The 'difficult’ Newcastle United deadline day decision that left Eddie Howe ‘devastated’
Shelvey received a standing ovation at half-time in Newcastle’s 2-1 Carabao Cup semi-final win over Southampton at St James’s Park as he made his way onto the pitch to bid farewell. The 30-year-old was also part of the dressing room celebrations after the match as The Magpies reached their first major final in 24 years.
But with Shelvey failing to start a single Premier League game this season due to injury, he felt the time was right to move on following a transfer approach from Nottingham Forest.
The midfielder made over 200 appearances for Newcastle since joining the club from Swansea City in 2016, but his contract was set to expire in the summer unless he made two more starts before the end of the season which would have triggered a one-year extension.
And upon signing for Nottingham Forest, he admitted it was time for a new challenge as he nears a return to fitness following a calf injury picked up in December.
“Yeah [time for a new challenge],” he told the Forest club website. “It was a difficult one because my kids are settled in Newcastle in school and that so it was a hard decision to make but I felt like I needed a fresh start.
“I loved my time at Newcastle and I'd never ever have a bad word to say about anyone at the club. I have a lot of friends there on and off the pitch that I've made and friendships that I've formed for life.
"But I felt for me personally I needed to get myself away from it and get myself a new challenge and obviously I still feel like I've got many years left in me so I wanted to come away and put my football knowledge and experience to another club.”
Shelvey also wrote an open letter to Newcastle supporters in what will go down as one of the most classy departures from the club in recent memory. The midfielder admitted his time at Newcastle was his ‘most amazing in football’ and he will remain a supporter ‘forever’.
The former England international also took time to address the Newcastle players and staff behind the scenes to say goodbye.
And following Tuesday night’s monumental win, Magpies head coach Eddie Howe provided some more detail.
"He spoke really well," Howe said after the match. "I was really pleased to see him speak in the way that he did, expressing his thanks to everybody in the room and just looking back at his journey with the club.
"He's been an incredible servant for the football club over many years. In dark times as well for the club, he has always stood up and given his best for the club.
"I can't speak highly enough of him as a player and as a person, and we're devastated to lose him."