As we reported last week Mike Ashley will shortly be appointing an executive to conduct a thorough, objective and strategic review of the Newcastle United Football Club, which will also examine the club’s business practices. From what he has seen so far Ashley is probably unimpressed with Newcastle’s business practices.
The review should be interesting and will probably unveil at least some new news about what goes on at Newcastle.Â Ashley is expected to appoint a member of his staff to conduct the review which will also consider the findings of Lord Stevens’ recent report where 8 of the 17 deals his company, Quest, refused to sign off on involved Newcastle or Allardyce.
It has already been reported that Mike Ashley and Sam Allardyce are rather dismayed at the existence of buy-out clauses in our two most recent big buys â€“ Owen and Martins. Ashley is now aware of the details of these and is said to be unimpressed. The upcoming review will look at every aspect of the club and will need to examine the future of Shepherd who still holds the role of chairman – and now wants to take on a chief executive’s role.
Chairman Freddy Shepherd
Since Freddy Shepherd â€“ as revealed by Graeme Souness handled all the transfers â€“ the responsibility for these out-clauses in contracts lies at the feet of Shepherd. Some reports are even suggesting this will give Ashley real cause to remove Shepherd from his post as Chairman. Of course â€“ being Freddy â€“ there’s no way he would go without getting a payoff â€“ so even at the end he would be taking money out of the club.
The sacking of Shepherd may be a good move for Ashley â€“ so that he can have a fresh start at the club. Shepherd and Douglas Hall both have two year extensions to their contracts â€“ if they are sacked. It would appear this is what they are serving out right now. To think these two could get clauses like this into their individual contracts shows little oversight at the club and is also little short of scandalous.
On the playing side Allardyce is said to be deeply concerned that Owen’s heart is not in staying on Tyneside.Â As reported yesterday Manchester City may be the first club to test Owen’s will – especially if, as expected, Sven Goran Eriksson becomes manager. But why Owen would move to Manchester City is beyond us â€“ other than to be closer to his home.
It seems the way Newcastle United conduct their business in the future will be a lot more business like and professional under Ashley -and that’s exactly the way it should be.