Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Woody Deal a Costly Error

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Woody Deal a Costly Error

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Shay Given admitted last night that Newcastle United's chances of success this season were still suffering from the controversial decision to allow Jonathan Woodgate to leave the club.

The Republic of Ireland international (pictured) was one of the most outspoken critics of the decision to allow the England defender to leave for Real Madrid a month ago and, at the time, demanded an adequate replacement was found.

Sadly, that plea was not answered and although the former Manchester United and Aston Villa veteran Ronnie Johnsen has been drafted in on a short-term contract until Christmas, Given insisted that unless a top international is found in the January transfer window, the Magpies' search for silverware is in danger of becoming another fruitless one, despite the fact the rest of the squad is the strongest he has known. "I still think it was a big mistake to let Woodgate leave. We desperately needed a top-class replacement for him, but we didn't really have enough time to find one and so we've been left short in that department.

"We've brought in Ronnie Johnsen and his experience will be valuable in the short term, but I think everybody knows that we have been left badly weakened by Woody's departure.

"When the new manager came in he immediately said that was an area he was looking to strengthen and it has to be our number one priority in January. If we don't invest in that area I think it is inevitable that our chances of success will be lessened.

"Robbie Elliott has come in and done superbly well, but if we get any injuries, even with Ronnie here, we're going to be stretched."

Now in his eighth season at St James's Park, Given has seen and coped with a lot ( including the sacking of three managers ( but even he was left feeling bewildered at the upheaval at the club over the past two months. …

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