Shepherd’s Removal Signals New Era at Newcastle

Freddy Shepherd was replaced as chairman of Newcastle United yesterday by his deputy Chris Mort, who is Mike Ashley’s top man at the club.

Shepherd and his family of course sold their 28 percent stake in the club to Ashley who runs Britain’s biggest sports retailer, Sports Direct.

The Newcastle takeover became fully effective when Ashley last week finally acquired all the shares of Newcastle United PLC and took the club off the stock market and into private ownership after ten years as a public company.


Freddy Shepherd

The appointment completes the overhaul at the top of the club since the end of last season when Newcastle finished a disappointing 13th in the table with only 43 points – their lowest points total ever in the Premiership.

New Chairman Chris Mort was quoted as saying on the club’s official Web site

“I am delighted to become chairman of such a fabulous club,”

“Since arriving at St James’ Park I have been hugely encouraged by the warm welcome I have received from fans.”

“The strategic review of the club is going well and, with the new season fast approaching, we feel the time is right to make the change.”

This marks the end of one era and the beginning of another hopefully more successful one at Newcastle United. Certainly the fans are hoping so.

A source close to Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was also quoted as saying:

“Mike felt that it was in the best interests of everyone to have a fresh start at the club.”“He had always wanted to bring his own men in and now he feels it’s the right time to do it.

From what he saw, Freddy is dispensable.”

“Sam Allardyce’s contacts in the football world are second to none and while Mike appreciates Freddy’s passion for Newcastle it was time for a change.”

The 10 year reign of Shepherd as Newcastle Chairman was not very successful and the image of Newcastle United went on a downward spiral. After taking over the Chairmanship from Sir John Hall on December 1st, 1997, Shepherd was caught mocking the club’s supporters to undercover reporters and claimed that talisman Alan Shearer was the Mary Poppins of football.

Freddy made some bad choices for managers including Kenny Dalglish, Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness with none of these lasting more than a season and a half. The many managers appointed and sacked by Shepherd didn’t help the stability of the club of course.

The best manager Shepherd appointed was Sir Bobby Robson without doubt – and we had a good five years of coming back towards the top and finishing 4th, 3rd and 5th in the Premiership in successive years. Shepherd once famously said ‘You don’t sack Bobby Robson’ and then sacked him at the start of the 2004-2005 season. Unfortunately Shepherd sacked Dalglish, Gullit and Robson at the start of the season after they had just brought in their own players. That didn’t make it easy for the next manager coming in and was hardly good business management by Freddy.

Rather than the end of an era – Newcastle fans will signal this as the beginning of a new era under English Billionaire owner Mike Ashley and Chairman Chris Mort. With Sam Allardyce appointed manager and having overhauled both the team and the back-room staff we are all hoping for much better times at Newcastle.

It is clear we need to lift the image of the club but we feel that is already happening with Chris Mort seeming to run the club professionally and Sam knowing exactly what he has to do as manager.

Freddy Shepherd was a mad keen Newcastle supporter – there is little doubt about that – and he would have loved to have brought Newcastle success – but for whatever reasons he didn’t possess the ability to ever stabilize the club. At the end the Newcastle fans in truth were glad to see him go – that’s his unfortunate legacy at the club.

Comments welcome.

19 comments so far

  • Rich

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:13 AM

    Comment #1

    the beast is dead! finally!!!!

    now all we need is some more signings and ill be happy.

    linked with Curtis Davies, Brad Hagelaand & Nicky Shorey this morning i would be a bit happier if we landed all 3, two solid prem defenders & one promising under 21.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:18 AM

    Comment #2

    Rich – yes – we need some signings this week.

  • Arthur Prince

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:25 AM

    Comment #3

    I agree Rich all 3 you mention would be good and Sol Campbell but that seems unlikely . A Deco pounce whilst Barca are in Scotland would help also !! Also not likely though but now that the new MA era is hear I expect to see the cash for BSA rolled out PDQ . Not lon to the new season and injuries still haunt us .

  • Josh

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #4

    Where was the link with those defenders Rich!

  • Ian

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:36 AM

    Comment #5

    Well lets hope this is the start of the new money being spent as its getting a little late in the day to be scurrying around for defenders.

    Anyway while Shepherd may have been a born and bred geordie, I can’t ever forgive him the comments made from a Spanish brothel about the female fans being “dogs”, describing striker Alan Shearer as the “Mary Poppins of football”, and mocking the fans for spending £45 for a replica shirt. The man should have gone then, but decided to stay to line his pockets even further.

    Good riddance!!!

  • Ian

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:36 AM

    Comment #6

    Let’s get behind Big Sam and the New NUFC, and hope we spend well on minimum three defenders this week. Our goalkeepers, midfield and attack look good, and now need a defence to move this club foward.

    Come on Ash and Mort, please give Sam the cash to take this club back into Europe…..

  • paul p

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:44 AM

    Comment #7

    lets hope we now bring in the players we need to get us anywhere. we need shorey/baines defo, davies, hanegelaand is a good start. ledley king/cambell/gallas would be even better though, prem experience is what we need. still need a right back as well. am not going to get excited though until we have bought more players, but ashley has turned around and said expect top world class names to come in apparently, so a friend text me last night. that cud be anything then!!!

  • Gavin

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #8

    Good to hear we’re finally being linked with more defenders after a very quiet spell there for a while. However, looks like Shorey may be signing a new contract with Reading, if you believe the Daily Mirror. I think we can beat Aston Villa to the signature of Hangeland if he wants to come to England and I have a slight feeling Davies could be on his way to Newcastle soon enough.

  • Ross G

    Jul 25, 2007 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #9

    i think the davies link could be likely as he fits the bill having some prem experience, he is my most wanted defender in the market right now it really makes sense to have him another steven taylor young with it all ahead he also is a captain and would put in a real go to start and mabe should from what I have seen from Rozehnal. Most IMPORTANTLY in this deal is this West Brom are in the middle of a deal for Luton CB Leon Barnett for £3m as a replacement, maybe an agreement is already in place, i hope so.

  • evil dick

    Jul 25, 2007 at 9:04 AM

    Comment #10

    what does he mean by ‘mary poppins of football’ anyway?

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 25, 2007 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #11

    Means he’s a goody two shoes – does everything right etc….

  • nightfall

    Jul 25, 2007 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #12

    Shepherd was not all thet bad…he always gave money for transfers… he brought some great players to the club… i just don’t know what he was thinkig when he decided to appoint roeder and souness as managers…

  • Len Smith

    Jul 25, 2007 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #13

    Firstly Shepherd: local peasant who made it as a scrap dealer now looks to me like a rather sad figure who desperately wanted to be liked but ended up being despised. Second players: we need a major reality check here. No world class player with any ambition is going to choose serial underachievers and just above the relegation zone NUFC ahead of Barca or Juve. We are going to have to work very hard to get back into the top 10, then Euro Vase, then maybe top 4 and Big Cup. Building the team as we go. Which means sensible buys at a realistic price so we dont get stuck with players as we move up. Panic buying of hyped players is one of many things that has held us back for years. We are going to have to be patient.

  • david veitch

    Jul 25, 2007 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #14

    Len your dead right, patients and a steady and undramatic move forward. Increasing the ability levels of the players year on year.

  • Obafan

    Jul 25, 2007 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #15

    Len – I also agree that we have to be patient on building a new team which can go higher on the EPL table.

    The players we are linked with today looks like a step in the good direction, as it seems that something is happening. For me those players (Davies and Hangeland) are not my preferred targets, but that also is because I don’t know them, especially Hangeland. Yesterday I’ve read coments that Davies could be a second Bramble, I surely hope not.

    I hope that if they sign that they are going to be players from who BS can build a good squad.

  • Stami

    Jul 25, 2007 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #16

    Len, SPOT ON MATE! we cant expect magic in the 1st season, we have just had our entire club refurbished. the staff still have to figure out the workings of eachother, its not going to all just fall straight into place. expect it to be bloody hard work, but that is why we have BSA! the man with the plan

  • Rich

    Jul 25, 2007 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #17

    @Josh –

    we are linked with those 3 players through various newspapers, its all on the bbc football gossip collum, although it does say it looks like Shorey might snub us and the Villans to stay at Reading… but i cant see why, if we had an offer accepted and offered him good money why would he want to stay at Reading?

  • Bluegeordie

    Jul 25, 2007 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #18

    Lads, this is my first post on a site that I love reading , but at the risk of coming across as a miserable bast – I mean person – I’m going to have to be brutal regarding Fat Fred and his legacy. My view about his leaving can be summed up in 5 words – “good riddance to bad rubbish”. Over the years, I feel he has shamelessly used our club as a cash cow for him and his family, whilst getting more managerial appointments wrong than right, interfering far too much in footballing matters (including transfers), and insulting the fans and regularly embarrassing the club along the way. Okay, he provided money for the managers he appointed, but crucially this was not his money, and he’s taken out far, far, far more from NUFC than he ever put in. My only hope now is that the new regime can exorcise the ghost of Fat Fred as s oon as possible, by ushering in a brand new culture of genuine professionalism, and I’m delighted that they already seem well on the way to doing just that. The best thing about Freddy’s reign is that it is (finally) over! End of rant 😉

  • Bluegeordie

    Jul 25, 2007 at 6:19 PM

    Comment #19

    P.S. In the wake of Fat Fred’s recent departure, I can’t quite believe that the official NUFC website has a story entitled “Who’ll Eat All The Pies?”,,10278~1078969,00.html

    A mere coincidence, or someone in the web team with a sense of humour, engaging in a piece of good old passive aggression? I know which I’d put my money on.


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