Newcastle United

Newcastle United: Souness claims ex-player Craig Bellamy was sold because he ‘refused to play’

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Ex-Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness has revealed he sold former Toon striker Craig Bellamy for refusing to play for the club when fit.

That’s what Souness had recently told TalkSport when he addressed the question of whether or not he kicked the Welshman out of the club.

The majority of Bellamy’s goals across his career came when he played for the Magpies. It was arguably the peak of his career, as he won the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2002.

So there’s no doubt he had all the ability, as Souness even stated this himself. He also claimed Bellamy was someone who wanted to reach the next level whilst playing under him.

He stated: “He refused to play when he was fit.

“He was a young man who forever talked about going to the next level, always wanted to improve – in that respect, he was a genuine real deal player.

“He chose not to play one day, I went and took him to the chairman immediately and I said, ‘look, we’ve got a player who says he’s not willing to play and he’s fit’, and I asked him to repeat it in front of Freddy Shepherd and he did so. It was a joint decision from the board and me that he should leave the football club.”

TIF Thoughts on Souness’ comments…

Whilst Souness’ time on Tyneside wasn’t exactly a success, leading to his sacking in 2006, it sounds as though he made the right call in coming to an agreement with the Newcastle board to sell Bellamy.

When a player decides he doesn’t want to play for you and is able to, that shows their time is up. Whilst Bellamy had the potential to go far, that’s not the right attitude to have.

The Wales international did have some memorable moments with the Magpies. One that stands out came in the Champions League group stages against Feyenoord, where he bagged a brace in a 3-2 away win, including a last-minute winner. The victory meant Newcastle qualified for the second phase of the competition.

However, there is a big what-if around Bellamy, and had he wanted to play, who knows how well he could’ve done at Newcastle?

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