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Feb 5, 2009

N'Zogbia reveals Kinnear rift

Wigan Athletic recruit Charles N'Zogbia has admitted he was desperate to leave Newcastle United after falling out with manager Joe Kinnear, but has denied he is a trouble-maker or sulker.

The Frenchman used the media to help manufacture a move away from St James' Park, often being highly critical of the Magpies, and secured a move to the JJB Stadium on the final day of the winter transfer window.

The midfielder's strained relationship with Kinnear reached its nadir when the Toon boss mistakenly called him "Insomnia" in a television interview. N'Zogbia claimed it was an "insult", vowed never to play for Newcastle again and is now looking forward to a new a challenge with his new club.

Wigan manager Steve Bruce broke the club's transfer record by spending £6million to secure the services of the 22-year-old and now safely ensconced at the Latics N'Zogbia has revealed he did not like Kinnear's management style.

"There was no conversation at all," said N'Zogbia. "I was talking to Chris Hughton (assistant manager) all the time but I wasn't talking to the manager - maybe when there was something bad in training but he wouldn't tell you why you were on the bench. I think he did it with everyone.

"I can be moody sometimes, of course, but I enjoy my life."

When Wigan expressed an interest in signing him, with Ryan Taylor going the other way as part of the deal, N'Zogbia jumped at the chance.

"It is good to have a manager who can care about you, ask you many questions," he added. "When you are young you need that, something like he will be your dad and can really help you.

"You need that belief to be able to play your best football.

"When you don't have that conversation you don't want to feel like that. You want to feel like the manager is on your side."

N'Zogbia felt part of the problem at Newcastle was the instability caused by a succession of managers in the last few years.

"Maybe they (the players) don't know what's going on. There has been a lot of changes. While I was at Newcastle I had six managers in four years," said the midfielder, who has donated some of his wages to the cancer hospice in the north-east which is assisting his first Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson.

"For a club that is so big, the players need a manager who can stay for three or four years.

"But you have to move on to be challenging [for trophies] - Newcastle can't do it."

Kinnear hit back at N'Zogbia by claiming that the former Newcastle midfielder's accusations were "laughable".

"He lived in a fantasy world," Kinnear told The Times. "There was not a day when he didn't add some Mickey Mouse story about a club that wanted him."

"First of all, he came in and told me Arsenal wanted to buy him, then the next week it was Aston Villa, then the next week, it was Manchester United, then the next week it was Real Madrid, then the next week it was Lyon.

"And each time he came in, he made it clear he did not want to be at the club so in the end, there was only one thing I could do - send him to Wigan.

"I checked out if any of these clubs wanted him and discovered they didn't. I told him, 'You are wasting my time and I don't know why you are inventing all these stories."'

Meanwhile, Bruce was delighted to have N'Zogbia on board and was unconcerned by what had gone before at St James' Park.

"Whatever happened at Newcastle it looks like he's gone a bit stale and he's had his ups and downs, but one thing about him is he has quality," he said.

"He is young and I think people forget that. We all do daft things when we are young but we think for us it (the transfer) was a no-brainer.

"Maybe when he looks back he might think he handled the situation wrong but whatever has happened to him has gone and this is a new chapter for him."

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