Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rebellion: lies?

It's not every day that your two 'keepers issue a strongly worded statement in defence of their manager - but that's just what happened today.

Infuriated by the suggestion in the Sun that they were part of a three-man deputation of senior players who paid a visit to Sam Allardyce to voice their discontent (which apparently constitutes a "revolt"), Shay Given and Steve Harper claimed: "The story that has appeared is total and utter nonsense. Sam Allardyce has the full backing and support of every Newcastle United player and we are all working together as one to bring success to the football club".

Those of a particularly cynical persuasion might suggest the statement may have been extracted under duress from the powers-that-be, but even setting that aside, it's clear from Allardyce's own comments that unanimous and unwavering support from the players simply doesn't exist: "When you’re having a bad time there are always elements and factors trying to make a big deal of things. Somebody will have a problem with something or other, whether it’s how you go about the week, wanting to play, or an off-the-field matter. There’s always something a player doesn’t like. Some of it sneaks in the papers. Whoever did it might think it’s making a point, but it will only make me more resilient and stronger. I just find it disappointing it ends up in the paper — but that’s life today".

Washing our dirty linen in public again - we hoped we'd seen the last of that when Fat Fred left.

Allardyce, meanwhile, is sounding increasingly exasperated and aggrieved, resorting to the old "I know best" attitude that spelt the end of the reigns of Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness: "I’m the man who knows what’s right for them and I know it more than they do. That’s why I sit in this chair". For the time being, Sam, yes. I'd love to see you succeed and have to eat my words - but just at the present moment that looks a distant possibility.


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