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Graeme Souness reveals what he thought when he took Newcastle United job before ‘the roof caved in’
Graeme Souness admits he thought he would be the man to end Newcastle United’s trophy drought before ‘the roof caved in’ – and the former Liverpool captain believes it is ‘no coincidence’ that he has not managed since then.
‘Every Newcastle manager since 1969 has thought the same thing: “I’ll be the one to end that wait.”
‘I did, when I took over from Sir Bobby Robson in 2004. I knew the club, having previously lived in the area, and thought I could win something, as I had at Rangers, Liverpool, Galatasaray and Blackburn.
‘Instead, I joined a long list of managers who were unable to do so. Newcastle have gone through almost as many managers as Chelsea in the Premier League era, but at least that policy has brought success at Stamford Bridge.
‘We had also won 1-0 at home to Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of a Uefa Cup quarter-final but, within four days, we lost the second leg and to Man United in Cardiff, and were out of both competitions.
‘We just ran out of players. We were in a healthy position, then the roof caved in and nothing was right after that. I always felt you could be going well but were only one defeat away from everything being questioned.
‘A few years ago on holiday, I met the wife of Freddy Shepherd, the former Newcastle chairman, and reminded her of the first words she said to me when I took over: “So, you’re the lion tamer.”
‘They wanted somebody to control the younger players, who had been disruptive. Given the clubs I’d managed before, in terms of stature and expectation levels, I found Newcastle as difficult as anywhere and it’s no coincidence that I haven’t managed again since I left in 2006.’