Is Newcastle abuse really justified?

Andy Carroll’s deadline day departure to Liverpool came as a real shock to many Newcastle fans when he left in the huge £35 million deal in January. I’m sure the Newcastle fans envisaged their dominant former number nine spending the majority, if not all of his career on Tyneside. Carroll was given a rough reception from the travelling black and white army when he emerged from the substitutes’ bench in Sunday’s match at Anfield. Given what the England international did for the club in terms of goals last season in The Championship and in the first part of this season, plus the investment the club made on him, is the abuse he received, and will receive in the future justified?

If I was to put this question to ten devoted Newcastle fans I would expect the prevailing answer to be ten yeses. However if I was to put the question of whether or not those same ten fans actually wanted him to go or not I feel opinion would be slightly less conclusive. Every Geordie fan has an opinion on the situation. Whether Carroll was pushed or jumped on that day in January is still uncertain to me. It has always been the norm as long as I can remember that when a former player competes against his former employers, no matter what the circumstances of his departure, he will be jeered when in possession. This is not always the case but predominantly happens. I recall David Beckham getting a tremendous ovation when he came on at Old Trafford for AC Milan, but certain sections of the Old Trafford crowd still booed him during the game.

Whatever unfolded on deadline day, one thing is certain, Newcastle did one of the best pieces of business in Premiership history. Carroll’s departure has paved the way for Newcastle to splash some serious cash on three or four players this summer. I understand that not all fans will see it that way, because if Carroll did turn in a transfer request he has more or less thrown the prestigious number nine shirt back in the fans’ faces. As a young aspiring footballer Carroll will have dreamt about scoring goals in the famous number nine in front of the St James’ faithful. So for him to forgo this opportunity and to then go and wear the number nine for another club, (here comes the important bit), with a much larger salary, does justify the boos.

Upon signing for Liverpool Carroll claimed he was pushed out by Newcastle and hadn’t wanted to leave. There is much conjecture about this, and I suppose really only Carroll, Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley really know how it transpired. If it was out of Carroll’s control, as he maintains, surely he could have kicked up more of a fuss and insisted he had no intention of leaving his beloved Newcastle? This makes me slide towards the opinion that the prospect of European football at a massive club with a hefty pay packet was too tempting for Carroll to resist. If this was the case, then the Newcastle fans are well within their rights to air their displeasure towards their former player when Newcastle and Liverpool meet. You can be assured the St James’ Park crowd will unleash the full force of their resentment towards Carroll next season, just as they did to Michael Owen this season.

Whatever the circumstances surrounding Carroll’s departure, ultimately he is a professional footballer and he is paid more money in a week than most of us will earn in two to three years. So if receiving a bad reception from the fans of his former club is the price to pay, I’m sure Carroll won’t lose too much sleep over it!