Just when we were thinking this has been probably the best 2 weeks for Newcastle fans for at least 10 years – Freddy Shepherd’s initial reaction to Mike Ashley’s rather sensational buy-out of Sir John Hall’s shares – is one of defiance.
Shepherd has always said he would only sell if it was in the best interests of Newcastle United (as it should be) – but not to put too fine a point on it – fans really know heâ€™ll sell when its in the best interests of himself and not Newcastleâ€™s.
Mike Ashley and Freddy Shepherd
Both Shepherd and Hall will make a handy profit on their sales – Sit John Hall landed around â‚¤55M yesterday and his investment back in 1992 is estimated to have been no more than â‚¤3M – so this transaction alone gives Sir John over â‚¤50M profit on Newcastle.
Freddy Shepherd would apparently make around â‚¤30M profit if he sold his shares.
However the initial reaction from Shepherd has not been warm.
Here’s what Freddy said about the bid:
“There is nothing Mike Ashley can do with this club unless he gets a 75% stake.
“He can’t take full control, he can’t change resolutions or the club’s articles of association.
“He has spent Â£50m but he will have to spend a whole lot more, as he must now make an offer not just for my shares but the shares held by all the other shareholders.”
Now we know why Shepherd carefully ensured he had more than a 25% stake in Newcastle – so he could be the lynch pin on any deal.
Notice that his statement doesn’t even address whether it will be a good thing for Newcastle or not – and to us it is simply a ploy for him to extract more from Ashley – which by the way is not unusual in takeover attempts – but strikes us as particularly greedy.
The fans reaction has been very positive and if Shepherd plays possum – the fans have every right to protest – for the good of the club – to get Shepherd out.
If Shepherd really was truthful when he said he would sell to a “Geordie Abramovich” – then this is it – and we think he should sell – and will – if enough pressure is applied.