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Saturday, August 28, 1999 Published at 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK

Sport: Football: News

Fans blame Shearer rift for resignation

Fans wanted Gullit to succeed, but Sunderland defeat was final straw

Newcastle United fans blamed Ruud Gullit's apparent rift with England captain Alan Shearer for the Dutchman's departure from the club.

Fans react to Gullit's resignation: ''A very sad day for Newcastle'
Many supporters reacted with sadness at Gullit's resignation, but said either he or Shearer had to leave.

And they said last Wednesday's defeat against local rivals Sunderland was the final straw.

Stephen Denison, 26, from the Fenham area of the city, said: "It had to be either Gullit or Shearer that went. I thought Shearer might have been the one but obviously Gullit's bitten the bullet. "

Some fans said they believed Gullit could have succeeded in the job if he had stayed, though others said they were 'overjoyed' about his departure.

The defeat against Sunderland was 'unbelievable' and 'an embarrassment', they said.

And Gullit's decision to leave Shearer out of that match was unacceptable to many fans.

[ image: Leaving Alan Shearer out of the team infuriated fans]
Leaving Alan Shearer out of the team infuriated fans
Scores of supporters gathered outside the club's St James Park ground to hear news of the Dutchman's departure.

Richard Henderson, 29, from Heaton, Newcastle, summed up the mood of many when he said that Gullit deserved to go for his treatment of some players.

'Clash of the titans'

"He had to go after putting Shearer on the bench, that was the last straw.

"Once the fans knew about the rift between Gullit and players like Shearer and Rob Lee it was all over."

Fanzine editor Steve Wraith said the club's chairman and directors should have stepped in to try to resolve the rift between Gullit and Shearer.

"The main problem has been the big clash of the titans, Alan Shearer and Ruud Gullit.

"This story has grown into a monster and somebody had to give and unfortunately it has been Ruud Gullit."

Fans want Geordie manager

The chairman of Newcastle United Independent Supporters Association insisted that the decision was inevitable under the pressure the former Newcastle boss faced.

[ image: Some fans want Peter Beardsley as the new Newcastle manager]
Some fans want Peter Beardsley as the new Newcastle manager
Frank Gilmour said: "For any manager who comes here the pressure is going to be on them to produce the goods, with the amount of money spent on players in the last six years and still no silverware."

Now Mr Gilmour wants a local-born manager to take over from Mr Gullit.

"I think a Geordie will be able to take the pressure," he said.

He suggested that the former England manager Bobby Robson could team up with the club's former captain Peter Beardsley.

And that view was reflected by some other fans in the city, with a lot of support for Beardsley.

Dream ticket

One supporter said: "He has no experience at all, but neither did Kevin Keegan and look what he did for the club."

Another, Stephen Lawton, 24, from Burtley, Tyne and Wear, said: "I would love to see Bobby Robson with Peter Beardsley as his No. 2 maybe to take over in a few years, that would be the dream ticket as far as I am concerned."

Another fan was clear why Gullit had resigned.

"I believe he wanted an easy way out," he said.

"My feeling is one of happiness and disappointment at the same time."

He said Gullit was not given enough time to succeed.

Tony Fiddes of The Mag fanzine said he believed Bobby Robson would be the next man in charge at St James Park.

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