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Shay Given talking Newcastle United – Past, present and…future

1 month ago
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Shay Given has been discussing Newcastle United.

The former NUFC goalkeeper talking about his time at St James Park.

As well as the present day and…what could happen in the future.

Shay Given is the greatest ever Newcastle United goalkeeper, by some distance, in my opinion.

I have been going since the seventies and certainly since then, I think he is a class above anybody else that has represented NUFC in that time. We are very lucky to have such a good goalkeeper at the moment in Martin Dubravka, however, Shay Given was something else.

I think it was very similar to Alan Shearer.

In the decade that Shay Given played for Newcastle United, we just came to think of that as the norm in terms of the quality of goalkeeping. Just as we did when for ten years Alan Shearer was knocking them in at the other end.

Only when players are no longer there, do you really appreciate how good they are / were.

Shay Given still has a great love for Newcastle United and is desperate for them to do well.

He is full of hope for the future now, with new owners and a new head coach, especially if relegation can be dodged this season and Newcastle United build next summer as still a Premier League club.

Shay Given thinks loan moves for Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard in January, are two incoming signings that would really raise the quality at St James Park: ‘Immediately I’m thinking about Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard; two quality players who aren’t playing as much as they’d like for their clubs at the moment. Get the ball rolling with arrivals like that. It’s going to take four, five, maybe even six players of that calibre to come in in January to give the team a real chance of staying in the division.’

Hmmm, I’m not sure I quite agree something like six quality signings are needed next month to give Newcastle United ‘a real chance of staying in the division’…not that I think it is going to be easy but NUFC are currently only three points off safety and already Eddie Howe has the current players fitter and playing better football after only a month in charge. With some added quality coming in next month, I think Newcastle can stay up under Eddie Howe, just a case of putting a set of results together and showing the kind of commitment and willingness to play front foot football that we saw in the win over Burnley.

Shay Given talking to Ladbrokes about Newcastle United:

“It’s fair to say the immediate impact Eddie Howe has had on the Newcastle team has been pretty positive. That first win at the weekend was obviously massive and it’ll work wonders for the mood in the camp.

“Avoiding relegation is still going to be a tough ask though; no other club in the Premier League has stayed up after going so long without picking up three points, but records are there to be broken – at least that’s what Eddie said, and I really like that mindset.

“There’s a horrible run of fixtures coming up now though, there aren’t any easy games in there, so they’re in for a really tough month ahead. They’ve got to play Leicester, Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Everton in their next five games. Plenty will look at those fixtures on paper and say Newcastle won’t pick up many points, but football’s not played on paper.

“Eddie’s brought a real togetherness about the place, though, so hopefully the team can up their performances in the coming weeks and head into January with a few positive results.”

Reinforcements:

“Hopefully, reinforcements come in next month, sooner rather than later. It’s key they get their business done early.

“There’s no getting away from the fact the squad needs strengthening and I hate seeing teams leave it until Deadline Day.

“There are three big games in the league in January against Watford, Southampton and Leeds; you’re going to want your new players in the door early to give yourself the best chance of picking up maximum points from those teams in and around them at the bottom of the table.

“Reinforcements will only lift the mood in the camp, believe me. The rumour is that there’s supposedly £45-50m available for the club to spend in January, which isn’t really a lot of money in the current climate, so I see the club taking advantage of the loan market.

“I don’t think it’s a case of having to bring in players with experience of relegation scraps; you’re going to want players coming in who are going to significantly improve the squad; quality players are what’s going to get the club out of the position they’re in.”

Two targets Newcastle should go for:

“Immediately I’m thinking about Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard; two quality players who aren’t playing as much as they’d like for their clubs at the moment. Get the ball rolling with arrivals like that.

“It’s going to take four, five, maybe even six players of that calibre to come in in January to give the team a real chance of staying in the division.

“Jesse Lingard is the main one I’d be looking at. I think his contract at Man United is up in the summer so he should see the second half of the season as an opportunity to show people he’s capable of performing at a top level, just like he did last year with West Ham.”

Leaving Newcastle United:

“Leaving Newcastle wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I’ve spoken about it in the past, and purely from a career point of view it was the best opportunity I thought I’d have of challenging for titles and adding some trophies to my collection.

“I was joining a club [Manchester City] with huge ambitions and leaving a club with no ambition. Mike Ashley was just happy for the club to stay afloat, the same as he was for the duration of his tenure. That’s why there’s so much excitement in the city now, and hopefully the new owners are there for the long haul. Sheikh Mansour has stuck to his word. He said they were here for the long haul. They wanted to make the club one of the best in world football and what they’ve done off, as well as on, the pitch is phenomenal.

“I still live in Manchester, and what they’ve done to the whole east side of the city, the stadium, the training ground, the infrastructure, as well as everything they’ve done in the community… they’ve done everything they said they would and then some. You hope the Saudis and the people that have taken over Newcastle will do the same, not just for the club, but for the area as well.”

Exciting times and jealousy:

“It’s exciting times at Newcastle for sure, but it’s not going to be an easy journey to success. Their first task is to keep the club in the Premier League and look to build from there.

“It’s not easy when you represent a team with such a huge financial backing and speaking from experience I noticed a bit of jealousy from opponents during my time at Man City. They’re thinking ‘this is the richest club in the world’, and that’s a feeling you just get used to. With that status comes a responsibility, and I’m really curious to see how things pan out for Newcastle over the coming months and years.”

Admiration:

“I’ve got nothing but admiration for the people of Newcastle Football Club.

“Their fans have been crying out for this sort of thing to happen for a long, long time. You just hope that the owners get it right.

“I always felt really settled in Newcastle; I had a great connection with the fans. The stadium, and the atmosphere up there, it’s just a really special place to play football. I’ve spoken in the past about the transfer request early on at my time with the club, but that was purely down to me not playing. Rightly or wrongly, I thought I deserved to be starting week-in, week-out, and I’m not the sort of person who is going to take too kindly to sitting on the bench. The way I saw it, every week I was on that bench was a week of my career I was never going to get back. So when you hear of rumours flying around about other clubs paying an interest, of course you’re going to keep an open mind.

But if I’m honest, I never really saw myself leaving the club at all.

“If you connect with the supporters the way I did, it’s hard to walk away from something like that. That part of the country is a really special place – it means a lot to me.

“A lot of my friends and family still live around that way, so I’m always going to want the club to succeed.”

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