Shay Given has opened up about his NUFC exit for the first time since leaving for Man City in 2009, admitting in his new autobiography that Mike Ashley offered him a LOWER deal than the one he was already on in a pathetic ‘attempt’ to keep him on Tyneside – also revealing how he put a ‘false spin’ on his exit to make him look the bad guy.
The former Irish international’s new autobiography “Any Given Saturday” hits the shelves today and some passages of the book have been shared by the The Chronicle this week.
It’s understood that some of Shay’s motivation for the book stems from his urge to set the record straight to NUFC fans who may still believe that he simply walked out on the club in a time of need during our relegation season of 2008/09.
In the chapter below, he admits that he wanted to stay on Tyneside for “life”, but explains how the club showed no ambition or urge to keep him, acting ‘disgracefully’ both during and after his eventual move to Manchester City.
Here’s a snippet from his latest book which relives his final moments with the club (which had Joe Kinnear in charge at the time!), highlighting Mike Ashley’s total lack of class and ambition in the way he dealt with Shay:
“It felt like we were drifting, inch by inch, week by week, from being a club that wanted to win and succeed in the Premier League to becoming a club that just wanted to survive in the Premier League. There’s a world of difference between those two approaches, those two ideas, and I only had one career and one chance. I started to think that I would have to move on.
“Eventually the chance to join (Manchester) City came up. They were everything Newcastle were not at the time – ambitious, clear about their plans, willing to spend and attract big players and they wanted success.
“What footballer doesn’t want that in his life?
“Eventually, me and Michael Kennedy had a meeting with Mike Ashley about what the future held. It was at the manager’s office at the training ground and Llambias was there as well. I was willing to listen to what they had to say but ultimately I left it all up to Michael. This is what usually happens with contract and transfer issues, the player leaves it in the hands of someone they trust. I went out of the room soon after the meeting had begun and returned to the car. Michael was back out, sat in the passenger seat, soon after. “We’re not staying,” he said. “That was not a serious offer in any way, shape or form.” Mike Ashley had told Michael the deal being proposed but it was considerably lower than what we were offering new players at the time, who were coming in on huge long-term contracts that would secure them for life.
“My deal did not do that and just confirmed what I already suspected – they weren’t going to pull out the stops to keep me at the club. I was prepared to stay for the rest of my career but, ultimately, I was in my prime, a potential Premier League winning team wanted to sign me and Newcastle did not give any impression they wanted to chase silverware. The sad thing was I’d placed serious, long-term roots down in Newcastle, my children were in school there and I would easily and happily have stayed forever.
“How much did they really want to keep me though? How much did they want to be challenging? Did the boardroom care about keeping their most loyal players? In a word, no.
“In the end, with me unhappy at what was going on and the lack of ambition shown by the club, a gun was put to my head. They said they would not allow me to leave unless I signed a transfer request. By making me hand in a formal written request, it meant they could waive 10 per cent of the fee I otherwise would’ve picked up after moving. With the fee being around £6-8m, it effectively meant I was waiving £600,000 to go.
“It says everything that they were more keen on saving themselves £600,000 than they were keeping hold of a player who had given his absolute all for the club for over a decade. I’d literally spilt blood for Newcastle, pushed myself hard every day, even when times were so tough and quality players were leaving by the second.
“The least the club could’ve done, in my opinion, is prove I was wanted. Instead, they were more interested in the transfer fee than they were me – a proven Premier League player, a dedicated team-man and a good professional. If they were letting me go, and they were more than happy to let the likes of Milner go as well, what does that tell you? It tells me that the economics of the club were a bigger priority than success on the pitch. That saddened me a lot then and it saddens me a lot now.”
Shay was a brilliant servant at the club and one of the best goalkeepers to play between the sticks at St James’ Park and some of the above is quite disgraceful behaviour from Ashley and co at the time.
An eye opening insight from Shay which emphasises the importance of getting the parasite that is Mike Ashley out of our club.