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http://www.sundaysun.co.uk/sport/newcastle...79310-22771369/

 

 

Freddy Shepherd's message to Toon owner Ashley

 

Jan 25 2009 by Neil Farrington, Sunday Sun

Freddy Shepherd

 

FORMER Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd last night called for current owner Mike Ashley to take responsibility for the club’s dire predicament . . .

 

By returning to St James’s Park and taking a hands-on role in United’s fight for Premier League survival.

 

And Shepherd blasted Magpies manager Joe Kinnear for blaming “everyone but himself” for his side’s problems.

 

In a wide-ranging and often damning evaluation of Ashley’s running of Newcastle, Shepherd also:

 

:: URGED Ashley to replace managing director Derek Llambias with someone experienced in running a Premier League club.

 

:: INSISTED Ashley deserves no sympathy amid United’s deepening crisis, maintaining he “got the club on the cheap”.

 

:: DESCRIBED the possible repercussions of relegation as “unthinkable”.

 

:: DEFENDED his own overall legacy at St James’s Park.

 

With Newcastle in apparent freefall towards the relegation zone, struggling to strengthen their threadbare squad this month and at risk of losing stars like Shay Given and Michael Owen, their prospects look bleak.

 

But although Ashley has said United are no longer for sale, he has not been seen on Tyneside for the near five months since Kevin Keegan quit St James’s in September.

 

That has to change, according to Shepherd — as does Ashley’s choice of man to run the club in his absence.

 

“It’s clear that many fans are fearful over what they see as the lack of leadership at the club,” Shepherd declared.

 

“The owner has to restore confidence by showing himself in public at St. James’s Park and taking a hands-on role.

 

“He’s had a lot of flak from disgruntled fans, but they have a right to call it as they see it.

 

“I got plenty of stick during my time in charge, but not even my sternest critics can accuse me of hiding. I was always there in the firing line.

 

“You’ve got to be brave enough to step up to the plate. Mike Ashley must show leadership in the tricky months that lie ahead.”

 

And a good leader should delegate responsibility to the right people, according to Shepherd.

 

“The single most important thing he (Ashley) must do is to immediately recruit someone to run the club who has a background in top football administration.

 

“The club is crying out for a chairman or a chief executive who has experience of running a big football club.

 

“That’s not a job application because I’ve had my time. But Ashley must find someone who knows how to run a football club.”

 

Amid the crisis, United’s latest published accounts have prompted sympathy in some quarters for Ashley, who has loaned the club £100 million — and is understood to have taken out a new mortgage-style bank borrowing — to keep it afloat.

 

Shepherd sees things differently.

 

“No one should feel sorry for Mike Ashley,” he said. “He got the club on the cheap.

 

“He got a fantastic deal when Sir John Hall sold out and set the price at £134 million.

 

“The value of the property and the playing assets that he got was at least three times what he paid for the club.

 

“He got a state-of-the-art 52,000-seater stadium — which you couldn’t build today for less than £400 million — as well as a brand new training complex, an Academy and a squad of players that was bursting with internationals.”

 

And Shepherd is insistent that a basic lack of planning has cost Ashley dear — as have several key mistakes.

 

“There is no use him (Ashley) bleating about the debt he inherited,” said Shepherd. “Had he bothered to check he would have known that there was a £57 million securitisation settlement required when Sir John Hall sold.

 

“And when he sells the club, there is an agreement that the money he has loaned the club will all be paid back to him.

 

“I have never to this day understood why he didn’t undertake due diligence.

 

“The simple truth is that Mr Ashley didn’t do his homework before buying.”

 

Shepherd added: “They (Newcastle) have been unlucky in some respects — it isn’t all down to bad management — but mistakes have clearly been made.

 

“Some of the losses on the latest accounts are the result of decisions taken by the owner.

 

“He decided to sack Sam Allardyce as manager after just 24 games, and that cost £4.6 million.

 

“And the events that led to Kevin Keegan’s departure could also have serious financial consequences for the next accounts.”

 

Kinnear‘s suggestion that Allardyce and Keegan are to blame for Newcastle’s on-field problems also got short shrift from Shepherd.

 

“I thought it was extremely unfair to blame the two previous managers for the lack of depth in the present squad,” he rapped.

 

“I know those two guys well and they, like all my other managers, would have always been fighting to squeeze as much money for signings as they could.

 

“Kinnear has blamed Keegan, blamed Allardyce, moaned that the squad isn’t good enough and complained that the fans don’t understand.

 

“It seems that Joe Kinnear blames everyone but himself.”

 

On a similar theme, Shepherd admitted: “I know I made mistakes during my time, but I am still proud of my legacy.

 

“During my time, we went from a struggling team in the Championship playing in a ramshackle ground to a club that almost won the Premier League and ended up in one of the best stadia in the country.

 

“We signed world-class stars, attracted top managers, played 120 matches in Europe, got to two FA Cup Finals and had four Wembley appearances.

 

“The proof that we were doing something very right was in the house-full signs that we had up for nearly 15 years.

 

“If Mike Ashley could achieve that sort of transformation he would have done remarkably well.”

 

And Shepherd insisted: “It saddens me like any supporter to see the plight the club is in.

 

“Like every Newcastle fan I am praying that they can survive this season because the repercussions of relegation are unthinkable.”

 

:(

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Ashley certainly doesn't seem to understand that unlike a shop, cutting costs doesn't necessarily mean increasing income/profit.

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“He’s had a lot of flak from disgruntled fans, but they have a right to call it as they see it.

 

“I got plenty of stick during my time in charge, but not even my sternest critics can accuse me of hiding. I was always there in the firing line.

 

“You’ve got to be brave enough to step up to the plate. Mike Ashley must show leadership in the tricky months that lie ahead.”

 

Spot on.

 

Ashley is not only a liar, but a coward who's lack of stomach for the job is being emulated through the boardroom, the management and the team.

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Btw the good football played under Shepherd was during the Robson period and Shepherd gets fuck all credit for that appointment.

 

He wants to wind his fat-bastard-no-neck in.

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Shepherd turned us into a laughing stock and Ashley has built quickly on that legacy. End of.

 

aye sure, he did. Everybody laughed at us when we rose from being a club with one foot in the 3rd division to playing europe and the champions league.

 

According to people like you, Shepherd was the only chairman who ever made someone a laughing stock. This ridiculous thinking always makes me laugh. You've spent too long in Manchester, but they are like that down there. Get a backbone and ignore it, laugh back, or tell them to piss off.

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Btw the good football played under Shepherd was during the Robson period and Shepherd gets fuck all credit for that appointment.

 

He wants to wind his fat-bastard-no-neck in.

 

Couldn't agree more. A lot of what is happening now is chickens coming home to roost and Shepherd's trying to distance himself from his part in it after the accounts were made public. Still there's no chance of Shepherds family coming on hard times, they all had their fingers deep into the pie :(

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He talks a lot of sense, but he's got to shoulder a hell of a lot of the blame for the current situation we find ourselves in.

 

In a bizarre way I think we may have been lucky getting Ashley at the time we did. If he had been a bit less gung ho, checked the books and ran a mile when he saw the levels of debt where would we be now? Administration? That doesn't bare thinking about.

 

That's not to absolve him because so far he has ran the club in a hugely cack handed manner and needs to make some huge changes.

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Shepherd turned us into a laughing stock and Ashley has built quickly on that legacy. End of.

 

aye sure, he did. Everybody laughed at us when we rose from being a club with one foot in the 3rd division to playing europe and the champions league.

 

According to people like you, Shepherd was the only chairman who ever made someone a laughing stock. This ridiculous thinking always makes me laugh. You've spent too long in Manchester, but they are like that down there. Get a backbone and ignore it, laugh back, or tell them to piss off.

 

 

 

Poor show man. Not gonna rake over history but obviously it was SJH at the helm when we went from bottom of the 2nd back into the prem with Keegan. I realise Shepherd was involved with the club but it was Hall leveraging things on the financial side of things. That involved genuine risk and foresight. After that time the club had 'full houses' week in week out as Shepherd says-that and unprecedented TV money. He doesnt have any success to attribute that to though, or tangible success anyway so he's shooting himself in the foot. The Shepherd era had the sort of fan-financing of the club that only one or two clubs could better-but they all won things over that time and continue to do so now.

 

The Toon is a one club city and during Shepherd's time it has had money hand over fist from the fans (and regularly, in advance of the product it's offering). Shepherd had millions upon millions of other people's money to spend as a chairman and he spent it. Robson spent it well for him (by and large) but I give him no credit for Robson's appointment -his other appointees then spent very badly by and large, and this was worse because we all largely suspected they would.

 

After the Robson revival (no credit to Shepherd) came to an end and the club needed real direction from the top, we got Souness, Roeder and Allardyce. I'm not even going to waste my time on a critique of that sequence of inspired appointments. According to you though it's ok for a top level club to appoint a sequence of three proven spastics as manager.

 

As to the rest of what you said about me being Mancunian etc etc I'm gonna largely ignore it because it's nowt more than you having a pop. I can handle that though it's water off a ducks back, if you don't think I've developped coping strategies after being a Newcastle fan living in Manchester for all 31 years of my life then you have a naivety that belies your 60 years. What I will say though is that i've never said Shepherd is the only chairman who ever made someone a laughing stock-he isn't, but that's hardly a defence of the man. Which is more though, I don't care about any other clubs or any other chairmen-Shepherd made a laughing stock of MY club.

 

What I will also say (without apology) is that living outside of the Toon in the North West, you do get a practical and daily demonstration of how a club should be run on over a long term. I don't glory in that, it just makes certain things clearer to me. My view is also unpulluted by the fuckwit local press on Tyneside, which during Shepherd's era in particular became nowt more than his PR machine.

 

At the end of the day you've been made to look daft on God knows how many occasions on this board, with your flawed defence of Shepherd-something which would be the source of embarrasment to anyone else of your 70 years. You have the brassneck to accuse me of having no backbone mate but it's you that routinely flounces off vowing never to return only to re-emerge a few months later hoping your past ignominies have been forgotten. Sad tbh.

 

Shepherd is clearly bitter that he didn't make a bit more coin out of the sale of the club. He trots that line out every interview. Boo fucking hoo.

Edited by manc-mag

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Shepherd turned us into a laughing stock and Ashley has built quickly on that legacy. End of.

 

aye sure, he did. Everybody laughed at us when we rose from being a club with one foot in the 3rd division to playing europe and the champions league.

 

According to people like you, Shepherd was the only chairman who ever made someone a laughing stock. This ridiculous thinking always makes me laugh. You've spent too long in Manchester, but they are like that down there. Get a backbone and ignore it, laugh back, or tell them to piss off.

 

 

 

Poor show man. Not gonna rake over history but obviously it was SJH at the helm when we went from bottom of the 2nd back into the prem with Keegan. I realise Shepherd was involved with the club but it was Hall leveraging things on the financial side of things. That involved genuine risk and foresight. After that time the club had 'full houses' week in week out as Shepherd says-that and unprecedented TV money. He doesnt have any success to attribute that to though, or tangible success anyway so he's shooting himself in the foot. The Shepherd era had the sort of fan-financing of the club that only one or two clubs could better-but they all won things over that time and continue to do so now.

 

The Toon is a one club city and during Shepherd's time it has had money hand over fist from the fans (and regularly, in advance of the product it's offering). Shepherd had millions upon millions of other people's money to spend as a chairman and he spent it. Robson spent it well for him (by and large) but I give him no credit for Robson's appointment -his other appointees then spent very badly by and large, and this was worse because we all largely suspected they would.

 

After the Robson revival (no credit to Shepherd) came to an end and the club needed real direction from the top, we got Souness, Roeder and Allardyce. I'm not even going to waste my time on a critique of that sequence of inspired appointments. According to you though it's ok for a top level club to appoint a sequence of three proven spastics as manager.

 

As to the rest of what you said about me being Mancunian etc etc I'm gonna largely ignore it because it's nowt more than you having a pop. I can handle that though it's water off a ducks back, if you don't think I've developped coping strategies after being a Newcastle fan living in Manchester for all 31 years of my life then you have a naivety that belies your 60 years. What I will say though is that i've never said Shepherd is the only chairman who ever made someone a laughing stock-he isn't, but that's hardly a defence of the man. Which is more though, I don't care about any other clubs or any other chairmen-Shepherd made a laughing stock of MY club.

 

What I will also say (without apology) is that living outside of the Toon in the North West, you do get a practical and daily demonstration of how a club should be run on over a long term. I don't glory in that, it just makes certain things clearer to me. My view is also unpulluted by the fuckwit local press on Tyneside, which during Shepherd's era in particular became nowt more than his PR machine.

 

At the end of the day you've been made to look daft on God knows how many occasions on this board, with your flawed defence of Shepherd-something which would be the source of embarrasment to anyone else of your 70 years. You have the brassneck to accuse me of having no backbone mate but it's you that routinely flounces off vowing never to return only to re-emerge a few months later hoping your past ignominies have been forgotten. Sad tbh.

 

Shepherd is clearly bitter that he didn't make a bit more coin out of the sale of the club. He trots that line out every interview. Boo fucking hoo.

Thought you were older than 31 like. :(

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You have to invest in players to compete in the PL, buying players isn't a science it's a lottery most of the time as is hiring mangers. Most PL football clubs carry a lot of debt, some carry huge debt. You can't have it both ways.....Top level football is a gamble look at Spurs, most would say they have a good structure and have gone out and also had good managers, look at where they are.

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Nobody should ever look the other way at the awful mismanagement perpetrated by FFS while he was here. But for all his faults, he was a fan, he did care about the club doing well, he was never afraid to confront criticism, and he wasn't a freeloader trying to strip as much as he could from our club like one of his charv sportswear stores.

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Shepherd turned us into a laughing stock and Ashley has built quickly on that legacy. End of.

 

aye sure, he did. Everybody laughed at us when we rose from being a club with one foot in the 3rd division to playing europe and the champions league.

 

According to people like you, Shepherd was the only chairman who ever made someone a laughing stock. This ridiculous thinking always makes me laugh. You've spent too long in Manchester, but they are like that down there. Get a backbone and ignore it, laugh back, or tell them to piss off.

 

 

 

Poor show man. Not gonna rake over history but obviously it was SJH at the helm when we went from bottom of the 2nd back into the prem with Keegan. I realise Shepherd was involved with the club but it was Hall leveraging things on the financial side of things. That involved genuine risk and foresight. After that time the club had 'full houses' week in week out as Shepherd says-that and unprecedented TV money. He doesnt have any success to attribute that to though, or tangible success anyway so he's shooting himself in the foot. The Shepherd era had the sort of fan-financing of the club that only one or two clubs could better-but they all won things over that time and continue to do so now.

 

The Toon is a one club city and during Shepherd's time it has had money hand over fist from the fans (and regularly, in advance of the product it's offering). Shepherd had millions upon millions of other people's money to spend as a chairman and he spent it. Robson spent it well for him (by and large) but I give him no credit for Robson's appointment -his other appointees then spent very badly by and large, and this was worse because we all largely suspected they would.

 

After the Robson revival (no credit to Shepherd) came to an end and the club needed real direction from the top, we got Souness, Roeder and Allardyce. I'm not even going to waste my time on a critique of that sequence of inspired appointments. According to you though it's ok for a top level club to appoint a sequence of three proven spastics as manager.

 

As to the rest of what you said about me being Mancunian etc etc I'm gonna largely ignore it because it's nowt more than you having a pop. I can handle that though it's water off a ducks back, if you don't think I've developped coping strategies after being a Newcastle fan living in Manchester for all 31 years of my life then you have a naivety that belies your 60 years. What I will say though is that i've never said Shepherd is the only chairman who ever made someone a laughing stock-he isn't, but that's hardly a defence of the man. Which is more though, I don't care about any other clubs or any other chairmen-Shepherd made a laughing stock of MY club.

 

What I will also say (without apology) is that living outside of the Toon in the North West, you do get a practical and daily demonstration of how a club should be run on over a long term. I don't glory in that, it just makes certain things clearer to me. My view is also unpulluted by the fuckwit local press on Tyneside, which during Shepherd's era in particular became nowt more than his PR machine.

 

At the end of the day you've been made to look daft on God knows how many occasions on this board, with your flawed defence of Shepherd-something which would be the source of embarrasment to anyone else of your 70 years. You have the brassneck to accuse me of having no backbone mate but it's you that routinely flounces off vowing never to return only to re-emerge a few months later hoping your past ignominies have been forgotten. Sad tbh.

 

Shepherd is clearly bitter that he didn't make a bit more coin out of the sale of the club. He trots that line out every interview. Boo fucking hoo.

 

Verbose. :(

Edited by Fop

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You have to invest in players to compete in the PL, buying players isn't a science it's a lottery most of the time as is hiring mangers. Most PL football clubs carry a lot of debt, some carry huge debt. You can't have it both ways.....Top level football is a gamble look at Spurs, most would say they have a good structure and have gone out and also had good managers, look at where they are.

 

Aye if success on the cheap were possible, everyone would be doing it, but no one is (not even the much quoted Arsenal).

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