Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The prayer for silence goes unanswered

On Monday, the transfer window closed with our gobby Welsh terrier being shown the door, packed off on loan to Parkhead for the rest of the season (more on that to come in the next couple of days).

After the traumas of the previous week, the last couple of days presented a good opportunity for the club to engineer a deft movement out of the intense media spotlight. Stilled tongues and closed mouths were what was required, to allow the healing process to begin after a very public mauling in the press.

And yet, just as the wounds were beginning to scab over, out comes Souness with another attack on Bellamy.

He just couldn't let it lie, could he? Couldn't resist the temptation to laud it over his nemesis, as the one still at the club following their bitter row.

Much as I like Bellamy (as a player, I might add), my sympathies were with Souness. As he's said, he couldn't be seen to waver or back down if he was to keep the players' respect - though it seems questionable whether he's ever had that, and certainly it sounds as though Bellamy wasn't willing to grant it to him from the day he arrived at the club. The bottom line is that Bellamy, as potent an asset as he is on the pitch, is a highly-paid professional contracted to the club and as such cannot be allowed to refuse to play in a certain position.

However, by raking over old coals when it really wasn't necessary, I'm sure Souness will have lost some of the sympathy he had with the Newcastle fans, which was already in short supply. This sort of arrogant crowing and belittling of a player who always gave his all when he appeared on the pitch (though a frequently disruptive presence of it) is unlikely to endear Souness further to those who are already sceptical about his talents as a manager and his ability to get the club back to where it should be.

Most irritating is the precise nature of Souness's jibe - that Bellamy isn't good enough for Newcastle, and that he isn't a frequent enough goalscorer.

Not only do many fans feel it's Souness who's not good enough for the club, it's also very strange to charge the striker with not being prolific enough - true maybe of previous seasons, but given that this term he's looked particularly sharp, finding the net on a number of occasions, it seems odd.

And even more bizarre when you take into account the number of times he was asked by Souness to play out of position wide on the right when, unlike at Highbury, there was no obvious tactical need for it...


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