Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tea and sympathy*

"He's very happy here, he's very comfortable at Newcastle United". Thus quoth JFK of Shay Given last week.

Unequivocal you might think, until the appearance of the following statement from Given's agent Michael Kennedy: "Shay is very despondent following the very poor performance of the team against Liverpool last weekend. It was the lowest point of his football career and a performance that he would not wish to be repeated. When he signed a new five-year contract in 2006 it was on the basis that the club would challenge for major honours, but on the present evidence all that he can see ahead, with the turmoil on and off the pitch, is a battle for survival. Having served the club loyally for over eleven years, Shay feels compelled to consider his position in the light of the interest being expressed in him by Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham."

JFK's response? "I had a long chat with Shay. We had a cup of coffee and had an hour together. He is fine, and he wants to do what is best for this club. He will do the best he possibly can [against Hull]." He also dismissed the rumours of the three clubs interested in tempting Given away from St James's Park as "hearsay".

Somehow I doubt that - it's unimaginable that his recent performances would have escaped the attentions of a club like Man City who need a new top-drawer 'keeper and have the unfathomably deep pockets to get one. We all understand Given's frustrations perfectly well - indeed, it would be refreshing to hear one of our players hurting as much as we are, were it not for the fact that it looks increasingly likely we'll be losing him this month. It's one thing JFK being adamant he wants Given to stay, but if the player himself does want to leave and a suitable offer comes in, we would be wrong to stand in his way.

* Well, "Coffee and sympathy" doesn't work so well...


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