Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Brilliant Player, Confrontational Boss - How Gullit's Ruud Gesture on Derby Day Proved to Be His Downfall; the Fifth and Final Part of John Gibson's Series on Memorable United Managers - Today: Ruud Gullit

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Brilliant Player, Confrontational Boss - How Gullit's Ruud Gesture on Derby Day Proved to Be His Downfall; the Fifth and Final Part of John Gibson's Series on Memorable United Managers - Today: Ruud Gullit

Article excerpt

UNITED have employed football men of mighty pedigree. Genuinely world-class in anyone's opinion.

Consider if you will Ruud Gullit, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Ossie Ardiles.

The only trouble? All were a class apart as footballers, while we employed them as managers - and they couldn't repeat their skyscraperhigh achievements on Tyneside once their boots were thrown in the back of the cupboard.

Ruud was a perfect example. I used to gape at his outrageous skills.

Dreadlocks flying, orange shirt shining like armour, and spectacular strikes. I loved him.

However, as a manager he was a ruddy good footballer!

He followed another of his ilk in Dalglish and, like the tartan terror, he made a Wembley FA Cup final only to fall at the final hurdle.

However, unlike Dalglish he didn't rate Alan Shearer, and anyone who dismisses the Lord of Gosforth, our most prolific goalscorer in history, is suspect in our book.

Whether or not he felt Big Al challenged his authority or as an England skipper dared be compared with the forward play of Gullit himself I don't know, but he dropped Shearer for a home derby with Sunderland in August of 1999, lost, and promptly resigned. The game was up in more ways than one.

Gullit selected a kid, Paul Robinson, to lead the Mag attack with a star-lined subs' bench including four heavyweights in Shearer, Duncan Ferguson, Aaron Hughes and Steve Harper.

What happened to Robinson after that? Nothing. He disappeared like water down a plughole.

If Gullit alienated Shearer - he never told him he was dropped, merely allowing him to find out after pinning up the team sheet - then he had already incurred the wrath of fans by declaring a Tyne-Wear confrontation wasn't a real derby because it wasn't a match between two clubs from the same city.

Throughout his managerial career Gullit seemed to have trouble with older players. Shearer's big mate Rob Lee wasn't even given a squad number, while Big Dunc and Stuart Pearce were also presented with a cold shoulder.

The inability to manage experience is a major drawback. Superstars have to be handled as well as rank-and-file, grateful players. …

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