Sir Bobby plays down unrest rumours

Last updated : 02 September 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Remarkably the same journalist who brought us the exclusive on Monday that there had been a dispute between the players and manager about who should partner Alan Shearer against Birmingham City (without offering any evidence to back up his claims), has now chosen to print an interview in which Sir Bobby denies that the players have any say in selection.

He told the Evening Chronicle: "I have never asked any player for his opinion on team selection.

"I want no part of that. It's simply not on my agenda.

"I get paid for managing Newcastle United and that's what I do to the best of my ability.

"Sometimes I bounce ideas off my staff, like coaches John Carver and David Geddis, but at the end of the day I always make my own mind up.

"It would not be fair of me to burden my coaches with things like team selection. And I live and stand by my decisions as I have always done."

And of stories about a revolt by the England players at the 1990 World Cup, he added: "It all revolved around Mark Wright being moved to sweeper as we switched from a flat back four.

"There were suggestions in the papers that the players had been responsible for all this but it wasn't true and I was spitting blood.

"And, as far the Newcastle United players are concerned, they are too professional to get involved with anything like this."

I’m sure you’ve all come to expect anti-northern bias in the national media, but it would be nice if the local papers could use both a consistent and supportive approach to the team.