Jermaine Jenas is adamant he made the "right decision" in choosing Newcastle United over the more "glamorous" option of Manchester United back in February 2002. Then an 18-year-old at Nottingham Forest, the former England midfielder claims he had £5 million offers on the table from both Leeds United and the Magpies, as well as a £2 million bid from Man Utd. With then-Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson telling the midfielder he should move to Old Trafford because it was "an honour" to play for the Red Devils, Jenas instead decided to head to St James' Park in order to feature week-in, week-out for Newcastle as Sir Bobby Robson had promised him he would. After arriving in the North East for £5 million in February 2002, Jenas went on to play 152 times for Newcastle, scoring on 12 occasions before Tottenham Hotspur tempted him away from the "goldfish bowl" of Tyneside as the midfielder described it in 2005. Capped 21 times by England, Jenas believes the international recognition he received after moving to Newcastle vindicated his decision to turn down Man Utd - just as Alan Shearer did in order to return home in 1996. Writing in his Yahoo Sport column, BBC pundit Jenas said:
"When Forest manager Paul Hart called me into his office when I was 18, he told me that Leeds and Newcastle had made £5 million bids for me and Man Utd had bid £2 million - (Man) United's offer was lower because Alex Ferguson had apparently said playing for the club was 'an honour'.
"I got the feeling I'd have to wait for my chance at Man Utd, but Newcastle was different. Sir Bobby (Robson) told me: 'You'll be playing, son. I need you. I want you starting,' and that resonated.
"Man Utd were the more glamorous option, and even now some people might say I should have gone to Old Trafford and given it a go, but I still believe I made the right decision.
"I went to Newcastle, started matches and within a year I was playing for England."
NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.