“It’s not about the money – I want to leave to see my daughter grow up”. This was Isaac Hayden’s message when asked just why he must leave this summer in a brilliant interview with George Caulkin this week.
It’ been reported for a while now that the 23-year-old wanted to secure a move down South for ‘personal reasons’, but Hayden really has bared all to help everyone understand his predicament here.
Here’s what he had to say about his struggles over the past year during his fascinating chat with the Times’ George Caulkin, giving Newcastle fans an insight into his situation away from his daughter and fiancee:
“As a player, you do what’s best for the team, but I’m a human being, too, and sometimes you have to do what’s best for your individual circumstances,”
“I don’t want to be the kind of person who hides away from saying that, who isn’t honest.”
“My daughter’s birth and everything leading up to it was very traumatic; not many people know what it was really like,”
“My fiancé was very, very ill for the whole term of her pregnancy, the whole 9 months.
“She was bed-ridden, couldn’t do anything. She was being sick 20-30 times a day. She had hyperemesis gravidarum, the condition that Kate Middleton had. She was going into hospital to be put on drips. She was in Newcastle at that point, but her family is based in the south west, mine’s in Essex and she really had no support. I remember we played Stoke at home and I was at hospital with her at 5am and then played after three hours sleep. It was carnage.
“When Adriana was born in December 2017, she was six weeks premature and then she was in neonatal care. She had ongoing problems with her breathing and temperature control. She was in the Portland Hospital in London. While all that was happening, trying to play football was difficult. She’s doing okay now, but there’re still a lot of things, little checks and stuff, and we like to use the same hospital for her specific needs.
“They come and see me quite regularly, but I want to be in a place for my daughter to settle down and have a happy home environment and not be moving around too much. Lauren has done an awful lot for me and given up a lot to have a child, especially in the situation we did. Looking back, I don’t know how she did it. She deserves to be in a position where she’s happy, where’s she’s closer to her family and closer to the hospital.”
“People will say, ‘you earn thousands of pounds a week, you’re an hour’s flight away from your child, what’s the problem’, but the whole point of being a dad is to be there,”
“When she’s older, I don’t want her to say ‘dad paid for everything, but I only saw him once every three weeks’. I want her to say ‘I did this with daddy, we went there together’. Money isn’t everything. It’s about the time you spend with children, the effort you put in. I want to know her. I don’t want to miss her walking for the first time, talking, all those things. I want to be a proper dad.”
He may be earning decent money, but the fact he’s performed so well on the pitch in these circumstances is admirable – especially when so many players in this day and age may have thrown their toys out the pram.
Hayden then spoke about interest from Brighton over the summer, with Caulkin reporting that our inability to sign a replacement meant that any move down South was no sanctioned by the club – while Hayden himself insists that it was never about money and that he’d have happily taken a pay cut:
“It’s frustrating; when people saw Brighton were interested, they assumed I must want more money,”
“No. I would have taken a pay cut. It was exactly the same in January. The manager knows that. Everyone at the club knows my situation, my character.”
Finally, Hayden touched on Newcastle United itself, insisting that it’s a ‘huge club’ and the last place you’d want to leave:
“This is a huge club. It’s also a frustrating club, because it’s got the infrastructure to be in the Champions League, 52,000 fans at every home game, all the away ends packed out wherever we go, it’s a one-club city. It’s got all the makings to be enormous but for whatever reasons it’s not reaching its potential. It’s not the kind of club you’d want to leave.”
Credit to Hayden here, on so many levels.
Fair play to him for opening up about some very personal details and hats off to him for not only remaining very professional after he failed to seal moves away, but for also playing absolutely brilliantly whenever Benitez has had to call on him over the last few months.
A lot’s been said about Longstaff over the last few weeks – and rightly so – but Hayden has been outstanding; especially in Tuesday win over Burnley where he was arguably our best player on the night.
Good luck to both him and his family. It will be a shame to see him leave, but it’s a situation that needs to be sorted out once and for all this summer.