Due to the sometimes rambling nature of the interview
(especially the questions) some parts of this have been abridged and the
What makes you want to be Newcastle United Chairman ?
I think it's the best job in the World - I don't know anybody who
would refuse it. I think it's a fantastic job and i'm enjoying every minute
2. What have been your highs and lows as Chairman ?
High - has to be Wembley...we've been there five times in the last
five years, if you include the Charity Shield and the Semi.
Low - I get a low every time we lose...
3. How/ when was Bobby Robson first approached to be Manager ?
When Kevin left, John Hall, Douglas and myself went out to Barcelona to
see Bobby. At the time he was on a year's contract with Barcelona - he tried
every way to get out of his contract but they wouldn't release him. Like a
lot of managers he could have said 'I'm going to walk, what are you going to
do about it?' But he didn't. He honoured his contract and we admired him for
that. He was desperate to come to Newcastle.
4. How did you first become involved with Newcastle United ?
Sir John Hall was a family friend....he phoned up and said 'I know you've
got shares in Newcastle, have a word with Douglas (Hall) something has to be
done'...If we hadn't have agreed to the rights issue (the club) were in grave
danger of a receiver being appointed.
5. How have your relationships with the different Managers been ?
I had a different relationship with each one.
With Kevin, we were more of a gang and treated each other as a team on and
off the field, socialising and having fun.
(This relationship was)
that will probably never be repeated.
Kenny was a good pal of mine - I had some great times with Kenny. He was
never comfortable with the media - I never knew why. Socially we got on well
I never had any social relationship with Ruud whatsoever. He was very much a
loner we had a football relationship. What I will say though is that he
apologised to me, to Freddie Fletcher and asked me to send apologies to the
fans and the players. He said 'I'm not asking for a penny, I don't want
a penny, I'm leaving, stop my wages today.'
....He never got on with the players....he was very upset that he let everybody
6. Tell me about Ruud's last game - the 2-1 home defeat by S**land
said 'I'm going to leave him out' (of the squad). I said 'You
cannot - believe me you don't leave Alan Shearer out of the bench in a
Sunderland Derby.' I think Ruud had left the game before, but he would have
loved to go out on a high beating Sunderland - even if we had beat
Sunderland, he would have left - 'I beat Sunderland, I've lost the players,
I've got them on the bench, I've gone !'
7. Were Newcastle right when they appointed Dalgish and Gullit ?
I didn't hear anybody say it was a bad choice. So really we may have got
it wrong but so did the supporters as well - they all thought the same as
us....The supporters were behind us 100%....There's nothing written that says
they're (KD & RG)
going to be a success.
8. Will Shearer Be Newcastle Manager ?
The guy is here for four years - what happens after that I don't know - I
think it's too far off.
8a Could Shearer make a good Manager ?
Without a doubt.....There's two Alan Shearer's, one off the pitch and one
on. If you look at his determination then he has as much chance as anybody to
make a manager - I'm confident one day he will be a manager. He is the
senior player - the elder statesman of the dressing room, they all look up
to him. He's a class act.
9. What's the situation with transfers ?
The transfer system in my opinion is finished as we know it. I think
there will be a compensatory version where you'll acquire a contract by
paying up what's left. To spend money at this minute, particularly on big
buys would be wrong - you're going into the unknown.
Football is a special case because how can you have Billy Smith
playing for Newcastle one week, playing for Sunderland the next and
Middlesbrough the next. You can't apply normal industrial laws to football.
There'll probably be two windows a year to transfer players and one player
transfer per season.
10. Do you think that players show any loyalty these days ?
There's two things a player's here for - one's for the money and one's
because he wants to play for Newcastle. But there is loyalty - look at
Shearer, he could have gone anywhere in Europe or the World but chose
Newcastle. Why ? Loyalty.
Aaron Hughes is a great example, he's come right through (from the
- he's the only guy who's ever thanked me
for a contract.
11. What about Keegan scrapping the reserves?
I think Kevin would say now we shouldn't have got rid of the reserve
team. We lost the Huckerby's and Guppy's of this world - they realised that
they couldn't get a game and were wanting to be away....They weren't going to
make any progress.
12. Why are Foreign Players over here ?
Why do you go abroad ? Because sometimes English players price
themselves out of the market.
13. What are your thoughts on the Stadium ?
It's a monument to the whole of Newcastle, not just the football team
- it's so impressive. It's costs us since 1990 something like £90m spent on
that ground. It's a Five Star hotel without the bedrooms.
We should be proud of it - I don't think we've made enough of it - Geordie
supporters have got one of the best stadiums, and the sooner we start
beating our chests and telling everyone about it, the better.
Part 2 of this interview can be accessed from here.