Given – A Goalkeeper For The Ages

We mentioned the new Premier Leagues Creating Chances campaign yesterday when we did our piece on Oba Martins, who was participating for charity at the ASDA site in Gateshead.
Given met some young housebound carers in Newcastle last Monday, as part of the program and it really meant something to him.

Let’s take a look at what Given said.


Shay Given – at Newcastle United for 10 years with 416 appearances

Shay talked about the young household carers he met last week:

“These kids, young carers, their parents are suffering and they’re having to look after them,” “To go and collect them and take them to this place in Rowlands Gill where they get a break, make friends, that matters. They don’t know any different.”

“When I found that out I was like a school kid again, so excited, hearing my name mentioned in the team again. You do miss that.”

Given is expected to play against Everton today and that should be his 417th appearance for Newcastle and there’s only five men have played more games for the club. Given remains as possessive about the No 1 jersey now as he was on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday in 1997, a game we attended. Given went on:

“I remember the game quite well,” “I remember Wednesday’s goal, a Benito Carbone overhead kicked it into the bottom corner. They were pretty decent but we won 2-1 [Faustino Asprilla scored twice]. “

“That was important for me because I was only 21 when Kenny Dalglish brought me to the club and Pav [Pavel Srnicek] was here and Shaka [Hislop] was here. For Kenny to play me in front of those two, who had a lot more experience, that gave me a big boost.”

Shay has just regained the number one slot from pal Steve Harper and is clear he will have to continue to fight for his place and there has been talk from Jussi Jaaskelainem’s agent that Jussi would love to rejoin Big Sam at Newcastle.

“I am sure there are a lot of goalkeepers’ agents who would like their player to come to Newcastle,” “But Jaaskelainen’s contract is up in the summer and with knowing Sam Allardyce from Bolton, people will put two and two together.”

“I don’t know what the manager’s thinking. I go out and play for Newcastle as best I can and I hope I’ve proved I’m decent at what I do.”

Since the new manager took over in mid May, Given has been impressed by Allardyce’s passion for sports science and new techniques such as the wearing of heart monitors during training. Big Sam is overhauling the way Newcastle players train and how they are treated for injuries to ensure there are minimal re-occurrences of the same old injuries. Given went on:

“But it’s still about the football. What he’s doing is trying to give us as best a chance as he can to win games.”

Mike Ashley is now the owner of Newcastle United and we expect him to be at today’s game against Everton. The first team squad has been introduced to Ashley but there has been no further involvement yet from him with the players.

“Man United won the League and went and spent £80M. Where does that put Newcastle, who finished 13th? It will take time but having Mike Ashley with his financial power means we should be going in the right direction. Hopefully, the only way is up.”

We would say that West Ham also spent an awful lot of money during the summer but it has yet to do much for them – there’s still time of course. Where Newcastle are now, it’s not necessarily about just going out and spending huge money on players. We think Sam can add well to his squad in January and then summer will be the time to bring even more talent to the club that will need some of Mike’s money. But Ashley has already indicated there will be money available.

Shay will celebrate his decade at Newcastle United tomorrow night as St James’ Park hosts a cookery evening complete with celebrity chefs and snooker star, Dennis Taylor. It is a rather unique way to recognize Given’s contribution and a different way of fund-raising for Macmillan Cancer. As we’ve mentioned before Given does great work for charity, particularly Macmillan Cancer. When Shay was a youngster he lost his mother to cancer.

There will be a review of Given’s 10 years since Kenny Dalglish brought him to Tyneside for £1.5M from Blackburn Rovers. That’s got to be one of the best buys ever at Newcastle. The money raised will go to the Macmillan Cancer charity. Shay has been great for Newcastle over the last 10 years and he’s certainly the best goalkeeper ever to represent the club. He’s got 416 appearances for the club and we think there’s a lot more of them in his future at Newcastle.

Comments very welcome.

4 comments so far

  • john stewart

    Oct 7, 2007 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #1

    shay a true legend f*&k pav “given is a geordie lalalala given is a geordie lalalala !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • big pea ov the weab

    Oct 7, 2007 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #2

    theres a peice in bullshit ov the world to day about mike ashley selling up

  • leo

    Oct 7, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #3

    where did you read this???? hope it aint true

    was it all a political move by wearing the shirt??? i wonder

  • John

    Oct 8, 2007 at 7:51 AM

    Comment #4

    It’s testament to Shay that apart from his ability, he is also a great ambassador for the game.

    Definitely one of the best that ever did it.


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