Freddy Shepherd – Let’s Get Fully Behind Mike Ashley

Former Newcastle United Chairman Freddy Shepherd celebrated his 70th birthday last night with a party in London, a big party in London.

Freddy Shepherd – just turned 70 – fans should get behind Ashley

And Freddy of course was born and bred in Newcastle, brought up in Byker, and is the son of a lorry driver.

With the help of his brother Bruce, they expanded a road haulage business into a series of marine related businesses,  and redeveloped property of  former ship facilities along the River Tyne.

Freddy was Chairman of Newcastle for almost 10 years from December 1st, 1997 until he was almost forced to sell his shares to Mike Ashley in the summer of 2007.

In May of 2007, Shepherd learned that Billionaire Businessman Mike Ashley had purchased the Hall family’s 41.6% shareholding in the Newcastle club for for £55M, about £1 per share.

Under London Stock Exchange rules,  Ashley then had to submit an offer for the remaining shares, and should Mike’s holding go over 50%, he would be in control of the club and Freddy Shepherd wouldn’t, and Mike could then choose his own Board of Directors.

After initially fighting the takeover, in early June of 2007, Mike Ashley had a bid accepted by Freddy Shepherd to buy all his shares, and in his role as Chairman of the Board,  Shepherd then advised the remaining shareholders to sell to Ashley.

And that’s a brief history of how Mike Ashley acquired Newcastle United,  but not surprisingly Freddy and Mike never saw eye to eye about the way Newcastle should be run.

But Shepherd admitted last this last night:

“I am still a massive Newcastle fan. True to say Mike and I have not always seen eye to eye but you’ve got to give him some of the credit for what is happening this season.”

“I think it’s time for the fans to get fully behind him and give him a chance. After all, no one really owns Newcastle because it’s simply a football institution.”

“Maybe he is right in his policy and I was wrong. Maybe we gave our managers too much money to spend in the transfer market. I reckon we spent around £300M on players like Alan Shearer, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Tino Asprilla and Michael Owen.”

“Though we never won anything, it was still a great adventure for everyone connected with Newcastle. We were known all over the world. I have a photo of the day they pulled down Saddam Hussein’s statue in Iraq – there was a guy with a Toon shirt beside it.”

“The fans are now clearly behind Alan Pardew and the team, and if they get behind the directors the only way they can go is up.”  “I am a Geordie. You can change your bank, your accountant, your wife, but you can’t change your football team.”

Those are good words from Freddy, and it certainly seems that fans are getting behind Alan Pardew, his coaching staff  – with local lad John Carver now Assistant Manager –  as well as his players this season.

Whether the fans will ever be fully behind Mike Ashley we don’t know, but certainly  there’s some solidity to the Newcastle club this season, and Alan Pardew has done a terrific job in just over  10 months on Tyneside.

Now to beat Stoke City tomorrow night, and of course if we take a point from that game,  we’ll be 3rd top of the league, after Arsenal hammered a woeful looking Chelsea side 5-3 yesterday, and at Stamford Bridge.

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

21 comments so far

  • toonarmy1986

    Oct 30, 2011 at 7:45 AM

    Comment #1

    Take Ashley any day over that crook who would of put us out of business if he had stayed around much longer.

  • Saka_Bartoon

    Oct 30, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    Comment #2

    We dont care whos Mike Ashley and whos is Freedy Shepherd.. We want our team to be in good form HWTL

  • magpiebop

    Oct 30, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    Comment #3

    Mike Ashley is the main man it would seem!

  • catchy in norway

    Oct 30, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #4

    along with ffs i dont trust ashley, what is happening on the pitch is more down to pardew than ashley,

    the season we went down, he put a guy in charge of our team , a team that had some really good players in it, joe- k couldnt do anything with that team, ashley left it way to long, and actually gave the guy a longer contract, if he had not got more ill we would be in league 2 right now 🙁

    even though i think pardew is a yes man, he has the team 100%behind him, he has the team playing good football at times, and carries his luck, but thats a good thing

  • bills-son

    Oct 30, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    Comment #5

    Carchy – who appointed Pardew?

    Ashley – so he also takes credit for how well the team are doing. If Pardew had turned out as sh%t an appointment as 99% of fans thought at the time Ashley would have got dogs of abuse. So its blatantly hypocritical not to give Ashley credit because Pardew has done well.

  • geoff777

    Oct 30, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #6

    I support the lads wearing the b&w shirts.

    Who the owner is is irrelevant to me.

    I just cross my fingers that he/she makes the right decisions.

    I used to be more passionate about all aspects of the club.

    Hope Spurs lose today, hope we take it to Stoke tomorrow night.
    Three points who’d be amazing.


  • UpTheRoad

    Oct 30, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #7

    My first memory of NUFC was when we drew against the mackems 1-1 in 2001 I think it was. And then on I began to watch a team that was in the champions league and were beating Feyenoord 2-3 with Bellamy in the last minute. I will never forget that game. Freddy didn’t have a clue as chairman but it was still a good time to be a toon fan. Although Ashley has got all this stick, I think he’s done two things right, not spent the money on ‘trophy’ signings and he appointed Pardew who has made us unbeaten. However, you don’t just fire someone who’s just got you promoted and stuffed your local rivals 5-1. But that’s life I suppose. HWTL!


  • Benton Toon Exile

    Oct 30, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #8

    Freddie Shepherd was let down by some of his managers including Kevin Keegan whom he funded without question.

    Especially Kenny Dalglish!

  • catchy in norway

    Oct 30, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #9


    come on,, there isnt many top managers that would take the job at our club with these guys in charge, we have everything about us to suggest we could be a big club, we ended up with pardew because no one wanted the job,
    even now sitting in 4th place, we would find it hard to get a top manager in here with this lot running the club, his business moddle is bring in young cheap good players and sell them on for a profit, in all of his statements (and dick lambass) there seems to be no mention of building a solid team to challenge for things like a cup or even europe,

  • bills-son

    Oct 30, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #10

    Catchy – you say – his business moddle is bring in young cheap good players and sell them on for a profit,


    The only good young player Ashley has sold in the last 4 years (since Milner who wanted away) is Carroll – and Ashley only sold when he got offered a stupidly high £35M.

    Ashley’s model is to sign good young players for no more than £6M/£7M but there is NO EVIDENCE that his model is to quickly sell them on for a profit. BECAUSE HE HAS’NT DONE THAT!!

    You are making statements based purely on your own biased opinions of Ashley.

  • alec6247toon

    Oct 30, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Comment #11

    there was a link for an article on here a few days ago about the business model that Olimpique Lyonnais is run, and I think Ashley is starting to follow that model. In short, Lyon buy players in their early 20’s and then sell when they are offered more than what the player is worth. They have always got players ready to come to the club to replace those players and go by the policy “The more games you win, the more money you make, and the more money you make, the more games you win.”

    I think this is what Ashley is trying to do with the club, and I think that it may be a few years down the line, but I think we could be back up pressing for ECL places and maybe even the EPL title within 5 years.

    I must admit I have been turned by Ashley, although not completely yet. He is starting to run the club very efficiently, and in a very clever way. He is not without credit for what has happened this season. He is the man with the money who has decided to invest in the scouting and youth systems to improve our squad in a cheaper way than how Freddy Shepherd did. Building players up through the club also allows them to create a better teamwork attitude and allow the coaches to have more of an impact in creating the players that the club needs rather than having to buy a best fit player.

    We are never going to have the money of City or the overseas revenues of United, but by making smart moves in the transfer market and with the right funding within the club, we can become better sides than them in time. When the new financial fair play rules come in, the only 2 clubs in the country that are not going to have to change a thing is us and Arsenal. That is bound to have an effect on the top clubs in the country, and will help us out.

    Ashley is beginning to prove that his way of thinking is working, and I think we just need to keep the faith and let Ashley continue the good work he is currently doing, as I believe the rewards that are in store for us will be massive.


  • bills-son

    Oct 30, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Comment #12

    alec6247toon – great post.

  • solano

    Oct 30, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Comment #13

    Just keep believing there’ll be jam tomorrow..then you wake up and find you are over 40years of age and realise that you have placed your trust and wasted your money on a bunch of guys who don’t have any ambition to achieve in footballling terms.
    When you have huge crowds and the potential to really challenge at the very top…why settle for selling off your best players for profit and constantly rebuilding to finish best of the rest?
    Enjoy the open top bus parade when we break even! Woohoo!

  • bills-son

    Oct 30, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Comment #14

    solano – no ambition in football terms?

    Ashley has more ambition for NUFC than your blind hatred will ever allow you to see. At least Goalsbringsmiles and Angryman – two of the other big neggers like you – have had the sense to stay off here to save themselves from further ridicule.

    You just sound like a stuck record playing the same sad tune.

  • solano

    Oct 30, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Comment #15

    Bills – You are old enough (and lucky enough) to have seen the club win something…..but your age hasn’t given you any wisdom. The Ashley plan is working a treat at the minute – as he has quite a few mugged into his scheme – but as I have said before, the limit of his ambition is business profit, not footballing success. All the evidence (including official club statements) back this up and he has consistantly ignored the wishes of his manager. I hope I’m wrong (for once 😉 ) but I won’t be surprised if Colo turns into the next Judas and muppets like you turn all bitter and twisted in slagging players instead of recognising the motives of those unworthy of your trust.

  • solano

    Oct 30, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Comment #16

    As for Goals and Angry….I can’t speak for them but I remember them to be genuine fans with real passion for the team and the club and i’m sure will be enjoying our little spell in the limelight as much as any true NUFC fan. I don’t think ridicule from someone like yourself, Bills, would hurt very much given your overwhelming propensity for abuse/going off half-cocked/being proven wrong 95% of the time/breaking promises and pledges/ being an allround suckhole.

  • bills-son

    Oct 30, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    Comment #17

    solamo – Ive been right 95% of the time and I’ve had constant abuse from you for supporting Ashley. A sad case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    You and the other big neggers are defo genuine Toon fans – as I am – but that doesn’t mean you aren’t above being wrong about Ashley or man enough to admit it. Calling me and the plently of other fans mugs and suckers for believing in Ashley is an insult to your own intelligence not ours.

  • solano

    Oct 30, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Comment #18

    Bills….we will probably never agree on anything because we are poles apart…but Catchy (above) probably falls somewhere in between our views and probably reflects the majority of fans who just can’t bring themselves to trust someone who has so consistently let them down.
    If you weren’t so adamant in your Ashley defence, you may recognise that from day1 I have always backed our present manager, as I believe everyone should get a fair crack of the whip, And yes, Ashley gave him the job! But it doesn’t mean we are on a fastrack to glory! Shepherd gave Sir Bobby the job, but it didn’t make him a footballing guru!
    In all honesty, I will give the regime some credit in recent times, in that they have not paid lip service to the old cliches about a “big club” and “the best fans” blah blah blah. They have actually stated quite clearly where they think we stand in the big scheme of things, where they want us to be, and what they are willing to invest to get us there. And these answers are not at all satisfactory to my mind because they don’t include in anyway an ambition to compete at the very top of the game.
    If supporting NUFC didn’t have all the emotional attachment then it would be simple to just say, “And for that reason, Bills…..I won’t be investing….I’m out!”
    If only….

  • solano

    Oct 30, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Comment #19

    Oh…and one more thing….who was it who had a log of all your statements, Bills? Was it Mactoon?
    95% correct, you claim? Mmmm

  • bills-son

    Oct 31, 2011 at 6:38 AM

    Comment #20

    solano – your post at 18 is a good one and a very fair perspective. I actually just about agree with 100% of it the only difference being the conclusion. Ashley clearly has a plan, something I have said for ages, and that plan doesnt include spending huge amounts in a gamble to bring instant success. He is building the club professionally at all levels, scouting, youth level, a good reserve squad and a first team squad that is the best we’ve had in years. He’s also been brave enough to sack a popular manager and bring in one he thought was better equiped all round to take the club forward. So far it looks as if he’s got that decision right as well.

    You draw the comclusion thatr the above plan/policy – which includes not gambling our financial security on mega signings on mega wages – is unambitious and that Ashley has no desire to compete at the top. It is here that I totally disagree. Ashley is an unconventional, highly driven businessman, who has made his company hugely successful. He took over the Toon clueless about how to run a football club, made big mistakes, and got hammered for them. But he’s learnt quick. He doesnt listen to agents, players or even fans who dont have any financial responsibility. He is desperate to make NUFC successful but he will do it following a plan not by blowing millions. The latter ‘plan’ has never won us a trophy in modern times.

    Fans need to be patient with Ashley and give him the benefit of the doubt. Trust I accept is far harder to give but the lack of it shouldn’t lead to him getting underserved abuse. At the end of the day he might be a tough businessman but he’s human. Getting abuse from the very people you are trying to help cant be a good feeling and ultimately it has to have some negative effects on his actions.

    As I said solano, a good post at 18. Lets just agree to disagree and bury the bickering between us eh?

  • solano

    Oct 31, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    Comment #21

    So it’s “jam tomorrow” then? Bills….I draw my conclusion because that is what I read in the statements…I have never, ever demanded trophy signings just for the sake of it, but I do firmly believe any tangible success will have to follow real investment in the right players, regardless of the age on their birth certificate and without automatically thinking, the day new players arrive at the club, about how much profit they will bring the day they leave the club! A successful Scouting and Academy system is also an admirable thing to strive for – but it has to used in the right way i.e. for the club to build lasting foundations and achieve FOOTBALLING success. Afterall, whatever people may think of the person, the most successful academy product was a local lad who was sold for a ridiculous £35m. Great business for Mike Ashley…not great for AC’s career nor us fans who really could have seen this squad bulked up in quality for the hard games to come if indeed we really could not refuse the offer! I think we are more than capable of competing with the Spurs’ and Liverpool’s of this world rather than just saving on those clubs’ expense accounts for their scouts!
    However, as for the hatchet and you (Bills) and me….consider it buried – though I know exactly where it is in the ground if I have to dig it up again 😉 Us neggers, are really magnanimous, generous guys. Right….next the Middle East problem, World over-population and the inadequacies of neo-liberal colonisation…hand me the pen!


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