Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dyer Hoping for All Systems Go

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dyer Hoping for All Systems Go

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

In the days immediately after his unceremonious sacking as Newcastle United manager an irate and immensely frustrated Graeme Souness decided to call Kieron Dyer to blame him for his dismissal.

Yet while the Scot did blame Dyer for the loss of his job, there was no malice in his intentions, just a deep regret that the player he had intended to build his side around had, with more than six months of the campaign gone, played less than two hours of Premiership football.

Ironically, when Souness was appointed as United manager, Dyer was expected to be the first victim of his disciplinary cull.

After all, a player whose career had been blighted by off-the-pitch indiscretions during his time on Tyneside and who had become a hate figure for the club's own supporters following his refusal to play on the right wing under former manager Sir Bobby Robson, would be an easy and convenient target for a manager brought in to impose a stricter regime on Robson's so called Brat Pack.

But Souness spotted a different opportunity. Instead of booting the midfielder out of St James's Park he questioned his hunger and his pride, challenging him to stay at Newcastle and win back the faith of the club's supporters with his performances on the pitch.

The result was Dyer's best season at the club, as he became a key figure in the Magpies' dual runs in the Uefa and FA Cups and restored his reputation on Tyneside and beyond. Unfortunately, it also began the hamstring problems which have decimated his season and, at one stage, appeared to threaten his future in the game.

Dyer's right hamstring has either strained or torn eight times in the last 12 months and, when he played for 90 minutes against Chelsea in the quarter final of the FA Cup last month, it was the first time the 27-year-old had managed to last a full game since the 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the same stage of last season's competition.

It has been a torrid and draining affair, for both player and managers alike, but it is one Newcastle's caretaker boss Glenn Roeder believes has finally drawn to a close.

"The very fact we saw Kieron Dyer play two games in three days last weekend shows how far he has come in a short space of time," said Roeder, who is likely to use Dyer in a midfield role against West Bromwich Albion this afternoon having seen the Amdy Faye and Lee Clark partnership struggle so badly against Sunderland on Easter Monday. …

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