Graeme Souness is at it yet again.
Arguably the worst ever Newcastle United manager in living memory, certainly the one who did the most damage at St James Park, dismantling Sir Bobby’s team and forcing out some great players, replacing them with a fortune wasted on the likes of Owen, Luque and Boumsong.
Newcastle fans despise Graeme Souness, Graeme Souness despises Newcastle fans.
Yet despite this and the fact it is 16 years since his disastrous 18 months spell at St James Park ended, he is still put up as a ‘Newcastle’ pundit, somebody with a supposed inner knowledge and connection with NUFC, by implication some kind of lasting affection for the club.
Other fans get club legends / heroes talking about them in the media, we get Graeme Souness.
Now he has joined Talksport and has used Newcastle United to make headlines for himself.
As usual, putting up embarrassing excuses as to why it supposedly wasn’t his fault, when it came to the absolute shambles that was his time at St James’ Park.
Graeme Souness speaking to Talksport – 8 August 2022:
“It (Newcastle United) is a difficult job.
“I had eight jobs at some very big football clubs, but [at Newcastle] I felt that people weren’t rowing in the same direction.
“I didn’t feel any togetherness up there from day one. Not from the minute that I walked into the place, but the feeling around the place is that there’s an expectation from the supporters, quite rightly so, but it had to be a case where you were going to build it.
“If you look at the managers who had that job prior to me, some proper managers, the last time that they won a trophy was in 1968. That’s over 50 years ago.
“They’ve had issues up there.”
Responding to Jim White’s comment that he stood side by side with Shepherd when they unveiled Owen, Graeme Souness said:
“What did you want me to do?
“He (Freddy Shepherd) had chosen Michael Owen, so what did you want me to do?
“The story of Michael Owen, who wouldn’t want Michael Owen? He’s a bit-part player at Real Madrid. I wanted Nicolas Anelka who was at Fenarbahce at the time.
“I’d met his representatives and he was all for coming, but he wasn’t acceptable for Freddy Shepherd, he didn’t want him.
“That wasn’t the only time that happened there.
“The fact that I never worked again tells you how much that job put me off being a manager.
“Listen, I’m a big boy. I’ve had lots of criticism and I used to enjoy it when I was a player. If people weren’t booing me I felt that I wasn’t doing my job properly.
“Up there I found it very, very difficult to feel like a part of it.
“I can take as much stick as you want to give me, that’s not a problem. It just wasn’t a job I enjoyed.
“After that I just knew that I didn’t want to be answerable to kind of people who are running football clubs, and answerable to the kind of people who I wouldn’t want to have a cup of tea with.”
Graeme Souness always has excuses when it comes to the terrible mess he made of the Newcastle United job but to be fair, Souness found every (*Yes he had success in Scotland but Rangers were spending very unrealistic fortunes back then, bringing in current England internationals to play against the Scottish pub teams) job difficult.
At Newcastle, Graeme Souness took Sir Bobby’s team that finished 4th, 3rd and 5th, to then end up 14th in 2002/05 after coming in after four games of the season, then was sacked the following season in February 2006 after a run of six games gave five defeats and a draw. With the same players, Glenn Roeder with Alan Shearer assisting then went on a run of 10 PL wins and two draws in the final 15 games, only three defeats.
This wasn’t a one-off though, Graeme Souness was rubbish as a Premier League manager whichever club he went to.
First up was Liverpool, the club where he had excelled as a player.
The Scousers had finished 1st, 2nd, 1st and 2nd, then Graeme Souness in his two full seasons followed those with 6th and 6th in 1991/92 and 1992/93, then resigned in January 1994 before he could be sacked.
Souness next managed in England at Southampton, his one season there saw the Saints battling relegation and ending up 16th in 1996/97.
The next Premier League job was at Blackburn, where he oversaw finishes of 10th, 6th and 15th.
Starting the 2004/05 season with two defeats and two draws after that really poor 15th place finish, it was heavily rumoured that Blackburn were going to sack him. Only for Hall and Shepherd to make the most disastrous move of their ownership and sack Sir Bobby who had started the season with two draws and two defeats (the same as Souness) after finishes of 4th, 3rd and 5th, replacing him with Graeme Souness AND paying Blackburn compensation to get him!
Newcastle fans will always hate Graeme Souness and the feeling is mutual.
So the media need to stop presenting him as somebody who is anything but a hopeless former manager who will always speak with a forked tongue when discussing Newcastle United.
Conveniently for Graeme Souness, Freddy Shepherd sadly isn’t still around, so can’t defend himself and respond to Souness’ claims.
Are we supposed to believe then that when Graeme Souness did his old club Rangers a massive favour with the disastrous buying of Boumsong for big money, only a few months after the Glasgow club signed him for nothing, that this was also something that was Freddy Shepherd’s fault, nothing to do with Souness?
Did the NUFC hierarchy dictate to Graeme Souness his team selections and tactics as well…?
Same old Graeme Souness, never taking responsibility for the shocking shambles he made of the Newcastle United job.