Sunday Mirror article, Sunday 13.11.2011

Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias stunned Toon Army fans by unleashing an astonishing, foul-mouthed rant in public on Geordie icons Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan.

The former casino boss — who virtually never gives media interviews — delivered a withering condemnation on the managerial abilities of the Magpies legends in front of startled onlookers in a Newcastle gastro bar.

Llambias, who along with Toon owner Mike Ashley has enraged Toon fans by re-branding historic St. James’ Park as the Sports Direct Arena, blamed Shearer for Newcasle’s 2009 relegation and claimed there “will never be a right time” for the former England skipper in management.

"I have to admit that £30m for Andy Carroll is a lot of money,"
Lambias said, before responding when one supporter asked him "Is he worth £30m?": "No - he's worth f*** all."

With Chelsea closing a deal worth £50 million for Fernando Torres on January's deadline day, Liverpool were under pressure to bring in a new striker and Llambias claimed that they could push for the entire Carroll fee up front.

Llambias explained: "It is about control. We had the control. We knew the Torres deal was there. We drew that f****** deal, perhaps the ultimate. So £30m? F*** off! Don't waste my time and I slammed the phone down.

"£35m? Everybody including Pardew [manager Alan Pardew] all agreed. But the £35m they wanted to pay over four years. It was rubbish. Mike (Ashley) said - and he is a brave boy Mike I promise you - get all the £35m up front. We got it all up front and then they never paid us on time and we charged them 12 grand f****** interest."

In a blistering broadside aimed at Keegan, the Magpies MD claimed the former England boss is unable to cope with the stresses and strains of management.

Llambias railed: "Kevin Keegan can’t take pressure. His f****** head is all over the place.”

He also made a shocking claim in a meeting with fans last month that Keegan’s second coming as Newcastle manager in 2008 came about ­because he was the preferred choice of potential Arab buyers. He revealed:

“Mike was selling to the Arabs and they ­wanted Kevin Keegan. The Arabs wanted him, the fans wanted him — perfect!”

A candid Llambias admitted he was at fault for recruiting Shearer as manager in April 2009 when Newcastle were battling to avoid the drop. Llambias said:

"Shearer was my choice and I have to hold up my hands — the wrong choice."

Referring to the relegation battle and the managerial team of Shearer and Iain Dowie, he claimed: "Shearer, for this, destroys us. He gave all the responsibility to Dowie. Rubbish!"

A supporter suggests "It wasn’t the right time" for Shearer. Llambias responded brusquely, and said: "It would never be the right time. Shearer? There would never be a right time in football.”

When one of the onlookers suggested Shearer is arrogant, Llambias agreed and said: "You guys have given him that arrogance."

What will perplex Newcastle fans about Llambias’ put-down of the Geordie hero is the fact that days after relegation, Ashley issued a statement in which he said:

"Bringing Alan Shearer back to Newcastle United was the best decision I have made."

Chris Hughton succeeded Shearer as manager and led Toon back into the top flight at the first attempt as champions. Hughton was sacked by Newcastle a year ago, and is now manager of Birmingham. He was also in the Llambias line of fire when one of the group asked why he was dismissed.

Llambias responded: "He would never have taken us where we want to be. That’s my decision by the way. Chris can’t make decisions. If I am asking about a player, Ben Arfa? he says ‘I’m not sure, blah blah’.

"With Chris, he couldn’t cope with where we are mentally. We are aggressive. You need to be aggressive. I don’t want a manager below me who can’t argue.”

But of all the colourful claims made by Llambias perhaps the one that will not be disputed by Toon fans is: "You guys don’t understand how f****** horrible we can be.”

After last week’s act of soccer sacrilege at St. James’ Park, many Geordies believe they understand only too well. Newcastle declined to comment last night.