Shay Given, our great Irish goalkeeper makes his 451st appearance for the club on Saturday and he talked yesterday of his chances of overtaking Jimmy Lawrence, who was born February 16, 1885 in Glasgow, and played for Newcastle United 496 times between 1904-1921.
Shay Given – practicing for Ireland last year
Shay said yesterday:
“I don’t look at it too much. I made my 450th appearance against Aston Villa, but I didn’t know that before the game.” “I always just look to the next game, given the injuries I’ve had in the last couple of years.”
“You’re one challenge away from never playing again, so I don’t like to look too far ahead.” “I’d love to get it, but if I don’t, then so be it. You just do your best for the club, and see where that takes you.”
Given was a Kenny Dalglish signing back in the summer of 1997, and we were at his debut at St. James’ Park against Sheffield Wednesday in August of that year, when we won 2-1, with two goals from Faustino Asprilla.
We paid just £1.5M for the Irishman, when we got him from Blackburn Rovers, in the summer of 1997, and his performances so far this season suggest that he has returned as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. He has twice been voted the best goalkeeper in the Premier league by his fellow players.
The 3 players still above Shay in the number of appearances for Newcastle are:
Jimmy Lawrence (1904-22) – 496
Frank Hudspeth (1910-29) – 472
Frank Clark (1962-75) – 457
Frank Clark of course played in our 1969 Fairs Cup win, when Bobby Moncur captained the side.
Given wants to stay at Newcastle United and finally win that trophy for our faithful fans, and he said yesterday:
“A lot of players’ loyalties towards their clubs gets questioned, but I’ve been very happy from day one at this club.” “I just want to get the club back moving forward again.”
“The fans, and the whole place, deserves to be back challenging again with the big boys at the top. We’re a bit off that, and we need to get back there.”
Given is scheduled to make his 91st appearance for Ireland in next Wednesday’s friendly with Poland at Croke Park in Dublin. This will make Shay, Ireland’s joint third most-capped player, along with current Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn.
Former Sunderland winger Kevin Kilbane will make his 92nd appearance if he gets a game next Wednesday, and Steve Staunton has the current record with 102 matches for Ireland to his name.
Given is a real professional and a terrific role model for the kids, and all he wants to do for the next few years is continue playing for Ireland and Newcastle United, and we can even see Shay getting better, if anything, in the future.
He’s been a wonderful servant to the Newcastle United club.