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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Kinnear insists club 'bent over backwards' for Given

Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear revealed the club did all they could to persuade Given to stay on Tyneside.

Kinnear admitted his disappointment at losing a goalkeeper he believes is the best in the Premier League, and one who was offered an extended deal to remain at the club.

He said: ''I'm really sorry to see Shay go. He's been a fantastic professional and a great lad to work with.

''We bent over backwards to try and keep him at Newcastle United and offered him a longer contract to stay at the club.

''He's been with Newcastle United for a long time and has been a great servant, but he felt the time was right to move on and so realistically, we had no choice but to reluctantly agree to allow him to make this move.

''I wish him and his family all the very best for the future.''

Given, a £1.5million signing from Blackburn during the summer of 1997, made a total of 453 appearances for the Magpies, including an FA Cup final and Champions League and UEFA Cup football - the last of them in the 3-0 defeat at Blackburn on January 17.

However, he had earlier made it clear through solicitor Michael Kennedy that his patience had run out amid the chaos on and off the field which has characterised the club's recent past.

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