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Around The Uk

Thursday, 14 September, 2000, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Given ends rumours and signs deal
Shay Given
Given has committed himself to the Newcastle cause
Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given has signed a new three-year contract with the Tyneside club to end speculation that he may be leaving St. James' Park.

Given's deal prior to signing was up at the end of this season when he could have left for free under the Bosman ruling and there was talk of him returning to his former club Celtic.

After weeks of negotiations, however, the Republic of Ireland international has decided to extend a stay at St. James' Park which began when he joined from Blackburn Rovers for 1.5m in the summer of 1997.

An in-form Given has been Newcastle manager Bobby Robson's first choice during the club's promising start to this campaign.


There was a lot of talk about Celtic and I'm a Celtic fan, but I've had three good years at Newcastle and I want to continue that.
  Shay Given

"It took a bit longer than probably everyone would have liked, but I'm just glad it's all sorted out and I can get on with my football," said Given.

"I never wanted to leave Newcastle and I told the chairman that when he asked me before we started talking.

"There was a lot of talk about Celtic and I'm a Celtic fan, but I've had three good years at Newcastle and I want to continue that.

"The gaffer has been great. He said all along that he hoped I could agree a good deal, and that's very encouraging when he tells you things like that."

Given has at times during his St James' career had to play second fiddle to Steve Harper and he knows that he needs to continue at the top of his form to hold off the challenge of his rival for the goalkeeper's jersey.


I think Shay is in the top five Premiership goalkeepers. He really is a top-class goalkeeper. He's got great agility, great courage and he anticipates well.
  Bobby Robson

"It's always good to have two experienced keepers and Steve has certainly proved that he is more than capable of doing the job whenever he's been in," he said.

"We've tended to swap around a bit over the last couple of years, but that keeps everyone on their toes."

Bobby Robson was also delighted by Given's decision to stay put.

"I'm very happy with our two goalkeepers," he said. "I think we have as good a pair as there is in the Premiership - and I mean that quite sincerely.

"I think Shay is in the top five Premiership goalkeepers. He really is a top-class goalkeeper. He's got great agility, great courage and he anticipates well.

"He's a terrific boy to work with and I'm delighted he's going to stay with us. I didn't want him to move."

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