Jermaine Jenas is making something of himself as a pundit and an honest character these days – and he has given an incredible interview in the Mail today where he talks about signing on at Newcastle United as an 18 year-old from Nottingham Forest back in 2002.
It was a club he said he didn´t want to join because it was in the middle of nowhere, but he says everything changed when Bobby Robson called him on the phone as he was travelling by car up to Newcastle.
Bobby Robson with Jermaine Jenas – after Jermaine had just signed
It´s one of the best interviews we have seen about Bobby Robson´s Newcastle back then in 2002 – and it shows just how fantastic Sir Bobby Robson was as a man-manager and a leader of men – and how he could get the very best out of any player he had.
Here it is.
“Forest called me in, said that Newcastle´s £5M bid had been accepted and that there was a car coming in half an hour.“
“On the way up I just kept saying I didn’t want to sign for this club miles away in the middle of nowhere.“
“Then Bobby Robson rang my phone. Watching Italia 90 was when I fell in love with football and to hear Bobby Robson ringing my phone to talk to me was incredible.“
“Newcastle was 100% right for me but it was all because of Bobby. He just understood me, knew what I needed. He just let me play, made me feel like a million dollars.“
“He would pull me before a game and say, “Give me everything you’ve got and then I don’t want to see you ‘til Thursday.”
“So I would run my heart out for him and then head back to Nottingham and see my mum. They made me feel really special. Bobby was like a dad to me and I was lost when he was sacked.“
“My respect for Gary Speed went through the roof as soon as I played with him. I thought he was a grafter, hard to play against, but as soon as I played with him I realised the quality, the timing of the runs, the passing, his left foot, the quality of his strike, his command of midfield.”
“He would protect me, too. Once at Everton I gave a penalty away in the last minute and afterwards Bobby launched in to me. “What the f*** did you do that for son?”
“Gary was straight up. “He never f****** touched him! And did you see the header he won before that? Leave him alone!”
“He had my back from the minute I walked in. And Bobby backed down. If Speedo said it then it must be true, simple as that.“
“It was a team of men, that one, and I don’t think I got close to that again in my career.” “We used to come off the pitch at Newcastle and there would be full-blown fights, shirts off and everything.“
“Incredible people like Craig Bellamy, Alan Shearer. I missed being around players like that. The elements they bring to a team are hard to quantify.“
“You think everyone will be like that and they are not. They were hard and honest. Priceless.“
Those were the days when Newcastle were great!