Press Over-Reacting to Shay Given Comment

There have been lots of stories about Shay Given yesterday and today about showdown talks with new manager Sam Allardyce. The tone is characterized as even hostile with Shay wanting to have it out with Big Sam.

But when you read what Shay actually said and forget about the sensational headlines, then it’s all very logical and sensible.

All Shay says is that he needs to sit down and talk with his manager. He wants to see what Sam is thinking and have a discussion with him, which Shay admits he hasn’t done yet.


Shay Given Newcastle’s star goalkeeper training for Saturday’s Slovakia v Ireland game

It all seems perfectly logical to us, but here’s what Shay actually said, as he prepared for the Ireland game in Slovakia on Saturday.

“I haven’t really spoken to the manager yet,” “I’ve gone away with Ireland so I haven’t had time to sit down with him, so I’ll have to do that when I get back after these games.

“I’m not sure what his thinking is or whatever, but obviously I’ve been out for a while with my groin and I played on Wednesday night, so maybe he felt that it was better for me not to play on Saturday and put too much pressure on it.”

“We’ll see what happens. It’s good to have competition in every position in the club, so if that’s the case then I’ll have to see what happens.”

“I don’t really know what his thoughts are because I haven’t spoken to him and he hasn’t spoken to me. It’s hard to say what his thinking is for the future, but I’m really just focusing on these games now.”

Now does that sound like someone who’s upset or worried about things at Newcastle? We don’t think so and believe we should take these reports with a large pinch of salt. We just think it’s the press winding things up – again.

Shay has been one of Newcastle’s very best performers over the last 10 years and is the best goalkeeper in Newcastle’s history. He has saved the team on countless occasions. It just happens that able deputy Steve Harper – who hasn’t played much over that period – has come in and played extremely well. Sam is right to continue with Steve in goal but it will not be long before we’ll see Shay between the posts again. Don’t think it’s not possible for Big Sam to keep both goalkeepers happy at Newcastle United.

Comments are welcome.

67 comments so far

  • Shearer 4 pm

    Sep 5, 2007 at 6:30 PM

    Comment #1

    seems fair
    im no 1 woooo

  • JoshI

    Sep 5, 2007 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #2

    The media have definatley been making a mountain out of a mole hill on this one, i think BSA just wants to rest him for a while, he has been in great demand these past few years lol

  • Remote Magpie

    Sep 5, 2007 at 6:35 PM

    Comment #3

    Not quite so sure you are right! With BSA’s legendary man-management skills, I find it inconceivable that Shay would have been left out of the team without even a word of explanation. Sounds to me that Shay WAS given a word of explanation, and it was a word (or more) that he didn’t like, and a reasoning he didn’t agree with. I think this is saying pretty much what the papers have inferred: Shay doesn;t like what happened and wants a chance to explain exactly why to the gaffer. Whether that counts as a “showdown” I don’t know. I doubt Shay would be naive enough to jeopardise a long and successful career, and provoke a move he probably doesn’t really want to make. But I suspect he does want a full and frank meeting of minds. Call that what you will.

  • WelshWizard

    Sep 5, 2007 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #4

    southern shandy drinkers in london making into something that isn’t there…..tossers

  • Rich

    Sep 5, 2007 at 6:52 PM

    Comment #5

    i hope your right, youve ommitted his last comment though which is:

    “I’m excited about playing in two massive games and getting away, I suppose, from the club”

    hopefully hell be inbetweenthe stick against Derby, as i said before wed be in the championship if it wasnt for our legend Shay.

  • nightfall

    Sep 5, 2007 at 7:09 PM

    Comment #6

    maybe there’s pressure on BS from FA…we all know how “well” england is doing…you’ll be lucky if you qualify for EC… perhaps that’s why owen and harper were 1st choices lately…and not given and martins…

  • JoshI

    Sep 5, 2007 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #7

    I hate corruption in football! If only it could be like it was 15-20 years ago.

  • Callum

    Sep 5, 2007 at 7:32 PM

    Comment #8

    Nghtfall – Harper has been in goal because of Givens injury and Harper has been in good form whilst in goal so he doesnt deserved to be dropped and Owen needs match practice hence why he started vs Barnsley and scored so its hard to drop him for the Wigan game when his confidence would have been high, a game in which he scored again 🙂

    So its all because of the players form and fitness NOT pressure from FA

  • Kevin

    Sep 5, 2007 at 7:42 PM

    Comment #9

    Callum – I think we’d all like to believe that team selections and other decisions in football are based purely on player form, and we all can agree that it’s great to see Owen back and regaining fitness, and that Harper’s been immense between the sticks lately. But Nightfall, I think, brings up a fantastic point. There’s always more than seems apparent going on behind the scenes. And maybe this time, Shay has been on the receiving end of a nasty bit of bureaucracy.
    One thing we can all agree on is, if Shay is concerned with his playing time and becoming upset, we better all damn well hope that he and BSA can sort it quickly – because he’s one of the top three keepers in the Prem and losing Shay is losing a MASSIVE piece to our puzzle.
    Harper is good – Shay is LEGEND.

  • Andy T

    Sep 5, 2007 at 7:52 PM

    Comment #10

    Look – its all a bunch of Arsenal supporting journo’s trying to deflect attention away from the fact that their Number 1 (probably now 2) keeper is such a flapper that the RSPB have started listing him in their recent publications.

  • magpieranger

    Sep 5, 2007 at 7:55 PM

    Comment #11

    How many times in the past have certain players just walked back in to the first team after an injury? Not only is it bad practice medically but its also been poor man management. How does Steve Harper feel knowing he is not going to be playing the following Saturday no matter how well he is playing himself. If we want to move forward then we have to create competition for places. Steve Harper should stay between the sticks until he gives reason to be dropped or is injured himself.
    I just want to say as well that Sam has won me over big time, His signings look to be immense but its the stuff like sticking with harper that says to me that the man knows what he is doing.
    Let the good times roll again
    auf wiedersehen

  • Graham

    Sep 5, 2007 at 8:24 PM

    Comment #12

    Transfer window closed + Mike Ashley committing to the long term future of NUFC = southern ponces dreaming up more bull to try and unsettle us little northerners. I know this is a family site and i appologize in advance – but what a bunch of wankers the southern press are – maybe Alan Oliver could do a job for them???

  • Darren

    Sep 5, 2007 at 8:49 PM

    Comment #13

    Without going into things too much you should be worried over this, BSA has said he prefers Harper as he thinks Given is not commanding enough in the air. I can’t back this up with readily available proof right now so you will have to wait I’m afraid but it isn’t paper bull and will all come out over the next month (feel free to call me anything you wish in the meantime but I’m not talking tripe)

    And don’t be suprised if Given puts in a transfer request, he did when Gullit dropped him.

  • Rich

    Sep 5, 2007 at 8:54 PM

    Comment #14

    Darren – Given hasnt been dropped he was INJURED.

    its not like he was put on the subs bench out of the blue FFS.

    Id love to see this proof of yours, are you good mates with Big Sams Aunties hairdressers dog walker or something?

  • Jóhann

    Sep 5, 2007 at 8:58 PM

    Comment #15

    Finally some one with sense. At least a manager who sees that Harper is the better keeper. It´s exactly what Darren says. I feel like they are just as good in everything except when it comes to saving shots right at the post and of course when it comes to commanding an area. Don´t be stupid and think that all along it has just been the defense that was leaking. The reason was simply that they didn´t really count that much on given, especially when it comes to area ability. That´s why he´ll never be one of the great ones. Don´t be blind be realistic.

  • andy

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:00 PM

    Comment #16

    sell him, well get atleast 7mill, and then we can put it towards buying deco

    Plus harper is class

    plus when harper has retired krul will be ready to play as first team regular so might aswell cash in on given whilst we still can

  • big pea ov the weab

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:03 PM

    Comment #17

    just all been blowen out of propotion shays a lifer every 1 no s that 1

  • ToonKing

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:17 PM

    Comment #18

    Ever since last season i rate Harper and Given almost equally and they should be rotated depending on form, and as someone sad Shay is a legend, maybe Harper would be one too if he was given the opportunity.
    For me it’s clear, Shay was injured, reserve goally came on, he did well so BS saw that there is no need to rush Shay.

    As for selling Given and buying Deco……………damn i’m not even gonna comment this. I never wanted Deco, there is no need whatsoever for him + there are always good, great playmakers out there but u can’t find a goally of Givens standard any day mate.

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:18 PM

    Comment #19

    Shay, in my oppinion is the best keeper in the Premiership, if not Europe, I hate this Cech is the best thing, he most be if he plays for Chelsea he’s never anything to do. Anyway. Given is better then Harper. Harper knows it, we know it, everyone knows that and surely so does Sam. Now rewarding loyalty should only go so far. Why have a better keeper on the bench just cause the other ones done nothing wrong, well if there’s a better player there, then tough, but that’s football. I’m sorry like, he mightn’t do anything wrong, and he might deserve to play like but the truth is if Given’s better, which he is, then Given should play.

    I don’t think it’s as simple as form and fitness. It could be a number of things, a lot of ye here think that Sam is the next big thing, that he’s going to do great things for the matter what. Ye think that he’s this innocent, squeaky clean guy, who always has the club and players best interests at heart. Given mostn’t be playing because he doesn’t want to risk I don’t believe that either, like if he’s fit he’s fit. Again though I don’t think it’s that simple.

    I think that there’s a rift between them, and some other players in the club. I think that it could be that maybe he doesn’t like Given, or maybe Nightfall has a point. Looking at yere selection for keepers in England, it isn’t great and some people are calling for Owen to come back and Harper to be in goals. I think that Martins is better then Owen and I know that Given is better the Harper. So trying to explain why they were on the bench like is a bit to much of a coincidence.

    I think that Sam is too obbsesed with the apperance of the clubs, the strikers, all he ever talks about is Owen this, Owen that. Personally I think that Owen’s past it, is overated and given special treatment. Like I said why leave the better players on the bench. It’s all about portraying the club. That and everyones talking about foreign players and the lack of English players in the premiership. England is struggling at the moment. And maybe now they want to make an impact, maybe it is pressure from the FA whatever it is. It’s pollitics and it’s unfair for the other players to get caught up in it.

    If players on the bench are better then the players on the pitch..then somethings wrong.

    I don’t like Sam, I think that there is a divide in the club I don’t think some of the players are happy with him I don’t think that he likes some of the players. I think that amongst many things he wants to make his mark, show that he is in charge and not playing someone like Given could be to proove a point. Now Given isn’t a premodanna, he’s a sound, loyal, hardworking player, the other players respect him, he’s a big influence. Maybe Sam isn’t happy about that.

    MAybe it is just Sam being concerened for Given and not wanting to push him back into it. I don’t know. Maybe I am reading way too much into this. But I don’t think so. Something isn’t right.

    Not what will happen is, watch, just watch, it all depends on 2 things, how far the media take this, like it’s one thing if they drop it and there’s another controversey tomorow, but if they keep pushing it. Sam might crack under the pressure and play Given. Or he could hold firm and be even more big headed. And it also depends on the Irish games, we’ve 2 big games ahead of us and we need to win both, if Given plays a blinder for either or both then he’ll be back in, if he doesn’t have much to do, and if the media drop it he wont be.

    That’s how I look at it anyway. All this is guess work like, there alot of rumurs, different versions of the truth. I could be completley wrong here like but something isn’t right.

  • Kevin

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #20

    Andy –
    Why would you want to “cash in” on a world class player when he’s still effective? I’ve got news for you m8- we’re pushing for a Champion’s League spot, not trying to rebuild a struggling team. We need the best players we’ve got, and Shay’s tops.
    And anyone who says Harper’s just as good as Shay must have been blinking EACH AND EVERY TIME he’s punched a ball away when he could have caught it. That is INFURIATING.

  • Graeme

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:22 PM

    Comment #21

    How can you possibly condone even thinking about selling Given??? Sheer stupidity. He has saved us so many times, its frightening. We would have been relegated without him – its as simple as that.

    He is our Number One keeper; always has been, always will be.

    His ability is without question; his positional play, his vision are superb. Long may he be seen between the sticks for NUFC!!!!!

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:24 PM

    Comment #22

    Darren..I do think that Sam prefers Harper, he prefers a big physical presence in the box and like Given is a legend, an amazing keeper but he, in goalkeeping standards is small. It’s no secret that he preffers Harper who’s a “diamond” according to Sam, now if a keeper as good as Given isn’t getting regular games then he should walk. Why should he stay.

  • ChrisL

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:25 PM

    Comment #23

    It’s just a period of adaption for a player that is used to being the 1st name on the team sheet as long as he’s half fit.

    It would be nice for Harper to get more games, looking at his international rivals, you never know… He could be the man to rescue England between the sticks!

  • Tripp

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:39 PM

    Comment #24

    Given the number of times Given (unfortunate name, it is) was injured last season and now this, I think it makes perfect sense to rest him. The groin injuries need to become a thing of the past. Putting him back ‘tween the sticks everytime he looks like he’s fixed means he just re-injures the bloody thing. That’s exactly what happened last season under Roeder. Shay wasn’t the only one victimized by that either. NUFC is blessed with two excellent keepers. They were consistently good all last season. Save for the constant injuries they were the only dependable lot last season.

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:50 PM

    Comment #25

    Andy..see you proove my point right. If a vote was taken on who you’d rather have in the club Given or Owen then you would be one of the ones who would vote for Owen to stay. A real fan eh. You are delusional if you think that Harper is better then Given. You are just how I think Sam is like and some Newcastle fans who only care about strikers, well it doesn’t matter how many goals you score if ye keep leaking goals.

    One word to describe you as a Newcastle fan is pathetic. Every Newcastle fan, even if they say they don’t takes Given for granted. It’s no coincidence that ye finished really low last year, Given was out for the majority of the last season and when he was playing, half the time he wasn’t fit. The games in between, when he was fully fit he did really well, like against Arsenal.

    Now why is it that Newcastle finished lower then ever, just a coincidence, right??

  • WelshWizard

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:54 PM

    Comment #26


    we finished lower than ever last season because Owen was injured….lol……

  • WelshWizard

    Sep 5, 2007 at 9:58 PM

    Comment #27

    No, but seriously tho, last season we were ripped apart by injuries throughout the whole squad, not just Given, and on top of that we were managed by a poor manager who constantly made wrong team selections and tactics……

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:11 PM

    Comment #28

    Welsh Wizard..

    I’m going to take what you said about Owen to be a joke.

    Ya other were injured but that’s never mattered before, aload of injuries and bad defending never really mattered before because half the time the team would play worse with a full team, it never mattered before cause Given was there.

    The same manager who was everyones saviour 2 years ago. He did the best he could in the circumstances.

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:12 PM

    Comment #29

    (Un)Fortunately, no player is bigger than the game so if he wants to leave or his unhappy after speaking to Sam about his future then he should go. Having him around in that mental state could have a divisive influence on nufc.

    Having said that, Shay is still better than Harper. I doubt Sam is that stupid to think that nufc fans would believe otherwise. Shay is an icon. Maybe he was being rested a game and is back against Derby or he’s starts from the bench. One thing’s for sure, if he doesn’t play against Derby, there’d better be a damn good explanation for that.

  • Keep Oba

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:13 PM

    Comment #30

    English teams dont put enough emphasis on keepers…that Gordon kid at 9mil broke the record. I like having both Shay and Harper. Shay is first, but give Harper some games and all will be fine. And if one gets hurt you still have the other. I dont see much of a problem here.

  • JoshI

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:37 PM

    Comment #31

    Harper = Good…… Given = Great……. as it has been said, Shay is a figurehead and the best shot stopper the world has ever seen!

  • Rich

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:38 PM

    Comment #32

    I cant believe some people think we should sell Shay, i really cannot believe their are NUFC fans out their who dont rate Shay… im shocked.

    Again, i believe without Shay we would be in the championship just now, people above say Given & Harper are equals but does no one remember that terrible own goal last season?? bramble passes it back to Harper, Haper tries to kick it, kicks air and balls in the back of the net, ive NEVER, EVER seen Shay do anything like that. Dont get me wrong i like Harper but Shay is one of the best gaolies in the world.

    Shay is as much a Toon legend as Alan Shearer IMO.

  • JoshI

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:45 PM

    Comment #33

    I think it was actually 1 person who thought we should sell him. I love the way even if it was someone elses mistake bramble is always mentioned lol

  • JoshI

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:50 PM

    Comment #34

    Does anyone think Barton will play against Derby or West Ham? or will he be rested?

  • Andy T

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:56 PM

    Comment #35

    Sinead – not sure exactly which planet you are on regarding Big Sam, rifts in the squad and only talking about strikers.
    He was forced to talk a lot about strikers because of the release clauses in Martins & Owens contracts. If you look at his actions, he has ofloaded two striker/midfielders in the form of Luque and Sibierski and replaced them with Smith and Viduka, – a good deal in my view because we were lacking depth when it came to tall, strong centre forwards and smith plays the advanced midfield role much better than either. In addition he has let go 4 midfielders who didn’t want to be here and replaced them with 3 who did – the four let go were 2 defensive and 2 atacking (Parker, Solano O’Brian and Dyer) and replaced them with 2 defensive and one atacking in the shape of Barton, Geremi and Faye. In the defense he has let all but one of the central defenders go and brought in a new crop while also moving a naturally atacking midfielder back into the defense. Alongside Rozenhal and Cacapa, Beye and Faye can also play center back, and Taylor is there as well Ramage is also a center back by preference, but the last choice behind those already mentioned. With Beye, Taylor, Ramage and Carr competing for the right back position (or at least when fit) and Babayaro, N’Zogbia and Enrique fighting over the left back position Sam has revolutionised our defense. So I really dont care what he is accused of talking about – his actions for me speak far louder. But what makes me laugh is that was pretty much what he said he was going to do from day 1! As for unhappy players and rifts – every manager has their player ding dongs, its how professionaly they manage it and how the players perform afterwards that really matters. Keegan managed to piss off John Beresford and Lee Clark. Guillet had Shearer which cost him his Job. Dalgliesh pissed off everyone Guillet had brought in. SBR had the Dyer incident, Souness the same with Bellamy, Carr and a few others. Roeder unsettled N’Zogbia and O’Brian. What big Sam has brought to Newcastle is serious compotition for places, with no one an automatic on the team sheet. In the short term this might ruffle a few feathers, but while its tougher for each individual player, it is fantastic for the squad, the club and the supporters .

  • gordon

    Sep 5, 2007 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #36

    Didnt shay given put in a transfer request in similar circumstances in 2001 under SBR.Everyone knows shay is a great keeper but his weaknesses at crosses and penalties (which he is useless) is there for everyone to see.No one is infallable at Newcastle United under this regime and so it may continue.

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:08 PM

    Comment #37

    Andy..So what he brought in new players, strengthened the side. I’m not denying that. “Sam has revolutionised our defense”..bull. He did what the last managers didn’t do, bought a couple of good defenders..someone give him a Blue Peter badge, what does he want a gold star?? That’s what a manager is expected to do, it’s what he’s supposed to do and that’s what he did. So what?? So all that’s sorted his main priority now seems to be the strikers. Nearly every other article is him talking about Owen, Martins..etc.

    Yere acting like Sam has done something amazing all he’s done is bought some apparently good defenders. I’m sure strentghing the squad, especially the weakest part of it is in his job description. But ye all act like he’s done something spectacular.

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:09 PM

    Comment #38


    Not many keepers are good at penalties, it’s a guessing game, he’s saved some important penalties for us so I’m not complaining. Under crosses, Given is an amazing keeper but he’s small in goalkeeping terms, of course he’ll be weaker under croses. No ones faultless.

  • gordon

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:16 PM

    Comment #39

    Your last but one comment is absolute garbage,“Sam has revolutionised our defense”..bull bought a couple of good defenders.enrique,rozenhal,cacapa,baye and faye thats 5 at very little money,even the stupidity of souness and roeder couldnt even do that.If you dont like big sam fine but stop talking utter bullshit.

  • Viggo

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:34 PM

    Comment #40

    Big Sam is simply making sure Given stays injury free. Given has been getting injured again and again and having him play two games in three days makes no sense when you’ve got a very good replacement in Harper.

    It makes perfect sense to me.


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