Surprising news today that former Chairman Freddy Shepherd wants to buy Newcastle United – well would you believe it?
Freddy Shepherd – wants to buy Newcastle – why?
This news would appear to be coming from ESPN, and even seems as if it could be legitimate, and Shepherd, who sold his shares to current owner Mike Ashley in June of 2007, is said to be all set to make an official offer that would leave the club debt free.
This would help Newcastle comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, which comes into effect for European clubs next season, and basically sets in motion policies that would have clubs spend only the money they bring in through official club revenues.
The big question will be how much Shepherd is willing to bid for the club, as it is now much more expensive than the £100M or was it £80M, that Mike Ashley was asking for the club last year, before he took it off the market for a second time. We think Ashley has invested around £250M into the club, and would probably want this amount back if he did sell, and we have no idea if the current owner still wants out.
A close friend of Shepherd’s confirmed to ESPN today:
“I know Freddy is giving very serious consideration to making an offer and returning to St James’ Park.”
Shepherd, who is currently on Tyneside, is not denying the story but simply refuses to comment on it, but the news is that he is leading a consortium to buy the club, so it will be interesting to see how much they will offer Ashley. We have no news on who makes up the consortium he has put together, or who else is part of it.
But why does Freddy want to buy Newcastle at this time?
We can only think it’s because Freddy has seen too many good bargain buys made by the current regime, and possibly wants to go back to overpaying hugely for ordinary players, and then paying them sky high wages, as they fail to perform and couldn’t care less about the club.
But perhaps we are being far too harsh on Freddy, even though many Newcastle fans do not think he ran the club well when he was last in charge, and may not want him back.
Freddy of course is a true Newcastle fan through and through, and just like the rest of us who were born and bred in Newcastle – he’s as daft as a brush on Newcastle United.
The club was managed disastrously by Mike Ashley in the first two years after he bought the famous Newcastle club, in the summer of 2007, for around £137M.
Mike bought the shares of Sir John Hall first, and then Freddy Shepherd’s later, after Freddy had seemingly been blind-sided by John Hall agreeing to sell his shares, without telling him anything. The shares sold for 100 pence each.
But we must say since last July, with Chris Hughton in charge, the Newcastle club has been fairly well run, and Chris Hughton has been outstanding as the manager, and has managed to stabilize the club, for the first time in a long time.
And Freddy is known to be a huge Alan Shearer admirer, so it begs the question whether he would want to install Alan as the manager, if and when he does succeed in buying his home-town club.
On the other hand, only last week Freddy spoke out in support of Chris Hughton, and said he had done a great job at Newcastle, which we reported on last week.
This is a surprising story to say the least, and begs all kinds of questions about whether the bid will be a serious one, and what will Newcastle’s strategy be if Freddy actually does eventually take over.
Will Shepherd continue on what was looking like a quite successful youth policy – probably the best think Ashley has done at the club.
It’s hard to know if this is good or bad for Newcastle – it’s a tricky one – but please let us know what you think about this breaking news.
Newcastle have denied that any bid has been made for the club and that in any case, the Newcastle club is not for sale.
A senior source at St James’ Park said:
“Newcastle United have had no contact from anybody regarding a possible purchase and furthermore the club is not for sale.”