Nicky Butt explains what a ‘s**thouse’ thing Michael Owen and others did at Newcastle United
Some interesting reflections from Nicky Butt about his time at Newcastle United.
Sir Bobby Robson signed the midfielder from Man Utd for £2.5m in summer 2004.
However, it is the final two years of his time as a player at St James Park that Nicky Butt has been concentrating on, as well as commenting on the present day NUFC.
Nicky Butt says he has a ‘big soft spot for Newcastle United’ still and reckons that they can now ‘kick on’, especially now they have replaced Steve Bruce with ‘a very good manager’ in Eddie Howe.
As for back in the day, Nicky Butt says he was gutted when Mike Ashley forced Kevin Keegan out of the club, replacing him with ‘didn’t have a clue’ JFK.
That of course set in motion the relegation that 2008/09 season, with Nicky Butt starting 33 of the 38 league matches.
A lot of rats then deserted the sinking ship, with Michael Owen leading the charge, he couldn’t get away quick enough and infuriated Alan Shearer, as Paul Ferris revealed in his brilliant book, Michael Owen refusing to play for Newcastle United in the final desperate battle against relegation, in case he got injured and it affected his chances of yet another massive contract after jumping ship at NUFC once they’d gone down.
Nicky Butt was due to retire that summer (of 2009) but says that it would have been a ‘s**thouse’ thing to walk away when he had been one of those players responsible for the relegation, the former England midfielder saying that he felt it a duty to stay on and help Newcastle to get back up to the top tier. It was a definitive moment, as shameful characters such as Michael Owen, Damien Duff and others made it crystal clear that they wouldn’t be sticking around and take responsibility for their part in the relegation.
Nicky Butt signed a new one year deal to try and help NUFC get instant promotion, turning 35 during that season, the midfielder featured in 17 Championship matches and replaced the departed Michael Owen as club captain.
The 2009/10 season saw Chris Hughton do a brilliant job despite Mike Ashley making a huge profit by selling players and leaving Hughton to rely on free transfers, loans and the odd budget buy allowed in the January.
Newcastle United promoted with 102 points and Nicky Butt loving it…’It was a great season, loads of points, a real buzz about the city. My family flew up to watch the last game – about 50 people. They saw me lift the trophy with Alan Smith and that was my last real match in football. It was a top season.’
Meanwhile, having deserted Newcastle United in their hour of need, Michael Owen signed a three year deal where he earned further fortunes for playing very little, happy to warm the bench and rake in the cash.
Nicky Butt talking to FourFourTwo and reflects on his time at Newcastle United:
“I was gutted when Kevin [Keegan] left because he was a really nice guy.
“What followed felt like jobs for the boys – all the mates of Mike Ashley, or anyone who went to his casino. I didn’t like that.
“Joe Kinnear seemed nice but he didn’t have a clue about most of the players in his team – he didn’t know most of their names. That summed up what Newcastle was back then.
“Now? I reckon they could kick on.
“They have a very good manager [in Eddie Howe].
I have a big soft spot for Newcastle United.”
Relegation and promotion at NUFC
“Relegation was horrible.
“The fans felt we didn’t care. We did. We saw people lose their jobs because budgets were slashed.
“I was supposed to retire but I’d been part of the squad which went down, so I wanted to be part of the team that got them back up.
“I didn’t want to jump ship, that would have been a s**thouse thing to do.
“It was a great season, loads of points, a real buzz about the city.
“My family flew up to watch the last game – about 50 people. They saw me lift the trophy with Alan Smith and that was my last real match in football. It was a top season.”
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