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Given exclusive

Here's a snippet of Ciaran Kelly's interview with Magpies legend Shay Given...

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Enough was enough for Shay Given. It's rare a goalkeeper is a man of the match contender after his side have shipped five goals, but it could have been so much worse had the Ireland international not made a series of remarkable saves to single-handedly keep Liverpool at bay in the opening half hour of Newcastle United's clash against the league leaders in December, 2008.

Given certainly did not take any positives from that, though. In fact, that 5-1 defeat at St James' Park, one of the lowest moments of the shot-stopper's career, proved a tipping point as the Magpies hovered above the relegation zone.

Shay Given returned to St James' Park for Newcastle United's game against Leicester City in December, 2017

This was not what Given had signed up for when he penned a new long-term contract two-and-a-half years previously. A few days after that Liverpool humiliation, Given released a statement through his solicitor, Michael Kennedy, which stated he 'felt compelled to consider his position'.

Kennedy and Given would soon attend a meeting with Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias, Newcastle's managing director, at the club's training ground. Once the quartet exchanged pleasantries, Given left the negotiations in the hands of his solicitor and sat in his car.

When the meeting finished and Kennedy lowered himself into the passenger's seat, he told his client the proposed contract was 'not a serious offer in any way, shape or form'.

Given was informed that the only way he could leave Newcastle was by submitting a written transfer request, which meant waiving 10 per cent of the sell-on transfer fee the goalkeeper was entitled to. With Man City interested, Given ended up doing just that.

Given was just 33 games shy of equalling Jimmy Lawrence's all-time appearance record for Newcastle - set way back in 1922 - but it goes without saying that there was to be no lap of honour or testimonial after he completed his deadline day move to the Etihad.

Joe Kinnear, Newcastle's manager at the time, would pay tribute to a 'fantastic professional and a great lad' but also stressed the Magpies had 'bent over backwards to try and keep' Given - which certainly irked him.


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