Ex-Liverpool and Rangers man Graeme Souness reveals he was ‘put off’ management following Newcastle United spell
After Sir Bobby Robson’s sacking as Newcastle United manager in August 2004, Souness was the man tasked with rerouting a sinking Magpies ship.
Souness took over a winless Newcastle side that had shipped nine goals in just four games - aiming to get them back into contention for an unlikely European place.
Following in the footsteps of Sir Bobby Robson was always set to be a thankless task for whoever was given role and the former Liverpool man believes that his job was made more difficult by a lack of ‘togetherness’ at the club:
Souness told TalkSport: “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.”
Souness also revealed that he didn’t see eye-to-eye with chairman Freddy Shepherd over the signing of Michael Owen.
Owen joined from Real Madrid in the summer of 2005 for a then-club record fee, but the 69-year-old revealed that the England international wasn’t his choice, admitting that he had a deal lined up for former Arsenal and Liverpool man Nicholas Anelka instead.
“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 Fenerbahce at the time.” Souness revealed.
“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.”
Souness’ time as Newcastle manager, from September 2004 to February 2006, saw his side win 36 games, draw 18 and lose 29 in all competitions.