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Mystery surrounds Newcastle players’ statement which backed Steve McClaren – stars knew nothing about it

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren

Newcastle United’s players did NOT instigate the statement supposedly issued on their behalf backing Steve McClaren.

A strongly-worded statement, purportedly issued by the players, was published by Sky Sports’ before Saturday’s game against Bournemouth.

The move followed head coach McClaren’s well-publicised row with a journalist on the eve of the match, which United lost 3-1.

McClaren had attempted to discredit a story late last week which claimed senior players were “surprised” that McClaren hadn’t already been sacked given the team’s dire form.

The journalist who wrote the story confronted McClaren about his comments at the end of his TV pre-match Press conference.

The players’ statement, published a couple of hours before the game, talked of leaks of a “negative nature”.

It read: “Newcastle players would like to make clear that reports in some areas of the media suggesting we are surprised that our head coach has not been dismissed are untrue. As a group we aware of the situation we are in and it is our responsibility to change that.

“The players are also aware from articles in newspapers that a person, or persons, connected with the club are giving information to the press of a negative nature.”

The first that many of the players knew about the statement, which was not issued by the club’s in-house PR department, was when it was brought to their attention before the game. However, many have individually backed McClaren in media interviews in recent weeks.