Newcastle United Raided By Police


This is about the last thing we wanted to hear – that the BBC and almost every news channel is reporting that Police have raided three football clubs as part of an investigation into alleged corruption in football.

Newcastle United, Portsmouth and Rangers are believed to be the three clubs involved.

To be really clear – Newcastle United is definitely one of the clubs raided – and this is not good for the image of our club.

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The operation is not said to be connected to Lord Stevens’ ongoing Quest inquiry into the Premiership and was totally independent.

Detectives from the economic crime unit at City of London Police are investigating allegations of corruption within football and its impact on owners and shareholders.

While the raids may not be connected to Lord Stevens inquiry as such – the BBC said today it had learned that information about the 17 player transfers had been passed on to the City of London Police by the Quest team. Last month, London Police arrested a 61-year-old man in Manchester on suspicion of money laundering.

So while the actions were not connected directly to the Stevens investigation it appears that information from the Quest inquiry was used by the London Police to identify what and whom they wanted to raid today. Search warrants were executed on the club premises and two homes between 0730 and 0900 BST.

A City of London Police spokesman said:

“We can confirm that search warrants were served at three football clubs and the homes of two individuals in connection with corruption in football and its impact on owners and shareholders.”

Newcastle United issued a statement confirming that indeed the club was visited by police.

Newcastle United can confirm that it was visited this morning (Monday, July 16) by the City of London Police.

The Club itself is not the subject of the investigation.

If the investigation by the City of London Police, or the ongoing internal review of operations by the Club’s new owners, show that the Club has been the victim of any criminal activity, the Club will take appropriate action.

A Northumbria Police spokesman also confirmed they were aware that an operation had been carried out by their London colleagues at St James’ Park.

The club is not involved with this – because it is the agents and others not connected to the club -that have had the suspect transfer dealings. However, it certainly hasn’t stopped the club’s name being dragged through the gutter every time these activities are mentioned.

As background to this disturbing story here are the transfers Newcastle were involved in – with the reasons the Stevens inquiry will not sign off on them:

  1. The inquiry has not been able to sign off two transfers involving Francis Martin. In the transfer of Albert Luque (to Newcastle United), the licensed agent acting on the club’s behalf was Eugenio Botas. However, the inquiry still has unanswered questions relating to possible payments made by Francis Martin, who Newcastle officials believed was working for the selling club.
  2. The following three other transfers remain uncleared: Emre Belözoglu (to Newcastle); Jean-Alain Boumsong (to Newcastle); Amdy Faye (to Newcastle). Again we have found no evidence to suggest any irregular payments by or to club officials relating to the above transfers and Newcastle officials cooperated fully with the inquiry and gave full access to documentation. However, there remain inconsistencies in evidence provided by Graeme Souness (a former manager of the club) and Kenneth Shepherd (apparently acting in an undefined role but not as a club official) as to their respective roles in transfer negotiations.

The actual transfers involving Newcastle that require further investigation by Lord Stevens – after being identified as suspect – are specifically:

  1. Alberto Luque, Deportivo La Coruña to Newcastle United, £9.5 million, 2005
  2. Emre Belözoglu, Inter Milan to Newcastle, £3.8 million, 2005
  3. Jean-Alain Boumsong, Rangers to Newcastle, £8 million, 2005
  4. Amdy Faye, Portsmouth to Newcastle, £2 million, 2005

This is indeed very bad news for the club. At a time when Mike Ashley, Chris Mort and Sam Allardcye are setting about not only to make Newcastle United a good team that can challenge for real honors – but also they have shown how good and efficient businessmen they are. Certainly the image of the club was on an upward spiral these last two months – and this is a blow to the image of the club.

While these things happened before the new regime came into power at St. James’ – they will possibly tie up Chris Mort and other executives at Newcastle for a lot longer than we’d like.

The best thing that can happen here is that this action by the police and any follow-up activities are executed quickly (but this is unlikely). Whoever has done any wrong-doing in these affairs obviously needs to be brought to justice as quickly as possible. But this inquiry and now other actions presumably attached to the evidence collected – has been dangling over English football for far too long – surely these investigations don’t take this long to bring to a conclusion.

We’ve got to think that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley must have choked on his lunch once he heard this news. This is simply not good for the Newcastle United club.



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38 comments so far

  • Craig

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:25 PM

    Comment #1

    Shepherd and Souness watch out!

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  • Neil

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:26 PM

    Comment #2

    CURSED!

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  • Evan

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:29 PM

    Comment #3

    Didn’t the report from the club state that NUFC was not the subject of the investigation? We may have been the victims, but I see their statement as washing away any claims that Newcastle was at fault… maybe I am just delusional?

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:30 PM

    Comment #4

    Note that the club is under no suspicion here – it’s the agents and others who have had the shady dealings. However the club is dragged through the gutter with this scandal.

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:31 PM

    Comment #5

    Evan – see my bit above — you’re right – i’ve added a piece in the report above – Newcastle United is not under any suspicion here – it’s the shady agents and others – not working on behalf of the club. But you wouldn’t believe it the way it’s always reported.

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #6

    This Stevens report has to wrap up quickly and either bring legal charges or go away – it’s got nearly everyone and everything under suspicion – but has brought no legal charges yet.
    We believe the above raids used data provided to police by the Stevens report.

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  • rob the geordie

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:35 PM

    Comment #7

    what does or could this mean for the club,i couldnt give a rats naff about shepherd and souness but what i do care about is newcastle and both friends and other football fans are speculating that this could end up with us gettin a points deduction or even relegation,but then again im not sure if we as a club have done anything wrong…talk about been brought back down to earth lol

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  • Evan

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:44 PM

    Comment #8

    This is, without a doubt, an obstacle for the club right now. Morale has been extremely high in training and in the boardroom and to see it diminish before the beginning of this season would be a huge blow. It will be interesting to see how Chris Mort, BSA, and Mike Ashley handle this situation. If the past month and a half is any indication of how it will be handled, then I have confidence that it should be over sooner than later. I don’t mean to instill false hope, but as Ed and I said before, the club is not in any trouble.

    I am assuming that the investigations this morning were strictly for the purpose of looking at our records of the questionable transfers in order to look for inconsistencies. It should be interesting to see how all of this turns out.

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #9

    rob – i’m sure it will not come to that.

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:50 PM

    Comment #10

    Evan – that last paragraph is exactly right as far as we are concerned – they want to get to the official records – but why did they have to raid the club to do this? The way this is being reported you would think the Newcastle top brass would all be in jail tomorrow 🙁

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  • Evan

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:53 PM

    Comment #11

    Ed – I agree. Every major news source is stating that St. James’ Park was “raided”. I don’t think that this is the best word considering the circumstances. You think they would be a bit more careful with their word choice.

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  • rob the geordie

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #12

    yea and judging by our official statement its got me even more worried,it seems to me they have jumped straight on the defensive when they say we as a club are not been investigated and if there is any evidence of anyone makin a criminal offence against newcastle we will take that further ourselves…where as rangers simply said we have cooperated with the police and the police do not wish for us to say anything else

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  • rob the geordie

    Jul 16, 2007 at 6:57 PM

    Comment #13

    am i just been silly and readin into things to much lol

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  • Phil

    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:02 PM

    Comment #14

    Raid, is a pejorative word used by the media. It means they turned up without announcing themselves which is no big surprise since they would not want to give anyone a chance to cover tracks or perhaps make a warning phone call to a friend. But as Evan says all they wanted was to look at the books. Sounds to me like NUFC have been the victims rather than the perpetrator and am I the only one thinking that the other two clubs being Rangers and Portsmouth brings the Boumsong and Faye transfers into the picture. Anyone who would pay £8 million for Boumsong only 6 months after he arrived at Rangers on a free transfer would have to be deemed ‘worthy of investigation’ 🙂

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  • Tim

    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:07 PM

    Comment #15

    Sad times for Newcastle…just when you thought things were finally going in the right direction

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  • bob

    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:07 PM

    Comment #16

    lol if we are the victims of sumthing wouldnt mind getting our money back for the luque and boumsong deals haha but as things looked as everything was finally goin well summin else comes up which is a rite kick in the balls

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  • Callum

    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:49 PM

    Comment #17

    They’re investigating why Newcastle would pay 8million pounds for someone like Boumsong, thats the biggest mystery of all!!

    :p

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  • Gateshead Glenn

    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:49 PM

    Comment #18

    I really do hope that NUFC are simply the victim in this case and that all those people under investigation are unscrupulous agents, former employees, etc.

    However, it seems a bit odd to ‘raid’ the home of the supposed injured party? If NUFC itself (or certain key officials) were not under suspicion and were cooperating voluntarily with the police investigation, then there would be no need for Search Warrants to be served.

    As the West Ham case showed, clubs can still be punished even for offences committed by previous owners / officials. If these alleged offences simply resulted in the Inland Revenue, the club (and us fans being ripped-off, then we should be OK as the individual offender/s will be punished? If the club itself benefited from signing players by making illegal payments, then NUFC could still be liable even under new ownership / management.

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  • Rob Kirton

    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:55 PM

    Comment #19

    If it is about money laundering as suggested in some quaters, the club have categoric proof; after all the transfer of Boumsong cannot have been for football purposes :0)

    Come to think about it what about Luque and Faye?

    I’ll be driving past Freddy’s house tomorrow morning about nine O’clock. I’ll report back if I see any action…. :0)

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  • Graham

    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:56 PM

    Comment #20

    The club may not be involved but Shepherd? Bent as an arabs dagger me thinks!

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  • noel

    Jul 16, 2007 at 8:00 PM

    Comment #21

    Rather pointless on the behalf of the police and Newcastle knew this was coming which was why the younger shepherd was removed from the board last week. The club has no attachment to this and as they say there is no such thing as bad publicity. The warrent would have had to be serverd to allow the police to take any records so the only problem ere is the reporting of this. Also we can be pretty sure that any deals from now will need to be squeaky clean so we will only be spending money on players hopefully not agents.

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 16, 2007 at 8:09 PM

    Comment #22

    Noel – that’s the good thing – from now on there’ll be none of this nonsense going on – we really need to be squeaky clean as you say.

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  • t-g-w

    Jul 16, 2007 at 8:11 PM

    Comment #23

    Slightly off topic, but who are we going to sign? Allardyce has ruled out “galacticos”, Quedrue, Duscher, Fanni and has said Henize looks unlikely… One new player we have been linked with is – not Cannavaro but the man described as Italy’s next brilliant defender by Cannavaro – Andrea Barzagli. Reported £11 million and has attracted interest from Fiorentina and Juventus. Anyone know anymore about him? Ed? Seems a lot of money but may be worth a risk.

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  • Graham

    Jul 16, 2007 at 8:24 PM

    Comment #24

    t-g-w it seems like certain past members of the NUFC board need to sign a good lawyer – and quickly!

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  • Howie

    Jul 16, 2007 at 8:37 PM

    Comment #25

    Am glad Sam has ruled out Queudrue. Not good enough in my mind. I was worried about our previous managers in the transfer market but even though the Bolton game is only 26 days away I am fully confident we will have a quality backline for that game with 2 new full backs and another centre half in by then. Not sure if he wants another midfielder in though which I think is slightly worrying because we only really have Butt for the holding role.

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  • Big Sam Fan

    Jul 16, 2007 at 8:43 PM

    Comment #26

    i think its funny how the players involved with the investigation ahve all turned out to be naff, emre is the best of the four and thats saying ALOT!!!!
    Freddy probably isnt to blame cos the guy hasnt got two brain cells between those big ears and Fat Old Woman features. Its Souness we should never of trusted that scouser. The guy should of been well overlooked when we got him!!!!
    i never liked the guy and hope he is the man the police get along with those rip off agents. Also dragging Rangers and Portsmouth down will do nicely aswell!!!!!

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  • Dave

    Jul 16, 2007 at 9:38 PM

    Comment #27

    I think that aslong as Sam and the new owners/board are in the clear we should be OK? We can weather any retrospective fines and I doubt that any corruption littigation would end up in the FA docking points…we are under a new regime after all.

    One thing that could happen is that if Shepherd is the one, then his time at NUFC is even more limited than we all thought anyway.

    Man I hope that this doesn’t affect our season, I was brimming with optimism and now….

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  • Dave

    Jul 16, 2007 at 10:02 PM

    Comment #28

    Ed and Evans…I don’t think we should read too much into the words ‘raided’. These ‘raids’ are yes, at a moments notice, but often no more than whipping a few files away and the odd lap top.

    Lets not over react (and I’m prepared to back down on this one…), I think the new owners, if they are as business savy as we seem to think will be fully aware of any potential club damaging situations. They have afterall spent a hell of a lot of money aquiring us.

    One or two, probably old faces, might have fingers pointed at them but I beleive the CLUB will ride the storm. We did after all survive Dalglish, Gullit, Souness and Roeder, a hell of a storm.

    Stay cheerful chaps,

    Dave

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  • Dave

    Jul 16, 2007 at 10:07 PM

    Comment #29

    Way off topic…official club release about Oba
    http://www.nufc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10278~1074021,00.html
    I think we’re OK.

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  • AB

    Jul 16, 2007 at 10:10 PM

    Comment #30

    I can’t believe you’ve not mentioned McKay in this article! He was the agent in the Boumsong (Rangers-Toon) and Faye (Pompey-Toon) deals, as well as being involved in the Aliou Cisse and Benjani Portsmouth transfers too. The guy is as bent as last season’s Charlton strikers!

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  • AB

    Jul 16, 2007 at 10:18 PM

    Comment #31

    Oh and I know its a tad convoluted but wouldn’t it be amusing for Ashley to have kept Shepherd in his Chairman role knowing all this might unfold? I mean what better excuse to sack someone for gross misconduct and thus waive the £2M he had written into his contract 😉

    Even if that wasn’t in his grand plan, I hope he reads this. We could put the £2M saved on top of the 2-3M earmarked for Queudrue and buy a proper left back!

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  • Ged

    Jul 16, 2007 at 10:30 PM

    Comment #32

    ….I can’t help but think of smoke and fires when it comes to these stories…….I think fat Fred has been in the driving seat at NUFC so long that he may have become over confident in his own impunity…..add a touch of self interest/greed/arrogance/ego and we have a big fat financial scandal in the making!!!!!

    I worry that if found guilty of financial irregularities we will suffer much harsher treatment than West Ham especially as the Southern loving national press will certainly feed on this story for days/weeks to come………your club turns a corner and runs straight into a bloody brick wall!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I for one am worried

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  • Dave

    Jul 16, 2007 at 10:35 PM

    Comment #33

    AB: I like it. The ultimate scapegoat. There’s an NZ band ‘Fat Freddy’s Drop’ great tunes…I feel the need to play some 🙂

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  • Dave

    Jul 16, 2007 at 10:45 PM

    Comment #34

    From nufc.com “According to eye witness reports in Jesmond Park West, one of the homes visited appears to be Freddy Shepherd’s residence – visited at 8.30am. This is still to be confirmed…. ”

    You’re all right!

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  • michael

    Jul 16, 2007 at 11:01 PM

    Comment #35

    The links are clear if you know the background.

    Willy MacKay – agent to Boumsong, Faye and Emre – is friendly with three key personnel. Harry Redknapp (Whom both own the same race horse), Graeme Souness (Former rangers man and fellow scot) and David Murray (Rangers chairman and multimillionaire who mysteriously bailed the gers out of bankruptency 18 months ago.) All 3 had major hands in the UK based transfers mentioned in the Stevens report. As for the Luque transfer and the chelski transfers, that will not be subjected to the same scrutiny by the british media.

    I suspect the “raids” were simply a coordinated visit from the peacekeepers at all 3 locations implicated by the stevens report. To prevent those involved disposing of evidence.

    Freddy Shepard is unlikely to be involved directly, however he appears to be involved because he has been taken for a fool on more than one occasion by Willie MacKay, no doubt introduced to him by Souness. This is explained by the fact that Fat Freddy has been sitting as chairman taking his audacious salary (reportedly 500,000-750,000 pounds a year) considering his actual lack of work. Couple this to the other huge salaries of Dougie Hall, and Ken Shepard (Of similar ilk). These men have milked the club through laziness, only shelling out enough for a “star” name when under pressure since the club was floated in 1997. Souness touched on this himself mentioning “tarting up the team” when the Stevens report was first released. It is also worth bearing in mind that since Sir John made us a plc, Freddy “backing his manager” has not cost him a penny from his own wallet.

    Perhaps not deliberately but the Shepards and Halls (Sir John excepted) have been happy to suck the life out of a club financially rewarding mediocrity.

    This current situation is probably a sting in order to gather info on Willy MacKay. However Shepards failures were likely legal, due in large part to greed and laziness. He is unlikely to face legal action i fear.

    Fears that Big Sam will be involved are unlikey to be realised. The man was venerated after the Panorama incident. And in any case the charges against him were effectively caused by his son’s stupidity as he attempted to become an agent.

    Thus Mike Ashley has saved us on two accounts. Firstly Fat Fred is likely to be questioned over his involvement, costing us precious time in the window. Something Sam talked about today. Secondly now the club is back in private ownership, he won’t make money unless we’re successful. Drive in the boardroom is as important on the field. Signing one good player a year (Owen, Martins, Woodgate) will not make us competetive at the top end.

    I finally feel like we’re back in the days were we signed Fox, Barton, Les and Ginola. Putting a team together, something we never did under Shepard!

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  • Craig

    Jul 16, 2007 at 11:44 PM

    Comment #36

    Well said, Michael.

    I do believe MacKay is heavily involved in all of this. Does Souness actually hold shares in Rangers FC? Smells fishy…

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  • michael

    Jul 17, 2007 at 12:17 AM

    Comment #37

    Not sure if he owns shares but he’s regarded by the gers as a hero up here. He is constantly put in the scottish media as the voice of the previous sucess of scottish football (from his time at liverpool and rangers) and has definite links with Murray. He was the man who won 4 titles in a row and started the ten in a row before Walte Smith won the other six. I wouldn’t be suprised if he was one of the backers of the cosortium behind the Wolves takeover that never happened. Of course that is purely speculation, but Gers tend to keep their own close. Just look at Walter Smith and McCoist.

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  • Pete

    Jul 17, 2007 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #38

    Of course Shepard will get off with it, he is not stupid. I know we all like to think that he is just a fat moron who has permantly trying to remove the foot from his mouth, but you don’t become as rich as he is without actully having some brains about you.

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