Shay Given says he would never have left Newcastle United had the club shown more “ambition”.
Given reluctantly called time on his 12-year career at St James’s Park midway through the 2009-10 relegation season. The goalkeeper – who made 442 appearances for United – signed for Manchester City.
“I felt it was right time with the way the club was getting run off the field,” said Given, who will be at DW Sports’ new MetroCentre store today.
“Literally, there was just no ambition from the club.
“It was a shame, really. I’d probably have never left the club had they shown the ambition they did under Freddy Shepherd.
“I felt it was just floating along, no direction. Obviously, Man City came along and with their project, which was the opposite. They were showing huge ambition. For me, it was a great opportunity.”
It was a shame, really. I’d probably have never left the club had they shown the ambition they did under Freddy Shepherd.Shay Given
Only three players – Jimmy Lawrence, Frank Hudspeth, Frank Clark – have played more games for United than Given.
“I’m very proud to have played so many games for the club,” said Given. “I’ve got good memories of Newcastle and always will have. It’s where I spent most of my career. It’s a special place.
“I’ve been back there recently signing my book and I’m going back on Friday for the DW Sports shop opening.
“The memories, for me, come flooding back when I cross the bridge, whether it’s on a train or in the car.
“You see the stadium, the heartbeat, in the middle of the city. It’s a fantastic club with the support they have.
“I was doing a book signing before the Watford game. I saw all the fans flooding to the stadium. It was quite amazing.”
Given was mobbed when he returned to Tyneside last month to sign copies of his autobiography Any Given Saturday.
“I suppose I must have made some sort of impression with the fans up there for them to turn up in the hundreds,” said the 41-year-old.
“I’m looking forward to Friday as well. Hopefully, some more fans will turn up to the DW shop at the MetroCentre.
“They genuinely are really nice people and have so much time for you.”
* Shay Given will be at the new DW Sports store at the MetroCentre, Gateshead, from 12.45pm today.
The store, located in the Blue Mall, is the first of DW Sports’ new fitness concept stores, which are designed to make sports shopping more accessible and less intimidating for the ordinary fitness consumer.