It’s very interesting to compare Freddy Shepherd, the Chairman who led Newcastle for ten years from December 1st, 1997 through August of 2007, with Mike Ashley, who bought the club six years ago.
Freddy Shepherd - but we don’t have the money – don’t make me laugh
Freddy had unlimited ambitions for Newcastle, being born and bred in the area, and Freddy used to bid for top players with money we just didn’t have.
Two good examples are Wayne Rooney, who we were willing to pat out £25M for in the summer of 2004, before Manchester United came in and signed him.
And the next year we bought Michael Owen for £17M from Real Madrid, a deal that in retrospect has to be one of the worst financial deals ever made by Newcastle.
And now we have Mike Ashley – and to be fair to the Londoner,. he has put the club on a very solid financial setting, and we have money – but he wont pay it out to get top players – and Mike seems to have very limited ambitions for the club.
Newcastle continually barter with clubs today, to get the fee down as low as possible, and when a good player is involved – like this summer with St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, another club comes in and agrees the fee and Newcastle lose out.
It’s almost like Freddy Shepherd and Mike Ashley are polar opposites.
Mike Ashley – why don’t we meet their fee – don’t make me laugh
One spent money on top players we didn’t have, and the other will not spend the money we do have on top players.
We probably need something in the middle, but it’s very frustrating for fans, as we keep missing out because we will not bid that extra million or two to meet a selling club’s fee.
We will continue to miss out on our top targets – and we’ll have to rely on Graham Carr and his scouting staff, to find good and almost unknown players – players big clubs will not yet be after – if we are to become great again.
That’s a risky and difficult endeavor, and at best it will take many years to create a good side.
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