There was an excellent interview in the Chronicle yesterday of former Chairman Freddy Shepherd, and while we’ve been critical of Freddy in the past, that was on the financial side of things, and you cannot say he didn’t want to make Newcastle into a successful football club on the field.
Freddy Shepherd – when Newcastle Chairman
And unfortunately the opposite seems to be true with Mike Ashley, since the Billionaire has done a great job on the financial side of things, but we are nowhere near being as successful on the field as we were under Freddy Shepherd, who spent money we didn’t have, to get Newcastle into the Champions League.
And you can never accuse Freddy of not having great ambitions for the club – and the opposite is true with Mike Ashley – top ten is as good as it gets.
But one of the big problems when Freddy was Chairman is that we kept changing managers – much like Sunderland have done recently – and that’s never good, because you get so much churn of the players, and it’s hard to build a decent and stable side – and it wastes a lot of money too – as Sunderland are finding out.
Freddy was Chairman from December of 1997 through June of 2007, and we had the following managers in that time – Kenny Dalglish, Ruud Gullit, Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder and Sam Allardyce – six managers in less than ten years.
And Freddie sacked all but Sam Allardyce – who had just been appointed when Ashley bought the club – and Ashley sacked him seven months later.
It turns out a lot of the things Freddy says in the interview seem to be spot on – here’s some of what he said:
“You want to be as high as possible in the league for two things – firstly for the glory and secondly for the money.” “Each position you are in you get more money, the money is a lot more now.”
“Financially the club are in a great position because Mike is a billionaire. There is no doubt money-wise there are any problems there.”
“He does run a tight ship, though.” “Sometimes you have to let the reins go a bit and relax a bit.” “Financially he has done a great job.”
“You have to face the music.” “There are a lot of hard decisions to make because you are dealing with people’s lives.” “Newcastle United are very important to a lot of people.”
“The welder, the bricklayer, they see Newcastle as their club.” “It is very important you try to keep his enthusiasm going” “At the minute where they are they are not going to be relegated.”
“They also had a great run to get them in the position they are in.” “I cannot see them being out of the position they are in now.”
“The main thing is the lack of communication.” “You cannot ignore the local paper. I never ever barred the local papers, it was counter-productive.”
“The only way to communicate is through the local press direct to your fan base. Mike is a successful businessman. Some of the fans would rather he was a bit closer to the club than he is at the moment.”
That comment about the papers is that Ashley has banned the Chronicle, Journal and Sunday Sun reporters since the papers reported on that Time 4 Change march over five months ago – and it seems incredible that ban is still in effect.
Freddy makes a number of good points above – and we really need somebody other than Alan Pardew to talk about what’s going on at the club – after all he’s only responsible for the playing side of things.
And Newcastle will be coming into a lot of money in the next few seasons, mainly through the Premier League, and if only Mike Ashley would commit to investing that money back into the club – we would be in a very good state.
And we could spend some big money in the transfer market – and still balance the books.
Communication has always been a problem with Ashley – because he says nothing – absolutely nothing.
And we are at least hoping that Lee Charnley will have good communication with the fans – but that’s likely only to be stuff he writes, as it seems only Alan Pardew will continue in front of the cameras and reporters – and that’s a pity.
Ashley has done a good job on the financial side, but fans want him to transform that into having a top team on the playing side of things – like we had under Freddy Shepherd.