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Fred must get it dead right - 03/02/2006

Fred must get it dead right
Happier times at the Toon
   Alan Shearer
   Sir Bobby Robson
   Graeme Souness
   Kevin Keegan

GRAEME SOUNESS can have no complaints over his sacking, while the pressure is on Freddy Shepherd to get it right this time, claims former Newcastle striker Mickey Quinn.

Quinn says Souness cannot use injuries as an excuse for Newcastle's dismal season and feels the Scot was given more than enough time and money to succeed at St James' Park.

"Graeme was in his second year and he didn't have horrific injuries to start with," he said.

"He had big-name signings and spent almost £60m, so don't give me about injuries.

"There are loads of squads in the lower leagues with 16 professionals at their disposal, so don't give me that.

"The reason Freddy took Souness to Newcastle was because he is known as a disciplinarian and, under the old regime of Sir Bobby Robson, one or two players were going astray. He sorted out the disciplinary side, but he didn't really sort out the team.

"Graeme was Freddy's choice, not the fans, and I think now it's the last chance for Freddy to get it right as Newcastle chairman, or they will call for his head."

Former Toon winger Chris Waddle agreed with Quinn and claimed Shepherd wielded the axe before the fans turned their anger on him.

"Maybe they would soon have turned on the chairman, and when the pressure started to mount he had to make a decision," said the ex-England international. "Freddy is a big Newcastle fan and he knows he needs to make the right choice."

Former full-back Warren Barton believes Shepherd must not panic over appointing a successor, adding it is "an ideal opportunity'' for Martin O'Neill.

"There's not a great rush,'' he said. "You have got guys there who can steady the ship. There's enough quality in that squad to push them up the league rapidly."

Souness received sympathy from Fulham boss Chris Coleman, who said: "If he had been picking his strongest team week in, week out, it's different, but I don't think he's had that."

The Mirror

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