Blame game starts after deal that shocked fans
THE separation might have been finalised, but the argument over the grounds for divorce rumbles on. Andy Carroll's £35m move to Liverpool increasingly looks like the act of betrayal that will rip Newcastle United's cosy marriage of convenience apart. Who betrayed who is the question agitating the club's supporters as they reflect on a barely-believable transfer deadline day, with both parties wasting no time yesterday in pointing an accusatory finger at the other. Carroll accused senior Newcastle officials of pushing him out. Alan Pardew claimed the 22-year-old striker was misguided to be making such comments. Somewhere between the two, the truth could probably be found. The blame game will not bring Carroll back to St James' Park of course, nor will it suddenly fashion up a replacement for the England international. It will, however, affect how Newcastle fans regard their owner, manager and entire football club in the future. So for that matter, it is an important process. First up, Carroll. Speaking shortly after putting pen to paper on a five-and-a-half year deal at Liverpool's Melwood training complex, Newcastle's former number nine complained of his treatment as Monday's dramatic events unfolded. He didn't want to leave. He wanted a new contract to reflect the size of Liverpool's bid. His transfer request was only submitted after Mike Ashley made it clear he was going to Merseyside no matter what. The owner made it clear to me that I was not wanted at the club, said Carroll. Saying that his own helicopter was waiting for me to go down to talk to them. So being shown I was not wanted, I said, 'Okay, I will talk to them'. Then suddenly the bid was rejected. And then Derek (Llambias, chief executive) asked me to hand in a transfer request. So I was pushed into a corner and had no choice. I wasn't wanted by them and they made it clear they wanted the money. I didn't want to leave at all. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pardew's interpretation of Monday's timeline is different. According to the Magpies manager, the club did everything they could to hold on to Carroll, turning down two separate bids from Anfield. Their approach only changed when Carroll demanded a new contract, just three months after signing a lucrative long-term deal. Had the player dug his heels in at that stage, he would still be a Newcastle player today. We certainly didn't twist his arm to put in the request or get on the helicopter, said Pardew. He had a five-year contract, a contract we said we would renew in the summer yesterday. He wanted to renew it straight away. He made it clear he wanted to renew it now and wanted to speak to the club (Liverpool). That was when the power shifted. We did not want to lose Andy. If Andy had really wanted to stay, he could have stayed, but he is not here. Carroll's intransigence, Newcastle's indifference Either way, the Magpies have lost their leading goalscorer and will not be able to replace him until June at the earliest. In the meantime, they must fight to claim the dozen or so points they still need to guarantee their Premier League status next season. It does not feel good, conceded Pardew. The mood on the training ground wasn't great (yesterday), and we are vulnerable until we get this out of our system. The Fulham game (this evening) worries me. Of course it is a risk, but we have to make sure we stay strong as a group. My message, as much to the fans as the players, is that we have to be strong this second half of the season. We certainly don't want to get involved in a situation (near the relegation zone). We have done well without Andy and we have to continue to do that. But even if Newcastle manage to avoid relegation, what does this week's events say about the club's long-term ambitions Pardew insists he will have the full £35m to spend this summer, although he admitted that figure would incorporate wages and signing-on expenditure as well as transfer fees, but the days of Newcastle competing with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea appear a distant memory for the moment. The situation was made clear when I arrived the financial structure of this club was not an affluent one, said Pardew. You all know that. It is not an affluent club in terms of what other big clubs can produce in terms of salaries and fees for players. That was made clear to me, so I can't moan about it now when we have just received an extraordinary offer. Now, we have to use it to good effect. Can I believe that is going to happen I have to.
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