Football: Dalglish galled by Ginola's transfer plea

Errant Frenchman adds to woe after loss on Tyneside. Simon Turnbull reports
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The Independent Online
As if losing to the French League leaders was not bad enough, the Toon Army's mutinous legionnaire made sure Kenny Dalglish woke up after his 46th birthday with a strong Gallic kick to his morning-after feeling.

The Newcastle manager could have been excused for wishing Monaco had done him a favour by dropping off David Ginola in the Cote d'Azur on the way home after their 1-0 victory in the Uefa Cup quarter-final first leg tie at St James' Park on Tuesday. Ginola probably wished they had too, and not merely because of the ire that will have been provoked by his most forthright tilt in public at Dalglish, who has picked him just twice in seven matches.

Dalglish will certainly not have been impressed by Ginola's protestation that he was being "mucked about" and by the Frenchman's claim that Matthew Le Tissier said to him after Southampton's victory at St James' Park last Saturday: "We can't understand why you're not playing all the time. Have you stolen his wife or something?"

The toleration threshold of the Newcastle manager will have been stretched to the very limit, though, by subsequent reports that Ginola's personal manager, Jean Francois Larios, has had talks with the Marseille director, Marcel Dib, about the transfer of his client.

A return to his native south of France would undoubtedly suit Ginola, whose father, Rene, has been a lifelong Marseille supporter, and whose homesick wife, Coraline, used to live opposite Marseille's ground. Dalglish, however, is likely to be as displeased by any touting of one of his players as Kevin Keegan was last summer when Ginola's agents attempted to engineer a move to Barcelona.

Keegan became so exasperated by Ginola's fitful form he deemed the 30- year-old surplus to requirements for his last four matches in charge of Newcastle. A parting of the ways now seems inevitable, though it will be on a timescale Dalglish, not his disgruntled player, dictates.

The index finger Shaka Hislop dislocated on Tuesday night is another matter of concern for the Newcastle manager, who faces the prospect of restoring the transfer-listed Pavel Srnicek to goalkeeping duty against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday night.

The least of Dalglish's worries yesterday was the return leg in Monte Carlo, where Newcastle will be looking to win by a two-goal margin away from home for the first time in 17 months.