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Souness vows to carry on

Scottish Mag

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GRAEME SOUNESS emerged from talks with Freddy Shepherd last night in a defiant mood about his position as manager of Newcastle United. Amid rumours of his imminent dismissal and with Tyneside awash with speculation, the Scot was adamant that he will not resign under any circumstances. “There’s not a chance of me walking away,” he said. “Not now, not ever.”

Undermined by a series of injuries — Scott Parker underwent knee surgery yesterday and will be out for up to five weeks, joining the likes of Michael Owen, Emre Belözoglu, Kieron Dyer and Steven Taylor on the sidelines — Souness has found himself under increasing scrutiny from supporters and directors. His defence has not been assisted by a batch of mediocre results.




Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat by a weakened Wigan Athletic side in the Carling Cup at the end of November is a source of lingering annoyance among officials at St James’ Park and two victories in nine matches has heightened the air of fractiousness. Yesterday morning, Souness awoke to headlines anticipating his departure but, should he leave, it will not be of his own volition. The chairman, meanwhile, may have taken a small step back from the precipice.


“Let me make something perfectly clear: there’s no chance of me resigning, no matter what happens,” Souness, whose side face an uncomfortable FA Cup tie against Mansfield Town this weekend, said. “I’ll say that again: no matter what happens. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I know that I’ve brought some very good players to this football club and I know that we’ve been desperately unlucky in terms of injuries, but I’m sticking at it.


“We’ve had two operations in the space of a week — first Michael and then Scott — and if you look at the players we’ve got available at the moment, that tells you exactly where we are. We’ve only got two centre halves and, in Titus Bramble, one of them is having injections in his groin before he plays. We’re even struggling to get a midfield together for the Mansfield game.


“We’re in desperate trouble, but it’s at times like this that you find out most about yourself and the people around you. We can’t undo what’s happened to Michael, to Scott, to Steven Taylor, Kieron Dyer or the others, but we can help each other and the best way to do that is by sticking together. This is a great club and supporters should know that I’m up for the challenge. I’ve never ducked a fight in my life.”


While such an uncompromising stance is typical, it would be of little relevance if Shepherd decided to dispense with the man he chose to replace Sir Bobby Robson 16 months ago. There are obstacles in the path of that possibility; having invested around £38 million in the transfer market last summer, there is little appetite to spend a further £3 million on paying up the manager’s contract. It is not necessarily a black-and-white issue, however.


There was no statement from Shepherd, either in support of Souness or otherwise, although the club were keen to point out that business was progressing as usual. A dearth of outstanding, available candidates would appear to dictate against any speedy resolution and while the atmosphere on Gallowgate is thick with recrimination, the fact that the manager held discussions with Shepherd suggests that Souness will remain for the Mansfield tie.


Gossip about altercations with members of his side — Stephen Carr, the Ireland defender, is the latest — has had a corrosive effect on Souness and, at a time when so many players are injured, the apparent failure of any senior member of his coaching staff to attend Tuesday’s reserve-team match against Wolverhampton Wanderers appears careless. Glenn Roeder, the club’s academy director and a feasible caretaker manager, was present.


Reinforcements to the depleted squad are needed, yet Newcastle are under pressure to reduce their wage bill, a cause that may be helped by Charlton Athletic renewing their interest in Lee Bowyer

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He thinks he hasn't done anything wrong? What about selling half our squad and failing to replace them you fucking mong!


We only have 2 centre backs because you sold AOB (OK, not the greatest) and replaced him with Craig Moore who's yet to be fit to play!!


For fuck's sake, when he took over we had a ridiculously overcrowded midfield contingent on our payroll. We've got to pray like fuck that Solano, Clark, Bowyer or N'Zogbia don't get injured in the coming weeks.


C'mon Fred, dispense with this toss-pot!


BTW - how the hell can his compo be £3m if he's only on a year contract with an option for a 3rd? That would mean we're paying him £6m a year - surely not? :)

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Anyone fancy putting a few quid in so we can get a contract out on him? Seems like the only way he'll end up leaving SJPs at the moment is in a wooden box.


Can we get a group deal and have hall jr and the fat man included?

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I see .COM are running with the line that Souness's Obituries are being penned....


Think they may know something we're all hoping for?



No, I think they're just commenting on the Souness obituaries that have been penned in the national press like the rest of us. :)

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The more I hear and read from him the more I think the tosser is a bloody coward. He can't take any criticism at all. Even if he is right about some criticism labeled at him being not totally fair he still has to admit that when the team is struggling in midtable mediocrity and playing crap football. SBR's post match reactions were becoming more and more puzzling, but the comments from Souness about the crap his team is producing defies any reality - that is when he commenting at all. He only beliefs in 'proper' players with the right fighting attitude, now he himself goes into hiding when he is faced criticism or just comes up with excuses after excuses for his shortcomings. It's always the others, it's never himself.


Thinking of him having problems to put up a midfield against mighty Mansfield on Saturday I remember the last time when Newcastle went into a FA Cup tie with serious injury problems. That night Acuna and McClen (who nowadays can't get a game at Carlisle) had to face an Arsenal side at his best and more than matched it.

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