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Exclusive: Arsenal and Newcastle legend slams Carroll move

PUBLISHED: 10:06 03 February 2011 | UPDATED: 15:53 04 February 2011

A Magpie no more: Andy Carroll

A Magpie no more: Andy Carroll

2010 Getty Images

Arsenal and Newcastle goalscoring legend Malcolm Macdonald says Andy Carroll could never have followed in his footsteps from Tyneside to north London.

The former striker – dubbed ‘Supermac’ by both sets of fans – famously moved to Highbury in the summer of 1976 after thrilling the Gallowgate End with 95 goals in just 187 appearances.

And he will be at St James’ Park on Saturday to watch his two former clubs as the Toon prepares for life without Liverpool-bound Carroll, who scored the winner for Newcastle in their 1-0 win at the Emirates in November.

Macdonald, who, like Carroll, wore the famous No9 jersey, claims Carroll is way off being a top striker and remains “flabbergasted” at the price his signature warranted.

“Apparently there was talk Arsenal might have been interested in him a while back, although I can’t see that at all, not one little bit,” Macdonald tells Ham&High Sport ahead of the weekend’s big game.

“Carroll was never an Arsenal player and certainly never a Wenger player – he’s, how can I put this politely? Well, let’s just say he’s not refined enough...”

The 61-year-old, who scored 42 times in 84 Arsenal appearances before a knee injury forced his premature retirement in 1979, has been left scratching his head at the £35million fee Liverpool paid for Carroll, who has just one senior England cap to his name.

And Supermac knows all about big price tags.

He moved to Arsenal for a typically extravagant fee of £333,333 nearly 35 years ago.

“Do you know until Fernando Torres went to Chelsea a few hours later, Carroll was the seventh most expensive footballer in the entire history of world football – now he is the eighth. The guy is in the top 10 biggest transfers EVER! I ask you, what is all that about?” laughs Londoner Macdonald, who now lives back in the North East where he is a popular and outspoken media pundit.

“I mean, that is a sure sign of desperation on Liverpool’s part if they are prepared to spend that kind of money on a player like Carroll, who is nothing more than potential at this stage.

“Carroll hasn’t even played a full season yet! And for that kind of money you want the finished article. Chelsea paid not a great deal more for Torres, relatively speaking anyway, but they have a player who has been there, done that and is the real deal.

“Am I gutted Carroll has gone? Not at all and I actually think quite a lot of Newcastle fans will agree with me. Let’s face it, something has gone seriously crazy here. It is extraordinary – like it or not, it is a stupendous piece of business from Newcastle’s point of view, so who can blame them for taking the money?

“Now the fans want to know if the money will be reinvested in the team. [The owner] Mike Ashley has done well because the transfer window shut immediately and that has brought him some time – it is a blessing in disguise for him.”

Newcastle, Macdonald argues, should look at how Arsenal do things in the transfer market.

“I understand Newcastle have a lot of money now and don’t want to squander it, but it is key to reinvest some of it in quality players,” he adds.

“I know Arsene Wenger sometimes gets criticism for not spending big, but he promotes young players brilliantly and, when there is a hole in the squad, he actually does go out and buy. And he generally buys very well. Arsenal conduct their business the right way and are the model, both on and off the pitch, that clubs like Newcastle should aspire to.”

And while Macdonald is at the wrong end of the A1, he remains a committed Arsenal fan. He has repeatedly told this paper that Wenger will win another Premier League title, but admits there is frustration that his side are so close to achieving their dream.

“My position remains the same as it was last year and the year before regarding Arsenal,” he says.

“They are so very close to winning the league. Nobody plays football like them in England – Manchester United may be top, but they could never dream of playing the brand of football we see at the Emirates.

“That said, United have the one thing Arsenal are still lacking; a killer instinct. United put teams to bed, but we are still sometimes guilty of fancy danning around the penalty box.

“It is a psychological thing. Arsenal have the players but they are missing that one little thing. They have it in them, I’m sure, but they need to get it together.

“Frankly, some of them really want their arses kicking.”

But with the best away record in the league, Arsenal are favourites to win at Newcastle – and have done so already this season, winning 4-0 at St James’ in the Carling Cup in October.

Macdonald adds: “It will be an intriguing game. I am looking forward to seeing how Newcastle cope post-Carroll. That said, they have won two and drawn two in their last four league games (before Wednesday) – and all have been without Carroll. I don’t think he is a major loss, to be honest, and those stats back me up.

“As for Arsenal, we all know they play fabulous football. Even if they are poor by their standards, they will still control most of the game and have the majority of possession because that is their style. Newcastle know that.

“If Arsenal want to win they will win. The question is: will it be nice Arsenal or nasty Arsenal who turn up?”


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