Broken promises, sackfuls of cash and a star departure... Andy Carroll's £35m move sparks fresh storm on Tyneside

Newcastle were blown out of the water by a 35 million pound Mersey missile. But did they see it coming?

They have cashed in on a player who cost them next to nothing and who is allegedly worth £20m more than Alan Shearer when he joined Newcastle 15 years ago. In 1992, for the record, one Kenny Dalglish paid Southampton £3.6m to sign Shearer for Blackburn. Nearly 10 times the value in 19 years.

Carroll has all the attributes to follow his hero into Premier League folklore and the plan was to do that wearing the shirt many thought Shearer had made his own. But this Carroll's his first full season at this level.

Big loss: Andy Carroll is unveiled at Liverpool after sealing his £35m exit from Newcastle

Big loss: Andy Carroll is unveiled at Liverpool after sealing his £35m exit from Newcastle

Handing him the shirt, and with it the responsibility, standing completely by him throughout all his off-field troubles, giving him the new five-year contract was the Newcastle regime's response to his obvious potential, and any concerns over his future.

Such acts, like the new contract for Joey Barton, were intended to help repair the irreparable damage caused by Chris Hughton's sacking, and the exits of Geordie legends before him. But now Carroll has gone, they find themselves in the middle of a new storm.

When, on his first day, Alan Pardew stated that Carroll would not be sold `at any price' he was believed. Here was the man hired by the owners as Hughton's replacement, and hardly the most popular appointment in the club's history. He promised he would stand up for himself in the boardroom.

Pardew knew he was putting his reputation on the line, and his standing among the supporters, when he said he had assurances from his new employers, that Carroll, and Barton, would not leave. `If you keep shipping them out, how can you become a big club?' he said.

My Daily Telegraph colleague Rob Stewart asked Pardew about Carroll's future in every single press conference since that original vow. In the end, Pardew would wearily answer his question and made light of Rob's persistence. Turns out Rob was right to pursue it.

Pardew cannot be happy about Monday's extraordinary events, especially with no replacement signed. His response at Tuesday's press conference will be fascinating.

Newcastle will deny accusations that they touted their striker round the Premier League, but, whether he was publicly or privately for sale or not, no one could surely have foreseen almost £40m on the table.

In mid-December, after Carroll had destroyed Liverpool, including one embarrassingly uninterested Fernando Torres, I wrote in this column that Pardew's promise was `wise but dangerous'. Mind you, I also said that £20m was an offer Newcastle would struggle to ignore. £35m? Of course they had to take it.

The blame game has already started, and Newcastle fans will doubtless point their fingers at the owners, rather than one of their own.

And the well-informed among them will have noted that claims that Carroll handed in a transfer request on Monday originated from the same TV `reporter' who kept assuring us that Newcastle were heavy-hearted participants in their player's exit.

Centre of the storm: Carroll arrives at the Liverpool's Melwood training ground

Centre of the storm: Carroll arrives at the Liverpool's Melwood training ground

Carroll's initial reluctance to abandon his club should be tempered by his first Liverpool wage pay-slip, as his advisers will have reminded him on the helicopter ride across the Pennines. Few Newcastle supporters would decry him his rewards. 

Like him, they would naturally just prefer to see him picking them up in black and white and seeing just a little more of him, having more time to judge him against the other greats who have also relished the honour of wearing that shirt.

And he did relish it. He was born to wear it, no question, and absolutely thrived in it. Stay totally focused, listen to Dalglish, and he will be a major success at Liverpool. Newcastle were intending to open fresh talks after the window closed. On reflection...

The majority of texts and emails I received from Newcastle fans carried the same sentiment. `You can't turn that kind of money down,' said Craig from Sacriston. `Gutted but never mind.'

That combination of resignation, devastation, more resignation, and a tinge of anger is the real shame behind Monday's extraordinary events.

Because the Newcastle of 2011 should have been able to fight off a bid from a club like Liverpool. But rather than building on nearly a decade of European football, they were playing catch-up the moment they were relegated.

The major concern now is that there doesn't seem to have been a Plan B. And if there was, it was simply too late to it into action, so it didn't come off. Let's face it, would you have helped them?

That means Plan C, which involves Shola Ameobi, Leon Best and Nile Ranger. And it puts extra pressure on Stephen Ireland, as if he really needed that as he tries to re-discover the form of two years ago when he was one of the best players in the country. Welcome to Newcastle, Stephen.

One man who will have some sympathy with Pardew is Sunderland boss Steve Bruce. Bruce admitted he didn't know what to do with himself on Monday afternoon, for once redundant, with his transfer business done.

Tough job: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew must now soldier on without his star striker

Tough job: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew must now soldier on without his star striker

He watched the last day drama at St James' Park unfold in his living room, no doubt relieved too. Bruce may have lost Darren Bent against his wishes, but at least he had days and not hours to cope with it.

He had to look abroad for two astute signings, and Stephane Sessegnon has the potential to fill many offensive gaps. Bruce has decided to gamble on the fitness of Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell next month. But then a bigger gamble would surely have been the purchase of Ricardo Fuller - remember he did sign Benjani a year ago.

They have a testing month ahead, starting with Chelsea at home tonight. Carlos Ancelotti's men will be seeking revenge and have at least two strikers out to make a point. At least Sunderland will not have to endure a Torres debut.

Bruce's Plan is P for Patience and he will scour the markets properly in the summer and spend the Bent money wisely. Europe is still the ultimate aim of course this season, but there is no doubt Bruce and Sunderland would rather be going into the final four months with Bent, just as everyone at Newcastle wishes Andy Carroll was still wearing their No 9 shirt. We all do.

Bent was the North East Football Writers' player of last year, Carroll was the young player, and like another previous winner, Middlesbrough's should-be captain David Wheater, they are no longer up here.

Say it quietly, but Monday was another blow for North East football.