Newcastle United legend reveals Man Utd snub and Celtic disappointment ahead of ‘dream’ move

Shay Given was a crucial player for Newcastle in their last Champions League campaign. (Getty Images)Shay Given was a crucial player for Newcastle in their last Champions League campaign. (Getty Images)
Shay Given was a crucial player for Newcastle in their last Champions League campaign. (Getty Images) | Getty Images
A former Newcastle United favourite has reflected on the journey he made during his playing career.

Newcastle United legend Shay Given has revealed he rejected a contract offer from Manchester United during the early years of his career.

The former Republic of Ireland international became a stalwart at St James Park as he made over 350 appearances during a 12-year stay on Tyneside. After joining the Magpies in a cut price move from Blackburn Rovers following an impressive loan spell at Sunderland, Given was part of United sides that impressed in the Premier League, Champions League and UEFA Cup over the following years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, he departed to join Manchester City in a £6m move in February 2009 and watched on from afar as his old club suffered a relegation into the Championship. But Given has now revealed it was the red half of Manchester where he could have plied his trade had he accepted an offer to join United following a successful trial with the 13-time Premier League champions.

He told talkSPORT: “I had a trial at Man United and they actually offered me a contract, but I turned them down in favour of a move to Celtic.

“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and United had Peter Schmeichel just coming into his prime whereas Celtic had Packie Bonner who was 34 so my dad and I felt that was a quicker route to playing first-team football.”

Given failed to make a senior appearance with the Glasgow giants and left to join Blackburn Rovers in 1994. After impressing on loan at Swindon Town and Sunderland, the Lifford-born keeper joined Newcastle in a £1.5m deal in the summer of 1997 and was in goal when the Magpies marked their Champions League debut with a historic 3-2 win over Barcelona just months later.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Given reflected on his journey from disappointment at boyhood favourites Celtic to featuring on the biggest stage European football has to offer with Newcastle and described it as ‘just a dream’.

“I left Celtic at 18 and had to go back to Ireland and stay at home for a month or two because I did not have a club before Blackburn offered me a contract.

“If you had have said then when I was back in Donegal that three years later I’d be rocking out at St James’ Park in the Champions League with the number one jersey on my back, people would have looked at me and gone, ‘Yeah, good one, mate,’ because that was just a dream.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.