You would think that Derek Llambias would be keeping a low profile after the renaming debacle that has dominated the news this week.
Not so. Instead we wake up on a Sunday morning to headlines such as “Toon chief blasts heroes Shearer and Keegan in foul-mouthed rant” which is a bit dramatic in fairness, when you look at the actual content of the article the headline is about.
Apparently Llambias has been recorded by fans responding to questions that they posed to him. The problem, for me anyway, is not his answers to the questions, but the way he answered them. It’s seems that Derek may have been on the sauce this particular night so let’s hear what he had to say.
First off he opened up some old wounds with Kevin Keegan who made an ill-fated return to St James’ Park which ended in a much publicised fallout.
“Kevin Keegan can’t take pressure. His f****** head is all over the place,” said Llambias, before revealing that Keegan was only appointed to appease potential buyers of the club.
“Mike was selling to the Arabs and they wanted Kevin Keegan. The Arabs wanted him, the fans wanted him — perfect!”
Personally speaking I never wanted Keegan back. I don’t think many fans wanted him back as such. I certainly don’t remember there being any notion of returning to Newcastle which is why the news shocked so many when it started trickling through. Llambias is wrong on that one, although I do think he is right when it comes to Kevin Keegan and pressure. His job history shows that he tends to walk when the going gets tough.
Moving on, and next in line for a roasting is Alan Shearer.
Llambias said: “Shearer was my choice and I have to hold up my hands — the wrong choice. Shearer, for this, destroys us. He gave all the responsibility to Dowie. Rubbish!”
A supporter then suggests that “It wasn’t the right time” for Shearer. Llambias agreed, and then took it further by saying: “It would never be the right time. Shearer? There would never be a right time in football.”
When one of the onlookers hinted that Shearer is arrogant, Llambias agreed and said: “You guys have given him that arrogance.”
There is a reason why Shearer hasn’t picked up another managerial job since his ill-fated time in charge with us. Personally I don’t like the fact that he seems unwilling to drop his level too low and go manage in the lower leagues as a kind of apprenticeship but it’s up to him I guess.
The man who replaced him, Chris Hughton, was next in line for a roasting.
“He would never have taken us where we want to be. That’s my decision by the way,” said Llambias when asked about the sacking of Chris Hughton.
“Chris can’t make decisions. If I am asking about a player, Ben Arfa? he says ‘I’m not sure, blah blah’.”
“With Chris, he couldn’t cope with where we are mentally. We are aggressive. You need to be aggressive. I don’t want a manager below me who can’t argue. You guys don’t understand how f****** horrible we can be.”
This kind of fits in with my view of Hughton. He was too nice and the players had too much power in my book which would have lead to problems in the long run. However it should be remembered that he did a great job for us and learnt his trade which will hopefully stand him in good stead in the future.
Finally, Andy Carroll was the last target for Derek Llambias’ lyrical weapons. He claims that the striker is worth “f*** all” and that Newcastle got the better of the deal. In fact he goes into more detail about the deal. We’ll pick it up at the point where Liverpool offered £30 million for Carroll on transfer deadline day.
“I have to admit that £30m for Andy Carroll is a lot of money.”
When one supporter asked him “Is he worth £30m?” Llambias responded: “No — he’s worth f*** all.” He then explains that after rejecting the £30m offer, Newcastle refused to sell even for £35m unless Liverpool paid the entire fee up front.
“It is about control.
“We had the control. We knew the Torres deal was there. We drew that f****** deal, perhaps the ultimate,” explained Llambias.
“So £30m? F*** off! Don’t waste my time and I slammed the phone down. £35m? Everybody including Pardew all agreed.”
“But the £35m they wanted to pay over four years. It was rubbish. Mike (Ashley) said — and he is a brave boy Mike I promise you — get all the £35m up front.”
“We got it all up front and then they never paid us on time and we charged them 12 grand f****** interest.”
I personally like that last one.
So what is in here that we don’t know? Is it really worth the sensational headlines that it’s been getting in the national press? Personally I don’t think so if you look at what is actually said, and we already know that Llambias is a buffoon.
– Keegan can’t handle pressure. This is true as his entire managerial CV proves. It should be remembered though that pressure wasn’t the reason why it all went wrong the second time round.
– Shearer is arrogant. This is again true and many of our own fans will say that.
– Chris Hughton was too nice. Again it’s true although it sounds harsh to say. Too many rumours of player committees and so on…
– Andy Carroll isn’t worth £35m. Can that really be argued? Not at the moment it seems. Granted I think he is worth slightly more than “f*** all” but I don’t think it can be denied that our club got the better of the deal.
So there you go. I agree with Llambias on most of this although I do feel that he should have picked his words more carefully. Mind you, alcohol can be a bad thing and from the content of these ramblings I’d guess he was sloshed as he sounds a bit like that drunken old man sat in the corner having a moan about anything and everything.
These quotes are taken from the Sunday Mirror nd you can read the original articles here and here, Of course people will say that “it’s only the mirror”, which is true, but they would be getting themselves into sticky territory if they started printing quotes without basis knowing full well that Ashley and Llambias would be on the phone to lawyers almost immediately. Money money money remember.
What do you make of it though?