            How do you mean?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            This was a take from another forum, it says things rather well.

            …..our star-struck Chairman at the time allowed Shearer to have too much influence over the club’s thinking.

            Sir Bob recounted the pivotal moment in his autobiog. He proposed to Shepherd that we accept Liverpool’s bid for Shearer and replace him with Mpenza. Shepherd refused, saying that he feared the supporters’ reaction, but I think in reality he nurtured the dream that Shearer would finish his career in a blaze of glory and then step straight into the manager’s chair. In reality, Shearer was in decline and his replacement needed to be brought in before, rather than after, the critical point. And I don’t think Shearer was ever committed to management, with the sacrifices that the role entails. However, in practice he kept his options open in that area.

            Whatever you might think of Mpenza, he and Bellamy together would have made a strike force of searing pace, and in any case, a Chairman has to back his manager’s judgement, as the man with the professioanls’ knowledge.

            I just feel that Shearer’s remaining years at the club then affected Sir Bob’s position, was divisive within the squad, and made it difficult to recruit a good managerial replacement when Sir Bob got the push. And we haven’t yet recovered from that error.

          • heretickle

            would Patrick Kluivert and Bellamy been a good pairing?
            back when we could attract strikers from Barcelona and AC Milan

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I don’t think so. Kluivert was a signing that was all wrong, at a time when Shearer was slowing, Kluivert was doing the same. SBR didn’t want him and Souness didn’t know what to do with him either.

            IMHO, SBR was right to be looking beyond Shearer & the likes of Kluivert.

          • ghostrider

            I actually believe that would be more closer to the truth than anything.
            Shearer definitely did have too much influence, that’s an absolute given and he did overstay his useful footballing ability and should have really dipped into coaching before managing.

            As I said before, I loved the bloke and he’s a legend but I have to be honest in how I felt about it all.

            I said many a time that we had a Newcastle United fan running the club and thinking like one, in Shepherd. And yeah, he definitely feared a backlash if he allowed any manager to dictate Shearer’s last scraps of his career.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          It was when Heysel happened loads of English players flocked up there for European football. He was an utter Failure at Torino they went down, Galatasaray He he didn’t win the only thing that counts (Super Lig) & at Benfica he bought absolute garbage like Mark Penbridge, Gary Charles, Dean Saunders & Brian Deane for good money & wages when Benfica were already crippled financially which lead to them winning nothing till a proper manager like Trapattoni coming in 7 years later to win the league

      • Scottie Chugger Dearden

        Are we talking about the same guy who played Ali Dia cause he thought he believed he was George Weah’s cousin, the same guy who can’t see outside of Glasgow Rangers? He was a great player but Liverpool fans don’t remember him as a great manager, I remember my mate from Blackburn telling me how happy he was for seeing the back of him, Galatasary might remember him for the sheeps head in the centre circle! A good manager leaves a club in a good place when they leave everywhere he has been he has left the club in a worse state, failure of the highest order up there with Harry Redknapp!

        • ghostrider

          Like I said earlier. People will have their dislikes on people like Souness because of his past ass a player or manager.
          Nature of the beast.

          • Scottie Chugger Dearden

            You’re right I suppose it’s like Man U fans bitter about Shearer not joining them but id let him sleep with my wife if he wanted. From personal experience when he used to give post match interviews and say “under the previous regime….” after we lost and I would be saying to myself ‘under the previous regime we were finishing fourth and getting to semi finals in Europe! “

          • ghostrider

            Fine lines between historical truths’ and historical fallacies.

      • Peter C

        You must be joking, he was an absolute disaster as a manager at Newcastle, the same as his other Anfield mate, Sir kenny Dalglish.

        Souness, only succeeded in a two team league, where anyone who managed at one of the Glasgow clubs, would’ve been a success.

        I will give him his due, he was an outstanding midfield player, but manager, not on your life.

        • ghostrider

          Both were decent managers.

          • Phil Yare

            not if you go by what happened here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • ghostrider

            What happened?

          • Phil Yare

            both acted like they’d been paid to take the club back to the middle ages

          • ghostrider

            Because it didn’t look like that at the time.

          • Phil Yare

            yes, really. dalglish dismantled keegans team and spent lots of money in the process. souness did exactly the same thing to bobbys team…..what do you not understand?

          • Peter C

            You must be joking, only with established teams, and chairmen with deep pockets.

            Neither took a team from practically nothing, and put them on a higher level and kept them there, at any of the clubs they were at.

            At least, the likes of Wenger, Ferguson and Bobby Robson, developed and continually rebuilt sides and kept them competitive.

            Yes these three had money to work with, but they also brought players on through the ranks.

            Souness and Dalglish, were mediocre at best. Outstanding players yes, decent managers, not on your NELLY!

    • Carverlier football

      I still partially blame Hasselbaink for Sir Bob’s sacking – it was an easier decision for Shepherd because we had yet to win a game that season, but that would’ve been different if Hasselbaink hadn’t (deliberately) punched in a last minute equaliser for Boro in the first game or two…

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Oh yes, the song that day was ”just a fat Eddy Murphy” and he got us back.

        Our number 9 had more to do with both SBR going and the choice of Souness

    • SuperDesHamilton

      You’ve got to give Souness credit though, he’s failed in 4 countries at this managing carry on

  • Superdooperhooper

    Maybe if Bellamy wasn’t such a trouble maker under sbr then he (and us) wouldn’t have got lumbered with souness in the first place

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Who do you think got SBR sacked?

      • Phil Yare

        i think the board thought he’d lost the plot when he dropped shearer for villa away.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          The power of Shearer, he said jump and FFS said how high?

  • Dave Corkin

    I watch Jenas on TV and just remember how much he, Dyer and Bellamy let down SBR. Wasted talent with poor attitudes.. but I still think SBR persisting with Cort instead of Lua Lua was the reason we failed to win the league that year when Bellamy was injured… Great times though…

    • Dave Corkin

      And I don’t really think Bellamy had a bad attitude.. I quite liked him, especially in goal.. he wasn’t a bad actor

    • Down Under Mag

      They were very stereotypical of the modern day footballer – those who earn a fortune for mediocre performances but who have this attitude of already making it in the big time and so think they can get away with anything. Their attitude because some moderate success due to an amazing manager (and human being) was a disgrace and not one of them seems to have any remorse about it either.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      It wasn’t Bellemy, Dyer or Jenas who had the ear if FFS. Both Bellemy & Dyer were very upset SBR was sacked.

  • Big Al 1967

    To gain an insight into Souness’ management style if you get the chance pick up a copy of Four Four Two issue number 290 August 2018. There is an article about his time at Rangers. It is eye opening to say the least

    • Phil Yare

      must of blew 8m on hookers and booze, then he had to pay them back by taking boumsong

  • heretickle

    Forgive me for being sacrilegious, but how much blame for SBR’s sacking can be attributed to Alan Shearer. Bobby made some daft decisions towards the end (Solano, Lua Lua, etc.) but was he ultimately undermined by his Captain conspiring with FFS and SJH ???

  • Phil Yare

    to sum up the clown souness….
    Newcastle prepare to offer souness job….
    newcastle (no manager) play blackburn (souness has just left but its HIS team)
    Newcastle 3-0 Blackburn (newcastle could have won by 10 blackburn are that bad)
    souness takes control of newcastle
    6 months later…….newcastle already assimilated by souness go to blackburn who have been reorganised since his departure
    Newcastle get beat 3-0. so he is the best at getting the worst out of every team

  • Phil Yare

    and souness treatment of laurent robert was shocking. a brilliant left sided player that scores and sets up 30% of our goals is immediately cast aside for not being tony dorigo or micky gray

    he is then replaced by a square peg in a round hole