Waddle backs Souness

Chris Waddle has backed Graeme Souness in the public row between the Newcastle manager and Craig Bellamy.

Waddle, who started his professional career at St James’ Park, insists the club’s problems pre-date the Scot’s arrival and urged fans to give him a chance to prove himself.

He also criticised Patrick Kluivert in the Holland international’s first season on Tyneside, claiming the Magpies striker has lost his hunger.

“These are problems not of Graeme’s making, but he has to carry the can,” he told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

“The decision to get rid of Bellamy was absolutely correct, otherwise the whole club would have come crashing down. You can’t have one player running everything.

“Souness would have appeared weak and that would have been that. Luckily, the chairman, Freddy Shepherd, backed his manager to the hilt.

“As for Kluivert, what a waste he is. The man is big, has good pace, sound technique and knows how to score goals. Considering he’s only 28, he should be the perfect striker.

“But frankly, it looks like a good decision by Barcelona to get rid of him. Kluivert appears to have lost his hunger.

“He’s sitting on the bench and then coming on and doing nothing. He seems content with that. I don’t know how he sees his future.”

Waddle admits he can understand the fans’ frustration and hinted that pressure could build on the manager soon.

He added: “I can understand the frustration United fans are feeling. They’ve seen Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal shoot away from them.

“It’s the same for Liverpool supporters – but their club went out and signed Fernando Morientes, while Newcastle have Kluivert. That’s the difference.

“Souness is trying desperately to get his own team, but he can’t do that until the summer. Three have come in, but Jean Alain Boumsong got injured almost straight away.

“One of the problems is that Newcastle lost Nolberto Solano. That was a major mistake and they haven’t really recovered.

“The fans are used to United being in the top five, but here they are 12th and it does not wear well. However, Souness is wanting to change personnel and formation and that can’t be done overnight.

“He inherited a squad from Sir Bobby Robson that was losing games and sorting it is difficult.

“United need the supporters to stick with Souness and give him a chance. He must shop well in the summer, and if he doesn’t get out of the traps quick next season, then he’ll deserve what he gets.”

Most Read in Sport