Freddy Shepherd, Newcastle Chairman for 10 years and a lifelong fan of Newcastle United has spoken out to the Sunday Mirror about the Kevin Keegan saga at the club.
Freddy Shepherd – lifelong fan and former Chairman
Shepherd said yesterday:
“There is absolutely no doubt about it, the job of managing Newcastle United has become one of the most challenging in English football.”
“There is a unique sort of pressure on Tyneside, a weight of expectation and a fevered intensity that I don’t think you get in other parts of the country.”
“Every manager I know thinks that, with the passionate support Newcastle have and the money we have made available down the years for players, they could make a success of it.”
“They are totally wrong. We have seen some of the best managers on the planet – men who have managed England, won the Premier League and lifted cups galore – come to St James’ Park and fail.”
“If anyone had told me I could appoint Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Ruud Gullit and Sir Bobby Robson and give them the cash to buy world-class stars such as Alan Shearer and Michael Owen I would have told them they were mad.”
“But now Mike Ashley is discovering what I learned a long time ago – the easy part of owning Newcastle is buying the club. All the ingredients for success appear to be there, but getting them to blend together has proved tantalizingly elusive.”
“ We got mighty close in 1996 when we were pipped for the title by Manchester United, but since then as the frustrations and disappointments have built up I think the job has got harder.”
“I always had Alan Shearer in mind as a future Newcastle manager, but given the way the job has grown more difficult down the years I’m not surprised that he has ruled himself out as Kevin’s successor.”
“One day I believe Alan will be manager of Newcastle but this is not the right time for him. Too many top managers have failed here for it to be a sensible career move for Alan right now.”
“Kevin Keegan’s unique relationship with the fans is a positive that no other manager or coach can bring to Newcastle.” I am not in the business of knocking Mike Ashley, but his life will be a lot more difficult without Kevin sitting in the manager’s office.”
“The fans adore Kevin and are prepared to give him time they wouldn’t give any other manager. Kevin didn’t win any of his first nine games when he came back, but they stuck by him 100 per cent.”
“Whoever Newcastle bring in, they have to be sure that he can get on with Dennis Wise and work under the management structure that Mike Ashley has put in place.”
“If you go down the route of having a manager and a director of football they need to think on the same wavelength and almost be twins. Keegan and Wise were anything but twins.”
That sounds like what any other fan might say about Newcastle and the current situation right now, and there’s no doubt the Newcastle manager job is an extremely tough one.
But it’s also a great opportunity for the person who can come in, and bring real success back to Tyneside, and that’s why so many top managers are willing to give it a go.
No mystery there.