888sport have had an exclusive interview with former Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given and there’s some interesting reading in their report.
Shay thinks it’s absolutely crucial for the club’s future that Rafa Benitez be signed up soon on a long-term deal and kept on Tyneside.
Shay, of course, played under Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle when we were in the Champions League and finished 4th, 3rd and 5th top of the Premier League in Bobby’s last three seasons.
That’s before he was fired by Freddy Shepherd for signing outside the top four.
Shay Given – while playing for Newcastle; 1997-2009
How things have changed.
Here’s Shay Given, speaking exclusively to 888sport and talking about the Newcastle manager:
“Rafa Benitez’s is one of world’s top managers and I’m concerned Newcastle will lose him in summer.”
“It’s massive. He brings so much to the football club and he’s a big presence with the city, not just Newcastle United.”
“He’s got a wealth of knowledge and experience and he’s in that top bracket of managers.”
“He could go to most jobs in Europe and he’s quite sought after and that’s my concern – can they keep him this summer?”
“That will come down to the owner and his support but we don’t want to lose him.”
“It’s a little bit like last summer.” “Newcastle will be needing funds to improve the squad and that’s something Rafa has been calling for a while now.”
“Unless he gets the funds it will be a repeat of last year. He had to wheel and deal but he needs to be backed, the same as every manager.”
“It is very difficult though to compete now because fees are going through the roof.”
Not sure why it’s taking so long to reach some overall agreement with Rafa – it would be great if the hierarchy can do that by Sunday – and maybe announce it at the game against Chelsea.
Shay Given played a massive 462 games for Newcastle United and is arguably the best keeper we have ever had.
Read the full 888sport interview with Shay Given, including his thoughts on Shelvey and Lascelle’s chances of featuring for England at the World Cup.