Graeme Souness is one of British football’s most famous hard-men. Even now, at the age of 68, you wouldn’t want to mess with the Sky Sports pundit.
Souness was a magnificent footballer and also enjoyed some success as a manager, winning three league titles with Rangers, the FA Cup with Liverpool, the Turkish Cup with Galatasaray and the League Cup with Blackburn.
However, the fiery Scot wasn’t able to end Newcastle United’s long wait for silverware during his final job in management between 2004-2006.
This was the time where football was beginning to change and managers with old school personalities like Souness were gradually being phased out of the game.
He went into punditry and has a tendency to rub viewers up the wrong way with some of his opinions. But he’s never afraid to say what he thinks, regardless of who it might upset, hence why he creates so many headlines.
Kieron Dyer: When Souness tried to fight Bellamy
It’s no surprise that Souness and Craig Bellamy, one of the most argumentative and hot-headed footballers of the Premier League era, failed to see eye-to-eye during their time working together at Newcastle.
In Kieron Dyer’s 2018 book ‘Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late: My Story’, per The Daily Mail, the former England international tells a dramatic story involving Souness trying to fight Bellamy.
After accompanying Dyer to the police station after the player was accused of urinating in public, Souness allegedly told him: ‘If I ever have to come to a police station again because you have stepped out of line, I will beat you up.’
Dyer said they returned to the training ground and Souness was in a “filthy mood”.
Dyer continued: “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 also been stories about an altercation between Craig and Nicky Butt before the England–Wales game a week or so earlier.
“Souness wasn’t happy about that, either. He called a meeting. ‘When I was on the outside, looking at this football club,’ Souness said, ‘I saw a very 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 about their altercation and that Butty had threatened to beat the s*** out of Craig. ‘I wish he had beaten the s*** out of you,’ Souness said.”
This is where things then took a turn for the worse.
Dyer added: “Craig had been warned by Dean Saunders, Souey’s assistant, not to answer back, but 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,’ Souness said. 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 completely speechless. They never made it to the gym, but it knocked the stuffing out of Craig. Souness had put down a marker.”
Dyer admitted that he feared Souness would get violent if he crossed him, and that inspired him to produce the best football of his career.
He said: “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 was physically afraid of him. I didn’t want to cross him because I believed there would be physical consequences if I did. I’d seen the proof. You couldn’t slack off.
“I owed him a lot. I liked his style. Sometimes he’d have his top off in the gym and he’d be doing the chest press and it was like ‘boom’. I was thinking: ‘My God, this guy’.”
Are Chelsea better without Romelu Lukaku? (Football Terrace)
Can you name all of these Streets Will Never Forget ballers? [Quiz]