Souness: Newcastle soured my experience of management

Graeme Souness
Graeme Souness
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GRAEME Souness says his ‘sour’ experience at Newcastle United put him off football management for good.

The Scot took over the St James’s Park hotseat in 2004 after Sir Bobby Robson was sacked.

Souness left Blackburn Rovers because he felt he was the man to end Newcastle’s 50-year wait for a trophy, but lasted just 18 months in the job before being sacked himself.

And he says he would still be in management now if it wasn’t for his time on Tyneside.

“I definitely regret leaving,” he said when talking about his spell at Blackburn, where he won the League Cup.

“I had four of my happiest years in management at Blackburn, and I do think now it was a mistake to leave.

“Newcastle had gone almost 50 years without winning a major trophy in England, and like many people before me, and after me, I thought I could be the one who could win that trophy.

“I had won 11 trophies in three countries, and 25 trophies in my career as a player and a manager, and I thought I could be the man to do it.

“But if I hadn’t left Blackburn then, I would probably still be in management now.

“My time at Newcastle soured my experience of management.”

Souness’s abrasive style of management didn’t go down well at Newcastle, and he fell out with a number of players, including Craig Bellamy, while a number of his signings, including Jean-Alain Boumsong (£8m) and Albert Luque (£10m) are regarded as among the worst in the club’s history.

And despite reaching a UEFA Cup quarter-final and FA Cup semi-final in his first season, he was relinquished of his duties by chairman Freddy Shepherd in February, 2006

Souness never managed a team again, and criticised Shepherd for his lack of support compared to that he received from Blackburn chief executive John Williams.

“I enjoyed working with John, with Tom Finn and the chairman at the time, Robert Coar,” he added.

“That’s not always the case at clubs – certainly it wasn’t at my next club.”