SPANISH misfit Marcelino has issued a stinging broadside at Newcastle United and manager Sir Bobby Robson.

And the Magpies have revealed the centre-back, whose three and a half years on Tyneside ended last week, has gone against a confidentiality clause to take a swipe at the club.

Marcelino, who made just 19 starts for Newcastle, received a massive pay-off deal to finally turn his back on the Premiership.

But the 31-year-old has stunned Newcastle by deciding to break his silence on his time in the North-East.

And Marcelino also chose to lay into the Geordie faithful and he insisted he wishes he never moved from Real Mallorca for £5.8m in July 1999.

"When I arrived the fans called me a thieving Spaniard and a gypsy who was robbing the club's cash," said the former Spanish international.

"From a professional point of view, England could not have been a worse choice for me.

"I began there full of hope and with an open heart but I soon became disillusioned - English fans value a good tackle more highly than a piece of skill or a good trick and they would rather see a clash of heads than some intelligent play."

Marcelino also claimed that he has never been able to get along with boss Robson and he was never able to build up a good relationship with the Englishmen in the squad.

"My relationship with the manager was also not good," he added. "He and I used to tell each other what we thought but he was the man in charge and I was the subordinate and I couldn't do anything to change his decisions.

"In the end, I shut myself away in my own little world with those teammates who spoke my language or who shared my Mediterranean culture."

The confidentiality clauses signed by both parties last week, before the player left, were necessary because of the bad vibes during Marcelino's stay at Newcastle.

He cost the club more than £700,000 a game in fees and wages for his few appearances in a United shirt.

And Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd admits he has been left annoyed by what the defender has had to say. He said: "I am surprised and extremely disappointed that Marcelino has seen fit to have a go at a club which looked after him so well."

Newcastle have been linked with a move for Bastia's defensive midfielder Mickael Essien.

The Ghanaian international was understood to have been watched by officials from St James' Park last weekend during Bastia's Le Championnat clash with Monaco.

Robson's priority remains a centre-back but he is on the look out for a midfielder after injury ruled out influential Gary Speed.

The Newcastle boss is thought to have switched his attentions to Essien after being priced out of a move for Bordeaux midfielder Alexei Smertin.

Meanwhile, Livingston boss Jim Leishman is to run the rule over Newcastle youngsters Aaron Labonte and Tommy English.

* An injury time goal from Chris Shuker ruined Titus Bramble's comeback as United's second string lost 3-2 against Manchester City last night.

In front of ex-Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan, United came from two goals down and were only seconds away from a point when Shuker struck.

The home side were well on top in a drab opening half, and after Mattias Vuoso and Paul Ritchie both had efforts saved it was Djamel Belmadi who fired the hosts in front from 30 yards.

Lomana LuaLua saw a header from 12 yards flash just wide nine minutes before the interval, then Robbie Elliott's 20 yard free-kick was easily gathered by Nicky Weaver on the stroke of half-time.

But United started the second half well and Carl Cort registered their first effort on goal with a looping header that was saved by Weaver.

But it was City who doubled their lead on 64 minutes when former Preston striker Jon Macken found space inside the box and he rifled the ball past Steve Harper.

Coach Tommy Craig replaced the ineffective Christian Bassedas with Diego Gavilan on 62 minutes and two minutes later the Magpies' halved the deficit. Bradley Orr picked the ball up 20 yards out and curled a fine effort over Weaver. LuaLua had an effort saved by Weaver on 73 minutes but he made no mistake from the spot two minutes later after being bundled over in the box.

Both sides created half chances in the closing stages but it was City who stole all three points when Shuker turned in Belmadi's cross from eight yards in injurytime.

Newcastle: Harper, Brennan, Elliott, Bramble, Taylor, Orr, LuaLua, Kerr, Cort, Chopra (Kendrick 70), Bassedas (Gavilan 62). Subs (not used): Smith, Ramage, Ferrell.

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