Souness Has A Pop At Toon Fans…79310-20692698/


FORMER Toon boss Graeme Souness has launched a scathing attack on Newcastle United’s loyal fans, labelling them “unforgiving, critical customers”.


Souness — paid a £3.2m golden handshake after being sacked in 2006 — rounded on them for their lack of loyalty to managers, saying he won’t return to football management because he’d been “sickened” by his 18 months at St James’s.


His astonishing outburst came yesterday on Ireland’s main radio station RTE Radio One, during an interview with sports presenter Eamon Dunphy.


During the hour-long show Souness, 54, who managed Rangers, Liverpool and Blackburn before coming to Tyneside in 2004, also criticised fans “up there” for assuming Newcastle is a big club.


He said: “The last job well and truly sickened me. The Newcastle one was a bad experience . . . I’m sure if you asked Sam Allardyce he would tell you the same, it was just an unhealthy situation there.


“I believe Newcastle is a club that gets 52,000 people paying to watch them every other week and they have 22,000 supporters and 30,000 customers. They are extremely critical.


“You ask yourself why are they so unforgiving? They’ve done nothing since 1969, so where this opinion comes from that they are a big club and should be winning things comes from . . . .”


“It should be a fabulous club and could be a fabulous club. I was there 18 months. We reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.


“I think it was nine consecutive wins which equalled the club record and I can remember going into that period where we had these semi-finals coming up and thinking ‘If we lose these they will be calling for our heads’ and that’s the way it is up there.” (The club actually won seven games in a row under Souness, and the club record is 11.) The Scott, whose unpopular reign as Newcastle boss ended in February 2006, also recounted the end of his tenure and the notorious home game against Aston Villa, in which teammates Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer were sent off for fighting.


He said: “They ended up fighting each other and they both got sent off. And that’s typical of that club.


“There’s just something about it. It should be a fabulous club but they all have to take a deep breath and count to 10, the supporters, and say to themselves we’ve got to give someone a chance.


“As far as I can see only Kevin (Keegan) or Alan Shearer would be given anything like the time needed to turn that club into a powerful club.”


Billy Furious, life-long Magpie fan and sports writer for Newcastle United fanzine, The Mag, said he and other loyal fans would be outraged by Souness’s comments.


He said: “Like Sam Allardyce, he walked away from Newcastle with millions of pounds of supporters’ money, which he didn’t earn or deserve. All they both do is look for someone to blame for their own inadequacies . . . and no one ever asked him to justify spending £8.5m on Jean-Alain Boumsong.


“And as for calling us critical, it’s because we know rubbish when we see it.


“The thing that most galled us about Souness is that he tried to tell us something was great when it clearly was not, and he chased all the decent players away.”


Michael Martin, editor of fanzine True Faith, was equally enraged.


He said: “It was his fault he failed at Newcastle and he got a big payout for it, and we’re a big club that bought very badly under his reign.


“He was a fantastic player but a disaster as a manager . . . a phony and a coward.


“If he wants to discuss it, I know a few people who would like to talk to him here, so maybe the big man can come here and say it.”


Last night Newcastle United weren’t prepared to comment.


Is it me, or does he have a look of Killian from The Running Man?



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