Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Souness Has Become Mr Happy

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Souness Has Become Mr Happy

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Graeme Souness has barely stopped smiling since emerging from Freddie Shepherd's office having clinched the kind of job he has long dreamt of. Paul Gilder met the Newcastle boss.

WHEN Graeme Souness was unexpectedly unveiled as Sir Bobby Robson's successor almost three weeks ago, the perception was that a manager renowned for his fiery temper and disciplinary principles had been hand-picked to whip a disorderly dressing room into shape.

So the way in which the Newcastle boss has charmed his way into St James's Park, wearing a smile far wider than the splits rumoured to have riven a squad united only in name, has come as a major surprise to the majority of observers.

"I have calmed down for a couple of obvious reasons," explained the Magpies' manager, who will take charge of his first Premiership match on home soil when West Bromwich Albion head to Tyneside this afternoon.

"I'm older and, hopefully, wiser and I like to think that I have learnt from my mistakes. Also, I'm taking some very good medication for my blood pressure."

The final revelation provokes a laugh. But Souness, whose involvement in football almost proved to be a matter of life or death when he underwent major heart surgery during the final days of his traumatic tenure at Liverpool, isn't joking.

"As you go through life, certain things happen to you which change your outlook," he said. "I'm 51 now and I have got a five-year-old son and I can't tell you the difference that he has made to my life ( just him being there has changed me.

"I have got grown-up kids and now I have my little lad and I feel like the luckiest man around. Has he got a favourite Newcastle player yet? Well, Alan Shearer is a name which keeps popping up. He must have got that from the other kids at school.

"My assessment is that I'm working with top players and as for discipline, you need discipline in everything you do, from deciding what time you go to bed at night to what time you get up in the morning. …

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