BBC Sport is reporting that former Newcastle United Chairman Freddy Shepherd is heading a consortium that is about to launch a £60M bid for the Newcastle club.
Freddy Shepherd – bid for Newcastle – but the price seems very low
If the bid is successful it’s not surprising to hear the news that Alan Shearer has already been lined up to become the long-term manager at the club. Newcastle of course were relegated from the Premier League last May 24th, a short 5 weeks ago, for the first time in their history. And it was 20 years ago that the club were last relegated.
The Shepherd offer, if true, seems really low, based on Mike Ashley wanting £100M, and that itself was about one third of what he was asking for the club only last December.
However, the BBC is reporting that Shepherd’s offer is likely to be accepted.
Shepherd sold his Newcastle United shares to current owner Mike Ashley two years ago as part of a £134M deal for the club, and it all happened while Shepherd was sick, but once the Hall family sold their shares, there wasn’t much Freddy could do about it at that time. As one would expect Freddy was not too happy at the sale of his shares, even though he got a good price on them.
If this news is true, Ashley stands to lose a lot of money, since his total investment in the club is around £244M, so he stands to lose around £184M in just two years, and that’s hardly a good deal for anybody.
We will be surprised if this low bid is accepted by Ashley, and only yesterday there was news that Keith Harris, Chairman of Seymour Pierce Bank, who are charged with selling the club, was in America on business related to the sale.
And Shepherd isn’t exactly adored by Newcastle fans, as he has made more than one misstep while Chairman of Newcastle from December, 1997, when he took over from John Hall, and was Chairman until two years ago, when Ashley bought the club.
Today is the last day of the month, and Harris had said he expected a deal by the end of the month, and certainly with Freddy in as Chairman he would work closely with Shearer in the short term to right the club.
The two of them would work well together, and do whatever is necessary to ensure the club has the very best chance of being promoted back to the Premier League at it’s first attempt next season.
But longer term, one has to wonder whether the trials and tribulations that have dogged the Tyneside club for many years, will not just continue unabated.
As we said earlier, we’d be surprised if this bid is accepted by Ashley, but with news from inside the club leaking out, that a buyer has been found, we’ll need to wait and see what other news we hear today.
The Shepherd purchase, if it happens, will be good in the short term of one or two years, but longer term there will be concerns on how well the club will be run, as a viable business enterprise.