Newcastle United bargain transfer from Manchester United ‘too good to turn down’

Former Newcastle United defender Danny Simpson has reflected on his time at St James’ Park and the unfortunate circumstances of his departure in 2013.

After joining from Manchester United on an initial loan deal, Simpson made 116 appearances for Newcastle between 2009 and 2013, playing a key role in the 2009-10 Championship winning season and the 2011-12 fifth place Premier League campaign.

Speaking on the Undr the Cosh podcast, Simpson admitted the chance to join Newcastle was ‘too good to turn down’.

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“I got the chance to go to Newcastle, I went on loan and it was too good to turn down," he said.

Newcastle United's English defender Danny Simpson (L) vies with Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England on November 26, 2011. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLISNewcastle United's English defender Danny Simpson (L) vies with Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England on November 26, 2011. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS
Newcastle United's English defender Danny Simpson (L) vies with Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England on November 26, 2011. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS

“It gets to the point where I was like 'I want to have a career here,' I know [Manchester] United is my love but you can cling on too long at times.

"If I didn't take that option [to join Newcastle permanently] in January, I could have gone back to United and they could have signed someone else. It was a massive club to play for. I'd just turned 22.”

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Danny Drinkwater and Danny Simpson of Leicester City poses with the Premier League Trophy as players and staffs celebrate the season champion after the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Danny Drinkwater and Danny Simpson of Leicester City poses with the Premier League Trophy as players and staffs celebrate the season champion after the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Danny Drinkwater and Danny Simpson of Leicester City poses with the Premier League Trophy as players and staffs celebrate the season champion after the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Newcastle ‘drinking culture’

Simpson reflected fondly on his time at Newcastle and the city itself.

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"It was a good squad, Andy Carroll, I knew Nicky Butt, Alan Smith, Kev Nolan, it was a good little group of lads who would all have a drink,” added the 36-year-old.

"I watched that drinking culture and I was part of it before it started to change. You see older experienced players drinking and training and I got involved.

“We were out twice a week, we were winning as well so you know what it's like up there. If you win the derby, you can go out for a week and don't have to buy a drink. I never lost a derby [at Newcastle] so I didn't have to experience any [stick] in that respect.

"When you're winning and going out and there's a big group, you're flying.”

Alan Pardew's key role at Newcastle United

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Alan Pardew was Newcastle manager for the majority of Simpson's time at the club. Although Pardew has often divided opinion on Tyneside, the former Magpies right-back spoke very highly of his former boss.

“I liked Alan Pardew, I got on with him well,” Simpson continued. “Chris Hughton signed me [for Newcastle] but he left and Pardew came in. To be fair, I got on with him from day one.

“People will say what they want about him but I thought he was good, he had John Carver with him and when I was going through some bad times at one point and I could knock on his door and chat to him.”

Simpson also showed his appreciation to Pardew for his support as he saw out his Newcastle contract at the end of the 2013-14 season.

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"Even when my contract situation was going on which was nothing to do with him, it was Mike Ashley, and he was really understanding and didn't use it against me,” he revealed. “Some managers might not play you because your contract is up but he wasn't like that, he separated the business side and the human side and we had a couple of chats.

"He was great for me. He would have been told [not to play me], it was Derek Llambias [former managing director] and Mike, it was a shame because I love Newcastle and you look what they're doing now.

"When I was there, we finished fifth which was good going, got into Europe, the quarter-final of the Europa League and we had a good run. They're doing it now so I know what it's like up there at the minute because when that team is doing well, the town is buzzing."

Convincing Mike Ashley to offer him an improved contract

Having already played his final game for Newcastle and his contract set to expire, Simpson joined the rest of the squad for an end of season night out. Mike Ashley was in attendance and allegedly offered Simpson an improved deal while under the influence.

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But it was unfortunately too little too late for the defender as he had plans in place to join Queens Park Rangers.

“He's just a ruthless businessman but when you meet him he's all right,” Simpson admitted about Ashley. “At the end of the season, obviously the lads wanted me to stay but I wasn't happy with what had been offered.

"It was our end of season do and [Ashley] was there getting us all shots and that and the lads got him to up his offer!

"I was just like 'this could have happened three months ago!' At this point, things had already pretty much been made up.

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"It took Steven Taylor, Tim Krul and some of the other boys to get into him after a few Jagerbombs and he was like 'take it or leave it, I'll do this'.

"I couldn't take it seriously because after that you all go home and you don't see each other because it's summer holidays. I should have got him a few more Jagers because I didn't want to leave, I loved it up there.

"What a town, going out, winning games, Newcastle is a top night out and the fans, the stadium, it's just sick man.

“I got a better contract to drop down [to the Championship with QPR]. They'd signed [Mathieu] Debuchy at Newcastle so I wasn't going to play anyway so I couldn't turn it down.”

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Simpson went on to enjoy a remarkable post-Newcastle career as he helped QPR return to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs in his only season at the club before joining Leicester City.

After playing a bit-part role as The Foxes remarkably avoided relegation, Simpson was a regular starter as Leicester shocked the footballing world by winning the 2015-16 Premier League title. That same season, Newcastle were relegated back to the Championship.

Simpson is currently a free agent having last played for Bristol City.