Shepherd Statements So Self Serving


Freddy Shepherd, ousted last week as chairman of Newcastle United, has claimed his former close friends and boardroom colleagues Sir John Hall and his son Douglas Hall maliciously sold their shares to new owner Mike Ashley without telling him of their intentions.

We take a different view on this.

Let’s go through what Freddy has been saying and we’ll make our point.

freddy-shepherd-14.jpg

Freddy Shepherd

This behavior (of the Halls selling their shares without telling Freddy) was synonomous with the way Shepherd and the Halls always ran the club. It was always about their own interests – not Shepherd’s or the clubs. Don’t believe the propaganda they put out about they only sold because it was in the best interests of the club – no – they sold because they finally got the 100p per share they had been seeking.

When it was the right time for the Halls to get out they did – and left Shepherd in the lurch – because it was always about self interests.

In fact the old board (basically Shepherd and the Halls) were too busy worrying about how they were doing – with huge dividends being paid to them as share holders when Newcastle profits were miniscule. We think the club – in short – was being milked.

And why Shepherd wanted to put up a counter bid once Mike Ashley put in his bid belies belief.  Did Shepherd think fans wanted him to stay on as owner – or that Newcastle would be in better hadns by him staying ?  -  no way.

Let’s look at what Freddie Shepherd said last week:

“I was lying there with tubes, drains and all sorts sticking out all over when my brother, Bruce, came in and told me that John had arranged to sell his 40 per cent shareholding,”

“From where I saw it, the whole thing had been done behind my back. John nor Douglas had been in touch to inform me of their intentions. I was not aware of Ashley’s interest in the club. His name had never been mentioned.”

“There had been a few people expressing an interest in the club but he was never on my radar.”

“I felt disappointed by what had happened, especially remembering our past relationship.”

It almost wants to make you cry doesn’t it?  All we need are a few violins playing in the background for effect.  Anyway back to what Freddy was saying: 

“I was too ill to put up a fight,” “Had I not been in the state I was, if I hadn’t have been in hospital, things might have been different.”I believe I could have found enough backing to make a counter-bid but it was more or less a fait accompli.”

“If I had been fit I might have taken up the challenge but I was lying on my back without the strength to do anything.”

“My main priority was to get well again. I was told later that my condition was very serious and potentially fatal. They took four and a half liters of fluid off my lungs and I lost two and a half stone in weight.”

What challenge was he willing to take up? To keep the club in his hands when a perfectly good offer had come in for the club from an English Billionaire who would have far more funds to invest in Newcastle United. Mike could even run the club as a smooth business. That’s Shepherd’s selfishness coming through we think.

Freddy later sold his 29 per cent shareholding to Ashley for a handy £38M.

“I had no other option but to follow suit and sell my shares.””We have a ground that would cost the thick end of £300m to build today, one of the best training establishments in the country and a brand new academy.”

“We also have some top-quality players. There is no doubt we’d have finished a lot higher in the table last season but for what everybody acknowledges was a horrendous run of injuries. have to accept criticism, although a lot of it was personal. But I just wonder what the supporters wanted from me.”

We all thought we had world class training facilities at Benton until Allardcye came in and described the facilities as nothing more than a converted squash club.

Shepherd went on:

“None of the managers who were at the club while I was chairman could say they didn’t get 100 per cent backing in the transfer market.”

“Looking back, I probably went too far to try to please the managers and the supporters.”

Shepherd now accepts the downward trend during the managerial reign of Graeme Souness and his successor, Glenn Roeder, began with the departure of Sir Bobby Robson. Shepherd regrets the circumstances surrounding the sacking of the former England manager.

In truth Shepherd ruthlessly sacked one of the best loved managers in the game – Bobby Robson – and Bobby didn’t deserve that but his team had finsihed 5th that season so Shepherd immediately appointed a certain Graeme Souness who quickly took the club down to 14th position.

Shepherd went on:

“Bobby and I remain firm friends. He knows what happened and doesn’t hold anything against me”

Shepherd also insisted that speculation fanned by recent police raids in Newcastle is nothing but that – speculation. He has a clear conscience when it came to investigations into Premier League transfer dealings.

“I’ve co-operated fully with the investigations by Quest and anybody else. I have absolutely nothing to hide.” “Lord Stevens has said all of the clubs are in the clear, so that should be the end of it all as far as I am concerned.”

“At least I feel my last appointment could turn out to be the right one.”

“Sam Allardyce will be successful as manager if he receives the kind of backing that I gave the people who were in the job before him. He’s exactly the right type for Newcastle — tall in stature; strong willed; an out-and-out football man.:

“ That’s what the club needs right now.”

We all were aware that Freddy seemed to be on borrowed time once Ashley assumed complete control.

Shepherd went on:

“Once the club was de-listed, my situation was redundant,” “Mike Ashley now owns the club lock, stock and barrel and is solely responsible for their future welfare. I wouldn’t presume to tell him how to run things but all I will say is that I don’t believe it can be done by proxy.”

“We may live in an age of communication but I believe Newcastle are a club who need dedicated day-to-day handling.” “The competition for success in the Premier League is fearsome. “

“It doesn’t begin to resemble what the situation was like when we first moved into St James’ Park. Those who supported the club before then seem to forget the bad old days.”

“I supported the club, starting from my days as a kid standing on the terraces at the Gallowgate End before I moved into the boardroom, and I’ll still be supporting the club now that I’ve left it.”

“And I’m proud of what has been achieved during my time there. I’ve made mistakes but show me somebody who hasn’t. On the whole, I think I’ve done a good job.”

“I want Newcastle to be successful and I hope Mike Ashley can do what, regrettably, I could not — that is, bring some major silverware into the trophy room.”

We think the Shepherd era will be remembered for the upper management bumbling and the poor publicity that always seemed to emanate from the club. We have never doubted Freddy Shepherd’s passion for the club. He is like any young lad born and raised in Newcastle (in his case Byker) – he’s a Newcastle United fanatic and will continue to be one.

This is not a personal attack on Freddy either. What we are criticial of is Freddy never showing the managerial experience or maturity necessary to run the club successfully as Chairman over the last 10 years.

We truly believe we have started a new regime under Big Sam Allardcye and Mike Ashley. New Chairman Chris Mort is the executive Ashley has put in place to run the club for him on a day to day basis. 

We hope they can bring success to Newcastle – and we know that’s what Freddy wants too.

 Comments always welcome.



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18 comments so far

  • joe

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #1

    The fact is though, Shepherd always backed his managers. If he was still there, Sam would have signed 3 or 4 more players. FFS was not the best man for the job but he did always give money when needed. Sam has already voiced his concerns because the new board are not ‘football people’. He says it’s slowed him down and he’s missed targets. If the money is there, Mort hd better back Big Sam or there will be hell on. The squad at the moment has a little more quality, but we are so thin it’s untrue. We need 1 midfielder – 2 if Dyer goes and 4 defenders. 1 CB, 1RB and 2LB. No less.

    I still think we’ll get Silvestre as SAF wants rid of him. That would be a good start. If Heinze goes to Liverpool, then Riise will end up at NUFC as he won’t want to be on the bench. Rafa wouldn’t buy Heinze to sit on the bench for £7 million. Riise would be the best LB we could get.

    Here’s hoping…….

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  • valle

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #2

    I was just thinking about how hates he would have been if he had screwed up the takeover… anyway, hasnt he always been selfserving…

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  • rich

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #3

    ive waited a long time for the day Freddy packed up his office at SJP but to answer his question, the one when he says hes not sure what he the supporters wanted from him i would say we just wanted you to appoint top class proven managers and stick with them, you did it twice with King Kev & Sir Bobby and we came close to glory so many times with both, every single manager inbetween those two and after (excluding BSA) were not good enough, i said it with every appintment and i knew it wasnt going to work especially so with Sounness.

    I think we are on a winner with Sam because when you put a highly comptetent manager incharge of The Toon your going to get results as King Kev & Sir Bobby showed, only if we had stuck with either for longer than we did… which was Freddies fault aswell.

    Thats not to say BSA is going to have to do some healing to the tyranny people like Sounnes, Gullit, Dalglish etc… inflicted upon our club… i think it might take a little time.

    P.S. I think Roeders case is completely different from those 3, i think he did his best were the other three did no where near.

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  • rich

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #4

    NEW STORY –

    http://home.skysports.com/list.aspx?HLID=479222&CPID=8&title=Deadline+for+Owen+get-out+clause&lid=&channel=&f=rss&clid=4

    Big Shep talking about Owens release clause, and thats its only Valid until July 31…. when will the frickin press give it a rest??? how many times do players have to say they are not going anywhere??

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #5

    rich – we saw that – i guess they want somebody to come in for him tomorrow 😀

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #6

    But Sam will be relieved about it.

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  • Chris F

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #7

    if i hear one more person say “but he backed his managers with money” i’ll scream.

    it’s easy to spend money when it’s not yours, and he sanctioned some truly shocking transfers, as well as (if former managers are to be believed) buying players that the management didn’t even want.

    the guy was a self-serving arse, and i’m glad we’ve finally seen the back of him.

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  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #8

    Joe – agree about Freddy backing his managers with funds – and that was Freddy’s strong point and weak point – as he admits in the interview – he just couldn’t say no.

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  • Barry Bumhead

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #9

    “The fact is though, Shepherd always backed his managers”

    NO HE DIDN’T, at least not with his own money … he balanced the books whilst taking out his hefty wages and dividends from the club as did devious Douggie..

    (Last season for example..
    signed Martins and Duff for £15 million
    sold Boumsong Bowyer Faye etc for £7million
    FA Premier League prize money =£7million
    FA Cup prize money =£1… ie, books balanced)

    If you cant see that you are completely blind.

    Shepherd never backed his managers in any way or form IMO, and did nothing but continually embarrass the club and its supporters by spouting his mouth off during his big ego trip as Chairman of Newcastle.
    (comments such as Man U are a rudderless ship ,we are the 8th biggest club in the world and we are the 2nd biggest club in England spring immediately to mind!)
    He and that other devious character should never have been allowed back at the club after being caught making his comments about geordie women etc by the false sheik in a brothel.

    He is a disgrace and will not be missed by most Newcastle fans.

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  • Jinal

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #10

    FFS definately provided funds during his reign at the toon but he put the money to use for what he thought was best for the club ( and took a piece of the pie here and there). But as we all know, 11 times out of 10, he thought wrong.

    After reading the article, I pitied Shepherd because of his illness and because he got “cheated” on. But when I think of all the Geordies who have left this world in the last 10 years and never saw us win a title because of his mismanagement, I no longer have any kindness left it my heart for that toad.

    I’m sure Ed will get to this later but word is that Keegan wiill be returning to Tyneside as the Footballing Director. How about that?! I just wish we had as much activity going on in the transfer market as we have going on with the back room staff.

    I really hope the boys play well today against Juve.

    Howay the lads!!!

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  • Shaun

    Jul 29, 2007 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #11

    I think the pricks talking about Owen in the hope some one trys to buy before the 31st, lets be pleased he’s gone

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  • Josh

    Jul 29, 2007 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #12

    Does anyone know how many year does Owen have left to run on his contract? I assume he signed a 3year contract and that would mean this is his last year, so WHY hasn’t he signed a new one yet or why hasn’t there even been talk about it,
    i say, get Owen AND Martins to sign new contracts with NO buy out clauses and bigger wages to keep them here.

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  • AlexW

    Jul 29, 2007 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #13

    i think owen has 2 years left, but i agree get them new contracts now. FFS i always thought as a person with money to give, not his of course, but giving it into wrong situations. For example paying off managers who he appointed who always fcuk up. he is a disgrace to this profession and hope he chokes on a piece of pie.

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  • matttom

    Jul 29, 2007 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #14

    Freddy does go on and on about backing his managers, and the truth is he certainly did. He could have done more, without doubt, from the profits the club made over the years, but he was also running a publicly listed company and the principal duty of any dorector is to do what’s in the interests of its shareholders – all of them, not just him and the Halls. Usually that means providing them with a reasonable return on thier investment.

    Mike Ashley owning all the shares in a private company, can have total control of what is in the shareholders’ interests – if he decides he wants to spend all the profits and invest in winning the league, he doesn’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks. Hopefully this will make a big difference going forward.

    I am not remotely sad to see Freddy go, even though he did spend a reasonable amount of cash on players and the club’s infrastructure. The main reason is that we can at last be rid of the embarrassment of this slack mouthed buffoon at the figurehead of NUFC.

    Quite how someone like Freddy made so much money in the first place is a little beyond me, when he seems so carefree about protecting his asssets. He showed no sign of it when mouthing off about Owen to those Liverpool fans at a time when Owen’s situation was immensely more precarious than it is now, but now he comes out and reveals that the buy-out clause expires next Tuesday.

    Freddie, wouldn’t WEDNESDAY have been a better time to come out with this? For Fat’s sake, man! You could have saved face in just the same way about your having agreed to put the clause in there in the first place, but now all you’ve done is tell Man United, Liverpool, Arsemal, etc etc that they’d better hurry up if they’re interested in making bids! And might Arsene Wenger possibly click that you might have put a similar time deadline on the clause in Obafemi Martins’s contract?

    Oh, Freddie I am not going to miss you. I just hope you haven’t made just one more immensely damaging Fred-up, even from just beyond the fringe of your life as the club’s chairman.

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  • Dingo

    Jul 29, 2007 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #15

    I have a funny feeling that BSA will not like KK comming back to SJP at all, as director of football no less…….. that would mean one more body for Sam to go through before he gets the decision he wants or doesnt….. and an ex sucessful manager… not on your nelly…. I know it would be popular among the fan base but as for the ‘man in charge’ >>> just a clouding of an already complicated job. However employ him with AS for scouting and brand building that might be shrewd.

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  • apan

    Jul 29, 2007 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #16

    FFS put us in loads of debt because he thinks about his pocket first then the club imo, he spend lavishly esp during the souness era and the plan backfired, i guess there’s karma, when he sacked Sir Bobby Robson, that was his biggest mistakes ever, hope the new maanagent will be more secure and not debt ridden like before but stil managed to spend on players and acquired europe spot is the main priority because from there we can get more money, plus we dont have to worry about endin up like leeds utd

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  • Darren

    Jul 30, 2007 at 3:15 AM

    Comment #17

    Chris F…

    You complain that Shepherd continued to back managers when it come to signings, what would you prefer?

    Him to tell them to eff off?

    Shepherd (for all his failings) backed each manager with cash, if he said “i’m not buying this prick he is shit” then what is the point of having a manager – just let the chairman run everything.

    Personally, I believe the takeover is looking a bit troubled, our squad is smaller than last year and Sam is obviously pissed off, hence the quotes lately.

    The saying is “sometimes better the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t”

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  • Rich

    Jul 30, 2007 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #18

    Darren, it was easy for Freddy to back the managers because its not his money, granted he could of said no and kept all the money for himself but its not as if he dipped into his personal savings to sign Michael Owen etc…

    I hope the rumours of King Kev returning are true, i think this will be a good move for everyone involved probably to bring in a footballing mind into the off pitch side of things, i said before hoepfully itll be someone to smooth things over like transfers etc.. when Sams at games/training etc..

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