Supporters' fears confirmed as latest fallout could be their last

Last updated : 26 January 2005 By Craig Hope (website editor)

When Graeme Souness was appointed back in September I feared one thing above all else – a fall out with Craig Bellamy and the subsequent sale of the Welshman.

With the first half of my suspicions more than satisfied by mid-October and further compounded by this weekend’s fiasco, how long will it be before the second half of my fears are confirmed and we witness the sale of the fiery forward?

In summary, Bellamy has apparently walked off the training pitch late last week claiming he was injured only to declare himself fit again on Saturday morning, no doubt fearing a similar backlash to that team-mate Kieron Dyer endured after his opening day outburst. But Souness didn’t buy Bellamy’s turnaround and was so left out of yesterday’s encounter at Highbury.

The following quotes have been attributed to the parties involved, Graeme Souness said after the game whilst speaking to Sky Sports,

"We have tried to keep this business behind closed doors, but it seems somebody has spoken out of turn and we can no longer hope to do that.

"There was an incident on Friday in which Craig expressed his displeasure at the position we have asked him to play. He walked out of training on Friday and claimed he was injured, but then said he was fit again on the Saturday.

"The supporters at Newcastle are only interested in 11 players who will give everything to the cause, they are not interested in petulant individuals. They want to see players running their socks off for the cause. We're trying to build a team spirit at Newcastle United.

"There was a meeting between the player, the chairman and myself, but I will not reveal what was said at that meeting. It is a matter we will address in the week. All I will say is that Craig is still contracted to Newcastle United."

Craig Bellamy went onto state,

"I've been reading all the Press and I've been told to do a job for the team and that's what I've tried to do.

"I don't feel I'm doing myself justice in that position, but I try to do as well as I can. Then we get linked with centre-forwards and I'm playing out of position when I want to go up front, which is selfish probably.

"I expressed that to the manager and chairman and they said they weren't getting a forward in and I said okay, `no problem' and we went from there.

"I put my views across because I'm not doing myself justice if I am out of position. I feel for the midfield boys who have to sweep up because I'm so attack-minded. I got left out today and there have been one or two reports, but I am fully fit and I want to play. I've played out of position in 20-odd games this season because I want to play for Newcastle.

"I've tried to keep silent, but it's been a long day for me and it's been a tough one. I walked off the training ground, which I don't want to go into.

"I went to speak to the manager and thought I'd got results. I came in as normal and came here today. I knew I wasn't playing and found out I wasn't even on the bench. I was the only one who wasn't.

"It disappoints me that my integrity is being called into question. I'm training as hard as I can. The fans know that because they see me playing out of position and trying to do my best for the club."

The quotes don’t necessarily contradict the turn of events just each individual’s interpretation of them differs. If Bellamy was frustrated at playing out of position then he could have gone about it in the manner in which he did do minus the training ground walkout and the feigning injury. A meeting with chairman and manager to discuss the problem would have been appropriate.

The supporters do feel Bellamy’s frustration and they, as much as the player himself, want to see him reverted to a forward role – it appears that only Graeme Souness disagrees. But Souness is the boss, disagree with him or not, we have to give him our full support.

This bust up has been coming for a while. Following Southampton’s goal at St.James’ last week and Bellamy’s subsequent reaction (kicking the ground and screaming at colleagues), you could sense that Bellamy’s frustrations went deeper than his anger at Crouch’s goal.

The one difference between the Dyer and Bellamy situation is that, despite both being totally in the wrong, the actual tactical argument attached to Bellamy’s case carries far more weight than that of Dyer’s.

I, despite my anger that he didn’t play because of his petulant ways, believe that there won’t be as big a supporter backlash as that demonstrated towards Kieron Dyer. In the Dyer situation there were a lot of supporters waiting for any excuse to hound him out of the club and he certainly gave them their perfect opportunity.

I hope that Bellamy apologises and is offered forgiveness by manager, chairman, team-mates and fans alike.

The question remains though, if and when Bellamy does indeed apologise, will he be selected in a forward role?

I feel there’s going to be a few more spins of the media merry-go-round before that question becomes an issue.

However, if true, what Bellamy has done is a disgrace – he would have let everyone down. In my defence of him I am not at all condoning what he has done. But I do sincerely hope that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible and that Craig Bellamy (our top goalscorer in the league this season) is reverted to a striker’s position alongside Alan Shearer and we can once again witness the rewards of a partnership that was once heralded as the most effective in the Premiership.