Shay Given sees positives of Newcastle's controversial post-season plans after 'amazing' trip

Newcastle United legend Shay Given can understand some of the negative talk surrounding the club's post-season jaunt to Australia - but also believes there are plenty of positives regarding the Magpies' controversial 21,000-mile round trip.

Newcastle will jet to Melbourne just four days after the culmination of what has been a truly gruelling campaign for Eddie Howe's side. After a never-ending injury crisis and a season of fighting on four fronts, those players seeking some post-season relaxation will need to first tackle two games Down Under before the end of May.

National team bosses, eco-warriors and even some fans have taken issue with such a lengthy trip so close to the end of the season and within such a close proximity to both the European Championships and Copa America. Given, who enjoyed his fair share of foreign, summer trips with Newcastle during his playing days, also understands the concern shown towards Newcastle's decision.

"We've talked on numerous occasions about the long, hard season; the injuries Newcastle have had, the key players missing and big injuries," Given told Chronicle Live. "I think we understand what is in it for us; the financial side of things to help with balancing the books.

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"Had they went through in the Champions League they probably wouldn't have had to go to Australia. It's all that sort of knock-on effect. As a player, you've just got to get the head down and you get on the flight and go.

"I suppose for the players not involved in the Euros or the Copa America, then it's only three or four days extra for them, so it's probably less of an issue. But you think of the other players and normally you have maybe a week off before you meet up with the international team for major tournaments, and they won't have that unless their families are going out there to Australia."

However, it is easy to see why Newcastle have taken the decision to jet across the world so soon after the completion of their Premier League duties. Howe's side have enjoyed jaunts to Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the United States in recent seasons, with the aim of growing their fanbase across the globe.

They aren't the first Premier League side to take part in a post-season set of fixtures either, and with Tottenham joining them in Oz this time around, it is easy to see more top flight sides following suit in years to come given the lucrative nature of selling tickets, merchandise and attracting more overseas supporters during the trip.

Given, who now enjoys a role as an ambassador for Newcastle, was present on the club's successful trip to America last summer and saw first-hand the mammoth demand for the Tyneside outfit across the pond. If a similar reaction is seen in Australia, it could prove a lucrative earner for the club.

"There has been a lot of negativity around the Australia - but also on a positive note - you've seen what these trips can do for Newcastle," Given continued. "I was lucky enough to be in Universal Studios [at a fan event] and I was lucky enough to go to Saudi. Its amazing.

"Obviously being based in Newcastle, the city is consumed by the club and rightly so, but then you go to America and you see all the Newcastle jerseys and the fans and it's amazing what the Premier League can do.

"It's only going to get bigger and there's going to be more demand because you hope the more successful the club are, the more the fan base grows. The fans want to see the players, they want to see the manager. They want to see them come out to their to their stadiums and I don't think Newcastle should just shy away from that.

"I think they should embrace the trip as they try to grow the club. That's what they want to do. You want to grow the club, make it as big as possible, you want as many fans on board as possible. We all believe with the new ownership that the club will keep growing and getting bigger around the world. Australia or America or Saudi or wherever it is, it's going to keep growing."

Shay Given is a brand ambassador for sports betting platform CopyBet. Visit for more information.