St James' Park getting it together??
The rise and fall in the UEFA Cup, the well-publicised on-pitch bust-up between Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer against Aston Villa, the sale of Aaron Hughes to Aston Villa, Andy O'Brien to Portsmouth, the yet-to-be-decided leave of Bowyer to anywhere, much less Birmingham, the signing of Scott Parker, Belozoglu Emre from Inter Milan, Craig Bellamy practically in limbo as he surely must be feeling the pressures of his actions. You can add to this Charles N'Zogbia is in Switerzland at the Court of Arbitration in Sport with Newcastle officials, contesting the case by French club Le Havre that the player should be returned to them for two seasons, and Newcastle seem to endure something of a see-saw ride of club affairs.
Now, looking to get up and get on with improving and strengthening the resolve and preparations at the club for 2005-2006, the prodigal son Lauren Robert, due to go shortly to Portsmouth, speaks out TWICE in a week against manager Graeme Souness and about another Newcastle player, Jermaine Jenas. The fans must be thinking 'when is all this nonsense finally going to end so that this club can get back to focus?'
Robert must have heavily misinformed that becoming a former player meant he was temporarily not under Newcastle's authority for them to act against him, otherwise I cannot surmise why he would speak out as he has. OK, he officially is a Portsmouth player when July arrives, so why not have waited then to voice his opinion and avoid Newcastle taking action? Probably because he is paid well enough to speak publicly that such a fee covers the two week's fine, or the fine is immaterial in comparison to shaming Newcastle United FC. I just feel that these matters need to be dealt with behind closed doors. Robert could not be contained by Newcastle but their reaction, via chairman Freddy Shepherd, simply rebounds back to ignite Robert further.
With Bellamy kepted in limbo, as Celtic have been told he must go completely as another loan deal is out of the question, and possibly, or probably, resigned to training with the youths, Bowyer given the green light to seek another club, and Robert due out by Friday, perhaps Newcastle can very soon channel all attention and efforts positively for the upcoming season. With Bellamy, who is quoted saying that he will never get to sign for a better club than Newcastle, Souness won't renege on his word the Welshman will never play for the club again. With such a stance, Shepherd is behind the Scotsman all the way. So until a club bids for him and signs him, Bellamy seems certain to languish at the club until the end of his contract.
Robert claims Souness achieved nothing at his previous clubs and took Blackburn to the brink of relegation. Mark Hughes has brought a new zest to Ewood Park that saved them from the drop. I recall Liverpool having a now renowned change of fortune when Souness arrived there too. That doesn't mean Souness is due, therefore, to drag Newcastle down the table, and I hope he revives the club this season to the brink of some success, at least for Alan Shearer to retire on. But I sense this season will be one which the chairman wants to see a vast, vast improvement. Or there could be more publicly addressed resentment from other Newcastle players.