‘I think I would have helped massively’: Newcastle new boy Ryan Fraser claims Bournemouth could have avoided Premier League relegation had he not turned down a short-term contract to stay on last season
- Ryan Fraser defended his choice to reject a contract extension at Bournemouth
- The 26-year-old joined Newcastle this week as a free agent after walking away
- Fraser believes he could have stopped Bournemouth’s relegation had he stayed
- The Scotland international was heavily criticised by supporters for the decision
Ryan Fraser says Bournemouth probably would have avoided Premier League relegation had he played during the final weeks of the season – but has defended his decision to reject a short-term contract.
The 26-year-old, who joined Newcastle on a free transfer this week, left the Cherries in June and did not feature in any of their nine matches following restart.
Fraser was heavily criticised by Bournemouth supporters after turning down the offer to play during their battle for survival and the team were eventually relegated by one point.
Newcastle star Ryan Fraser says he could have stopped Bournemouth’s drop had he stayed
Fraser turned down a short-term extension and Eddie Howe then departed after the relegation
The Scotland international insists he had to protect his own interests with his contract having expired, but says there is also frustration because he knows his presence would have made a difference.
‘My contract was done so it’s not like I refused to play any games,’ he said. ‘Nobody saw this virus coming. If the virus didn’t come I would have played every game under my contract.
‘Some lads in the Premier League signed an extension, and fair play to them. But for me, at my age, knowing that this club wanted me, it was just a decision I had to make.
The Scottish winger believes he had to protect his own interests with his deal having run down
‘I got battered for it. Everyone has got their opinions but, at the end of the day, I need to look after myself.
‘The worst thing is that I didn’t want them to go down – it would have been a lot easier if they had stayed up. With me playing, without being big headed, I think I would have helped massively.
‘I’m not going to sit here and say I wasn’t sad. I was gutted. With the years I had there, coming from League One to the Premier League, it was never how I wanted to end it.
Fraser spoke to Howe recently about his divisive decision and says there are no ‘hard feelings’
‘But at the same time, I worked so hard during lockdown – not just physically but mentally, reading books on how to come back stronger. Coming to a place like this with 50-odd thousand fans, the city buzzing, I needed to get used to that and be ready for that – and that’s definitely something I’m ready for now.’
Eddie Howe, who signed Fraser from Aberdeen in 2013, left the club following relegation. However, the winger says there are no issues with his former boss.
‘Two weeks ago I met Eddie in a coffee shop and spoke to him for about an hour,’ said Fraser. ‘There are no hard feelings with me and them (the club) – it’s obviously the fans, who wanted me to play.
After heading to Newcastle, Fraser insists achieving a top-half finish this season is possible
‘I’ve made a decision now and I want to put it past me. I want to start this new project, and I just want to show everybody what I’m about and start making new history.’
And Fraser believes a top-half finish under Steve Bruce is achievable for his new club.
‘I think top 10, we can get in there,’ he said. ‘The top six right now, the money spent, the players… but there’s no reason (why not) in years to come, with the players we’ve got and the manager we’ve got.’
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