Scottish Daily Mail



GRAEME SounESS turned around in the front seat of the car and looked at me. ‘If I ever have to come to a police station again because you have stepped out of line,’ he said, ‘I will beat you up.’ I kept my mouth shut. He wasn’t messing around. He was serious. My first real dealings with my new manager in 2004 were hardly ideal. There had been pictures in a newspaper that appeared to show me doing up my flies in the street after a night out. I was accused of urinating in public and was told I had to report to a police station. Souness said he was coming with me. My heart sank. We were ushered into an interview room where two officers were waiting. It wasn’t the best way to make a good impression with the new boss. The senior policeman said I’d be leaving the room in handcuffs and that they were going to throw me in jail. This was for peeing in the street. The claims were absurd. It was just an opportunis­tic photograph that gave the wrong impression. They said they had CCTV footage. I told him it was nonsense and to charge me or stop wasting everybody’s time. Souness just sat there and listened. When we left the police station, we walked back to the car in silence. By the time we got back to the training ground, he was in a filthy mood. He was about a month into the job and there were a few other items on his agenda by then. We had played Charlton and he had substitute­d Craig Bellamy. The TV cameras caught Craig muttering ‘f ****** p **** ’ in his direction as he walked off. Souness didn’t see or hear it, but when he was shown footage, he was livid. There had been stories about an altercatio­n between Craig and nicky Butt before the England-Wales game a week earlier. Souness wasn’t happy about that, either. He called a meeting. ‘When I was on the outside, looking at this club,’ said Souness, ‘I saw a talented team, but people who are out of control and think they are above the law. Let’s take a typical week since I have been newcastle manager.’ He looked at me. ‘I have just been to the police station with this little p **** ,’ he said. ‘It’s probably normal for him to be back and forth to the police station all the time, but it’s not normal for me.’ Then he moved on to Craig and Butty. He had heard that Butty had threatened to beat the s*** out of Craig. ‘I wish he had beaten the s*** out of you,’ said Souness. It wasn’t in Craig’s make-up to keep quiet. He started protesting that there hadn’t been any argument. ‘See, this is the problem,’ said Souness. I could see he was about to go. He mentioned a few of the trophies he had won and some of the clubs he had played for. ‘And then someone like you calls me a f ****** p **** ,’ he said to Craig. ‘I’ll f ****** knock you out.’ He tried to grab Craig by the throat. ‘In the gym now,’ he said. ‘Let’s sort this out like men.’ Alan Shearer had to pull Souness off him. That was the first time in my life I’ve seen Bellers speechless. They never made it to the gym, but it knocked the stuffing out of Craig. Souness had put down a marker. Souness was actually really good for me. The season I had with him was the best football I played. I think it was because I feared the man. I didn’t want to cross him. I believed there would be physical consequenc­es if I did. I’d seen the proof.

Adapted from OLD TOO SOON, SMART TOO LATE: MY STORY by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt, published on February 22 by Headline at £20. To order a copy for £16 (offer valid to 21/2/18; P&P free), visit books or call 0844 571 0640.

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