Football: I would have been finished - it was me or Bellamy, says Souness

GRAEME SOUNESS said yesterday that he would have lost the respect of the Newcastle playing staff and effectively ended his managerial career had he not exiled Craig Bellamy to Celtic following the midfielder's accusation that his manager was a "liar".

"I'm experienced enough in this business to know that if I'd been seen to be weak in this situation there was no future for me with the players in the Newcastle dressing-room or [in] any job that I go [to] after Newcastle United, so I was put in an extremely difficult position," Souness said.

The 25-year-old Bellamy completed a loan move to Parkhead until the end of the season late on Monday night, after rejecting the chance to join Birmingham City in a pounds 6m permanent transfer, and later suggested that he could still have a future on Tyneside.

But Souness, who said last week that Bellamy would never play for Newcastle again as long as he remained in charge, insists nothing will change over the remaining months of the season. "One hundred per cent

I stand by everything I said," the Scot affirmed. "I think I'm like anybody else in this world - there are certain things you can forgive and some things you can forget."

The loan deal means the former Norwich and Coventry striker remains a Newcastle player and could return to St James' Park in May to serve out the remainder of his contract, although Celtic have an option to make the move permanent. That means that the row which reached boiling point when the Welsh international called his manager a liar on live television is not yet closed.

Asked what would happen in the summer, Souness replied: "We'll address it then."

"I've been concentrating on football. We've had a big FA Cup tie to play and we've got a big Premier League game, too. I wasn't directly involved in any of the transfer talk that went on, so I've just been doing my job."

The loss of Bellamy and the contract rebel Olivier Bernard, who has joined Southampton on a short-term contract, has reduced Souness's squad - but he is able to welcome back the midfielder Nicky Butt for the trip to face Manchester City.

Speculation that the 30-year-old could be absent for the rest of the season, with the hamstring injury which has caused him to miss the last 13 games, has proved unfounded. "He's had a good week's training and he's looked very good," Souness said.

Lee Bowyer is also back in contention after a groin strain, while the pounds 8m defender Jean-Alain Boumsong could return from a hamstring problem at the weekend, if not tonight.

The City manager Kevin Keegan was sympathetic towards Souness, his former Liverpool team-mate. "It is more difficult to be a football manager now than it has ever been," said the former Newcastle manager. "The players are wealthy young men in their own right and they have a lot of power. Clubs don't sell them; agents and the players themselves do that. It is a lot different to the sport Pele described as `the beautiful game', but that is the reality of the situation and you have to react to it.

"Graeme has not had an easy week or two because of problems with a certain player but he has acted in a manner he feels is appropriate for the benefit of Newcastle United. He has been decisive and sent a message out, so from that point of view it has been good management. Sometimes you have to forsake a good player to get the best out of others."

The same observation could be levelled at the departure of Nicolas Anelka, a striker of undoubted talent - he returned almost a goal every other game for City - but who remained aloof from most of his team-mates. Keegan refused to draw the parallel, insisting Anelka, signed for pounds 13m and sold for pounds 7m to the Turkish side Fenerbahce, had to go because of "financial reasons".

"We did have someone lined up to come in but it depended on Nicolas going out, which wasn't certain until midday yesterday when the window was virtually shut," Keegan said. "That was a slight disappointment but as far as Nicolas is concerned, I wish him all the best. It was a financial decision more than anything and there is nothing more to be said.

"People will write their articles but as far as I am concerned, that era is gone now and we just have to get on with life.

"It would be easy for people to look at this club and say, `You just lost a top player so you can't be going forward', but that is something I do not accept.

"We have proved here that we can do without him on numerous occasions in the past, now we have to keep doing it," Keegan added.

The new arrival Kiki Musampa will go straight into the City side. The loan signing will take over from Antoine Sibierski on the left of midfield.

Sibierski missed training yesterday with a virus but should be fit, although he may have to content himself with a place on the bench.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?