Paul Newe Interview
How did you begin your football career?
I was a late starter. I used to be an athlete and was a very good 400m and 800m runner. So I didn’t actually get started properly until I was sixteen. Then I started playing with Greenhills in Dublin. The then Shelbourne manager Johnny Byrne saw me play and invited me to join Shelbourne. I started the first game of the season after that.
How did you sign for Dundalk?
Well after Paddy Mulligan took over as manager of Shelbourne I didn’t really like the set up at Shelbourne. Brian Kerr was also involved in Greenhills and he had become manager of Drogheda United. I signed for Drogheda and that was when I came to Dundalk’s notice and Turlough approached me to sign.
What was your first impressions of the club?
Just that it was so much more professional than anything I had experienced before. With the greatest of respect to Shels and Drogheda at the time Dundalk were way ahead. The training sessions went into so much detail, especially with set-pieces and other tactical areas.
You arrived in 1987. The dressing room was full of senior and well established players. Was it difficult to settle?
I suppose it did take me a while to settle in. I think I only started ten games out of the 33 appearances I made that season. In the following two seasons I was the top scorer and I received the player of the year award. But it did take me that one season to fully settle down.
Was it a frustrating experience to spend so much time on the bench that season?
Yes it was but I could have little complaint. We had so many good players at the time. Also, as I said it took me time to get to grips with the Dundalk work ethic. I had a lot to learn defensively. The lads would say I would get a nose-bleed if I ever tracked back.
Tell me about that work ethic that Turlough O’Connor instilled in the team?
The best example I can think of that came as a bit of a shock to me came early on in the season. I think we only conceded one goal in our first four league matches. That goal we conceded was my fault because I didn’t track their fullback and he crossed for their goal. We still won the game easily though but the senior players in the squad, especially the defenders, were going mad! They were disgusted that we didn’t keep a clean sheet. It was a real eye opener for me and just showed the levels of professionalism that was in the team.
Sorry to bring it up…but what can you remember about that own-goal against Ajax?
I knew you would ask me that! It was terrible. I had twenty family and friends watching from the stand. I remember that we had a corner but Ajax won possession and started a counter-attack. As I said I had just got an earful about not tracking back so I ran the length of the pitch to help defend the situation. I thought I was great getting back there to defend! I won possession and, of course in those days you could pass the ball back to the keeper. I just tried to get it back to Alan but ended up chipping the ball into the top corner. However, despite that moment it was a magnificent experience to play against Ajax Amsterdam.
Where does the double fit in your career?
At the top . So many great players can go through their entire careers without winning anything. I remember the Cup Final day and what a great feeling it was.
You also played in Europe against Red Star Belgrade…
Yes that was a fantastic experience. I remember we trained full-time for a week at that time. The Red Star stadium was full of Army personnel.
You decided to leave Dundalk to join Shelbourne in 1990. Why did you leave?
Pat Byrne had become manager at Shelbourne and they were becoming much more professional. Pat persuaded me to join him at Shelbourne. It was the biggest mistake of my career. Shels were trying to become a much more professional outfit but they were not in the same league as Dundalk yet.
You came back on the first day of the 1990/91 season and scored four goals in a 5-1 win…
Yes but I was in tears in the dressing room afterwards. I loved my time at Dundalk and it became clear as the season went on what a mistake I had made. Shelbourne’s challenge waned and Dundalk went on to win the league. I really wish i had stayed.