Our former manager for a year (1998-1999) Ruud Gullit had some nice words to say regarding both the Newcastle United club, Freddie Shepherd, the Geordie fans and Sam Allardyce as the new manager choice – when he talked to BBC Radio 5 yesterday.
It’s certainly a very interesting interview.
We thought he must look back on his time at Newcastle as not good – but that’s not the case at all.
To give some background – Ruud Gullit was appointed in August, 1998 after Kenny Dalglish had made an ordinary start to that season and the club had just finished their worst season ever (before the season just completed) with 44 points and was positioned 14th in the league.
Ruud Gullit was welcomed with open arms to bring sexy football to Newcastle and he made a decent start during the 1998-199 season.
However, the team made a terrible start to the 1999-2000 season with a single point from our first seven games.
He dropped Alan Shearer for the home game against rivals Sunderland on a rainy night at St. James.
Newcastle were beaten 2-1 – and Gullit resigned that same night – ushering in Bobby Robson’s reign within a week or two.
We had thought it must have been a bit of a nightmare period for Ruud – but not according to this interview he gave yesterday to BBC Radio 5 yesterday.
“They need some quality players there,” .
“Not a whole lot, but some quality players. Some local boys are very important – I don’t agree with the whole ‘foreign legion’ and if they find the right mixture.
“Discipline is very important, and Sam is very good in discipline so I think he is the right man in the right place.”
“He has been injured all the time,”
“There has been talk about him leaving but I don’t know why he would leave because he’s done nothing yet.
“This is the first time for him to show how good he is.”
Gullit then talked about his time at Newcastle:
“I had a marvellous time there, the crowd were excellent, all the facilities are there.
“It was a difficult time but a nice experience.
“Expectation is very high there. It’s difficult for them, the great players go to Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and it can sometimes be difficult to get the right player.”
“Freddy Shepherd was easy to work with, I had a good time with him and he backed me up to the end.
“I just took the decision (to quit) and said ‘look, it’s better that you do it with another coach’.”
It’s nice to hear that Ruud has no hard feelings regarding his time at Newcastle – and seems to hold the experience as a very good one.