Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shay Given Hits Out at Mike Ashley's Newcastle United "Regime"

In his first press conference as a Manchester City player, Shay Given fired a broadside at his previous employers Newcastle United. Having served as first choice goalkeeper for 12 loyal years at St. James' Park, the Irishman spoke of his unhappiness over the last six months and of what he feels was poor treatment by the club.

"I just felt that after the service I gave the club, then the "regime" at Newcastle could have handled the whole thing a bit better."

"They made me do things I didn't want to do and this was an opportunity to further my career and pick up more silverware," he said while alluding to the fact that Newcastle made him put in a transfer request where he would have to fore go any signing on fee with his new club.

Given obviously feels that Newcastle were penny pinching and that despite a huge amount of interest from Manchester City, they made their longest serving player jump through hoops to secure a move away from the club.

"In the last six months it has been fizzling out. It has not been enjoyable going into training.

"Maybe it's myself just being selfish, but I think I deserved a little bit better than that."

Given first alerted other clubs to his availability through a public statement in the wake of Newcastle's 5-1 home defeat by Liverpool. Despite the scoreline, Shay Given put in an incredible one man performance and it still remains a mystery how he kept the score down so low.

In the aftermath of the match, a disconsolate Given sat in the goal wondering where it had all gone wrong. And to show their appreciation of his heroic efforts against Liverpool the Geordie faithful gave him a standing ovation as he left the pitch.

Three days later in a very uncharacteristic move, Given issued a statement through his solicitor Michael Kennedy that he was looking to move from St James' Park with Manchester City, Tottenham, and Arsenal being his preferred destinations.

When asked today about that match against Liverpool, Given had this to say,

"The Liverpool match was a low point in my career,

"It was one of those points where if I had left the pitch and never seen a football again I would have been happy, I was that low."

And although he signed a five-year contract extension in 2006, he said he was disillusioned with life at the club and disappointed that the promised push for honors had failed to emerge despite promises to the contrary.

"I didn't know if I was going to leave but a lot of people said I was happy and settled, which I was in a way, but I wasn't comfortable.

"I wasn't comfortable with the way the club was going. I wanted to be challenging for honors.

"By coming here I thought I could be at a club that is challenging for honors. I didn't want to finish my career regretting not taking up this offer."

Shay Given's signing is hugely significant to Manchester City's future, at 32 he still has his best years as a goalkeeper ahead of him and his reputation is such that when the inevitable change of management comes around he looks most likely to retain his position in the team.

Joining City at ground level in an exciting time for the club and supporters was a move that Given could not turn down, and in getting him, City have probably signed the best keeper over the Premierships last 12 seasons.

A good move all around, except for Newcastle who have not only lost a player, they have lost a "marquee" player. One who has become synonymous with the club over the Premiership era.

Losing a great player is bad enough, losing a player like Given is unforgivable and Newcastle will do well to retain their Premiership status without him.

twitter / WillieGannon