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Feb 1, 2011

Carroll forced out of Newcastle?

Andy Carroll has insisted he was forced to hand in a tranfer request and sign for Liverpool and was happy at Newcastle United.

• Carroll completes £35m Liverpool move
• Ireland signs for Magpies
• Toon blog: A selling club since 1892

News broke of Carroll's anger on Monday evening when the Editor of Newcastle United fanzine Toon Talk, Steve Wraith, published a text message conversation with Carroll with the striker clearly saying he did not want to leave the club.

Magpies manager Alan Pardew then refuted those claims, insisting that no one was sold against their will, but Carroll will not back down.

Carroll told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle on Tuesday: "[Managing director] Derek [Llambias] asked me to hand in a transfer request, so I was pushed into a corner and had no choice. I wasn't wanted by them and they made it clear they wanted the money.

"Then I flew down in (owner Mike Ashley's) helicopter. I didn't want to leave. I'm gutted that I wasn't wanted at my home team after everything I have done and the progress I have made. I didn't want to leave at all. Make sure they know I didn't want to leave. The players, staff and fans were fantastic.''

At 2.37pm GMT on Monday, Carroll told Wraith he was "not going anywhere", but by 5pm Carroll had said: "They have kind of said we don't want u but want me to say I wanna go. And I said I don't want to go."

Newcastle claimed that they accepted Liverpool's £35 million offer after the striker handed in a transfer request, but Carroll said: "No I didn't that's what I mean that's what they wanted me to do and I said no. They said they wanted to accept it."

Asked if he had no choice but to move to Anfield, he replied: "Looks like it."

Wraith then asked Carroll if he had "any message you want put across to the fans?" Carroll replied: "They said they wanted the money. Gutted to be leaving Newcastle but I was kind of pushed out the door. Gutted to be leaving my home club but I was practically told to go. Didn't want to leave that's why i signed a five-year deal."

Pardew broke his silence on Tuesday morning, and painted a very different picture to that of the player himself and indicated he thought Carroll had moved for the money.

Pardew told the Shields Gazette: "What can I say? We didn't force anybody to leave. I disagree with that point. He had a contract here for five years, and at some point it would get renewed, but for him to sign in October and it get renewed in January - where would it stop?

"Personally, I'm disappointed. He's a lovely lad, and I really like him, but it was his decision, and you can't change that. Was this about football? That's what you have to ask. I don't think it was.

"We were having a discussion about what we were going to do with that offer when Andy requested to see me. I went to see Andy, and face to face we had a conversation about him wanting a new contract, even though he signed on in October, and (he said) if he didn't get that contract, he wanted go.

"I asked him what he wanted, and I went to the board. We had a discussion about what the ramifications would be for the whole club. We took the view, with him signing a contract in October, that this would cause us all sorts of problems. We decided that we needed the conversation confirmed, and he put in a transfer request, which he did.

"He spoke to his agent, and between them they put the request in. We decided with the size of the offer, and what it meant to us, that we would accept.

"We weren't expecting him to go, so we weren't in a position to replace him. One thing I can guarantee, having spoke to Mike Ashley, is that every penny will go back into the club. Mike's assured me he won't take a penny out of the transfer."

Pardew moved to reassure fans that all of the funds from the Carroll transfer will be used to strengthen the team, and claimed that Newcastle had been priced out of last-minute moves for a replacment striker because of the "extortionate" fees demanded.

"The one thing I said to [owner] Mike [Ashley] yesterday was, 'Look, if this boy is going to go, this money has to be re-invested in the team, all of it', and he has assured me of that. For the Newcastle fan, that is the most important message I can give today, that all that money will be used.

"Could it have been used yesterday? Late last night, we made a couple of bids, but we were getting extortionate figures thrown at us. It was ridiculous. Were we going to pay an over-hiked price for a lesser product than Andy Carroll?

"No, so unfortunately as I sit here now, I am weaker than I was yesterday because I had Andy Carroll maybe four or five weeks away (from full fitness). No, I am not comfortable with it, but it is what it is.''

Alan Shearer, meanwhile, said he finds it "staggering'' that Newcastle allowed Carroll to leave for Liverpool without bringing in anyone as a replacement.

He told BBC Five Live: "I am surprised at how quickly it came along and it's an astonishing amount for a young guy with huge potential. It's all right selling your best player, but not getting anyone in to replace him is staggering.

"People are saying that Liverpool have sold Torres, but they have got two guys in for over £50 million to replace him. I just hope Newcastle invest some of the £35 million in new players at the end of the season. I am disappointed as he is Newcastle's best player and their best hope of being successful this season and getting a Europe League place.

"They would have just been happy to avoid relegation at the start of the season but, mainly because of him, they had a chance of a Europa spot.''

• Stephen Ireland is two weeks away from making his Newcastle debut after arriving at the club with an injury.

The deal went through just hours after reports emerged that it had fallen through because he had failed a medical.

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