Gullit quits and blames the press

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The Independent Online
RUUD GULLIT resigned as manager of Newcastle United football club yesterday, citing not the poor results that have left the side near the bottom of the Premiership but persistent pressure on his private life, writes Mark Burton.

In an emotional statement he made at the club's St James' Park stadium, Gullit bemoaned his loss of privacy since moving to the North-east to take charge of a club whose supporters exceed the definition of "fanatical". He said: "During the last year I have had reporters, photographers constantly around my home in Newcastle, people following me where I go to eat, go out, go to the cinema, but the worst part is that they have been harassing my family in Holland and that for me was the limit."

In his previous job at Chelsea, the Dutchman had been just another London celebrity but in Newcastle there was no escape.

He said: "The main reason why I came to England four years ago was that I wanted to have my own private life back. The years at Chelsea I enjoyed very much because I really have the feeling that I could be myself again. The feeling of walking along the street minding my own business, being able to shop, being able to go to the cinema, being able to go out, being able to be like anyone else. These things seem very ordinary for someone who doesn't know what it is like to be me. These things are worth more to me than any treasure."

He said he was used to being judged on football matters, and accepted full responsibility for the club's poor start to the season, but he objected to his private life being in the public domain.