Bellamy row a dangerous diversion, says Souness

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Graeme Souness has ordered Craig Bellamy to keep his counsel after the striker aimed a volley of abuse at the Newcastle United manager during the match against Charlton Athletic at the weekend.

Graeme Souness has ordered Craig Bellamy to keep his counsel after the striker aimed a volley of abuse at the Newcastle United manager during the match against Charlton Athletic at the weekend.

The Scot has reviewed the Welshman's reaction after he was substituted during the 1-1 draw at The Valley on Sunday. And while the outspoken 25-year-old was the man firmly in the manager's sights, Souness has left the rest of his squad in no doubt as to what is required of them all as he attempts to bring the Tyneside club the success they have craved for so long.

Bellamy will feel the former Blackburn manager's wrath as he attempts to stamp out any dissent within the camp and focus fully on tomorrow night's Uefa Cup group stage opening tie against Panionios in Athens.

"I'm angry about it and the reason I'm angry about it is because we're talking about it," Souness said. "Instead of talking about how gritty and determined we were to get a point on Sunday, instead of talking about how good a goal Craig Bellamy scored, we're talking about him for the wrong reasons, and that has caused us to take our eye off the ball.

"Headlines today in the newspaper, headlines yesterday in the newspaper ... I'm a big boy, I've been called a lot worse in the past than he called me, I'll be called a lot worse in the future. But it's a fact that that is not helpful for us preparing for football matches - people going out and getting into trouble with the police, people getting their name in the newspaper for the wrong things don't help us achieve what we want to achieve, and that is to be successful here, to try to win something here, so it's going to be addressed."

Souness arrived at St James' Park last month playing down speculation that he would attack any sign of indiscipline in a dressing-room which had grown increasingly unruly. However, he has admitted he knew there was work to be done and he will waste little time in bringing his influence to bear as he builds for the future.

"It can't go on," he said. "From a football person on the outside looking at this football club before I came here, that was a very obvious problem here, that too many non-footballing stories appeared in the newspapers here. That's got to change. It doesn't happen at Manchester United, certainly not with the regularity it happens here; it doesn't happen at Arsenal; it doesn't happen at teams who win things."

Bellamy insisted after Sunday's game he was determined to continue to give his best for the Magpies for the remainder of his contract and that there was no rift with Souness, even though he has repeatedly been played out of position. But ill-judged comments in the heat of the moment have landed Bellamy in hot water in the recent past.

"I don't want a showdown - what do I want a showdown for?" he said. "I'm at a great club. I've got two-and-a-half years left and I want to spend those two-and-a-half years here. That's my whole aim in football."

Bellamy and his team-mates flew from Tyneside yesterday. Hamstring victims Patrick Kluivert and Kieron Dyer were both left at home to continue their recoveries.

Comments