Shepherd calls time on feud with Ashley

Go on Freddy. Crack a smile!

Go on Freddy. Crack a smile!
It’s fair to say that former NUFC supremo, Freddy Shepherd was never shy of facing the media.

In fact some would say that his penchant for giving a soundbite here and an appearance there caused more trouble than it was worth. Anyone remember the brothel? The calling Geordie women dogs? The fake Sheikh?

Controversy aside, you have to say he did back his managers, all 15,000 of them that he hired and subsequently fired during his tenure at St James’ Park. Of course it’s all history now after a rather hostile takeover in which Shepherd was pretty much faced with no other option than to sell his shares in Newcastle United.

Naturally this has led to some friction between previous and current owner Mike Ashley with Shepherd often unable to resist having a dig at this, that, or the other when it comes to Ashley’s ownership.

However these next few lines may come as a surprise to most of you. Speaking The Independent Shepherd conceded that perhaps he got it wrong, and that maybe, just maybe, Mike Ashley’s direction for the club is the right one to take. Here goes.

“I am still a massive Newcastle fan,” said Shepherd. “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’ve long maintained that the perfect Newcastle United owner is somewhere between what Shepherd was and what Ashley is. A morph between the two would be ideal, but also ugly, and chunky. Could you imagine the careful scouting and research we put into signings now combined with a slightly looser purse string? Could you imagine Ashley’s vision for youth and training facilities mixed in with Shepherd’s penchant for making sure the first team was all fine and dandy?

Unfortunately we don’t live in the perfect world and it is Mike Ashley that we have running the club. In fairness he seems to be slowly but surely making a decent fist of it although at the moment we are still a little bit too short in the first team for me to be really really happy. A defender and a striker along with keeping what we have in January would do just nicely.

However those are my own thoughts. I want to hear yours.

At the end of the day it’s tough to be overly critical given the start we’ve made and the players we’ve signed for the outlay. I really don’t think our recruitment has been beaten anywhere in terms of quality in for cash spent. Grudgingly, Shepherd is right.

If Ashley and Co get the stick for doing things wrong then surely in the interests of balance the things they get right should also be considered?

52 thoughts on “Shepherd calls time on feud with Ashley

  1. Yup, fair play – happy with the club from top to bottom at the moment, will hate Ashley again once we have a few defeats/injuries or he sells Tiote/cabaye/collo


  2. Well I for one am slowly coming to the same conclusion, and that is down to the fact that we are close to breaking even financially, we have a good team on and off the pitch.
    Look at how this has been achieved..Ashley hires Pardew (I didn’t want him near our club if I’m honest) who has the team playing well, he has backed him when it comes to transfers (a striker being the exception), he has brought in a good backroom staff (some were already here I know) and has us on a sound financial footing (vital when the new Uefa rules come in to play).
    Fair enough the guy has made some major mistakes, for which he has rightly or wrongly received huge amounts of stick.
    True there are still some negatives but ultimately we are getting what every toon fan wants, a competitive team and isn’t that the be all and end all?

    I think maybe he is slowly getting to grips with the business of running a football club, although he has learned the hard way.
    Maybe its time to cut the guy some slack..


  3. “After all, no one really owns Newcastle because it’s simply a football institution.”

    A football club that he serially raped & an instituation that when he part owned it totally abused the trust the fans had in him.


  4. Thing is Ashley should look at this period of stability we are having, look at what is causing, and keep doing it. It should be a sign that he can build bridges with fans and that it’s much better to have the majority on side than be against him


  5. Toonsy…do you not think that this stabilty is down to past decisions, decisions that resulted in him being hated ironically?


  6. Witters – Perhaps.I really don’t believe that was his aim though. More that it clicked by accident if you know what I mean? Althoigh I do get what you;re saying 🙂


  7. I won’t be jumping on the Ashley is great bandwagon just yet.

    I still believe with his knack of fcking things up something will happen, probably the sale of one of our best players for lots of money and they won’t be invested.

    But let’s be honest, this has been. Great start to the season but we still have a very small squad and it showed against the poorest PL side on Wednesday that when you take away one centre half we get ripped apart and concert four goals.

    January will show his ambitions.


  8. Its a fallacy to suggest Shepherd backed his managers, a nonsense. Shepherd held the gaze of the mob with yet to be paid for trophy signings whilst paying out millions in dividends to the shareholders. (Mainly Shepherds and Halls)

    Ashleys mistakes were in the main – mistakes we all may have made. I was delighted when Keegan came back – so how can I criticise the decision to appoint him because it went wrong.

    Fans who could not and can not see what was/is happening showed their “simpleness” – Potty was a ringleader of the simple brigade – who twisted and whined at every correct decision.


  9. Shepherd has been offered five clubs to buy since he left St James’ Park but added: “I am a Geordie. You can change your bank, your accountant, “your wife”, but you can’t change your football team.”… least there is one sensible statement in there !

    I wonder if John Hall was invited to Shephard’s birthday bun-fight ? I’m curious as to the development of that relationship, cos they both and KK pulled the team together in those days to give us the “entertainers era”…then the club was sold to MA. This article reads as if Shepherd was forced to sell NUFC to MA from his hospital bed, which was somewhat the case from my recollection, but my goldfish memory fails me… 😳

    It’s a pity that two blokes who have so much purported love for NUFC (MA & FS) cannot pool there resources, financially and spiritually for the betterment of NUFC. There again maybe MA cannot stand FS’s dish cos of the way one of geordielands finest sons sold a financial basket case to MA then “sniggered behind the backs of there hands” that they had gotten away with it…due dilligence…blah blah etc… 🙄


  10. Stardust@10…spot on there with the first part of your statement up to the Keegan bit.

    The rest is bollocks mate… 😆


  11. MA took the rap, and maybe rightly so, for the fact that KK couldn’t do the Messiah 2 bit and also fulfill the fans expectations connected to that ? Maybe all in all misaligned expectations from the fans regarding KK, which is always likely to happen when the emotions connected to a large football club are involved.
    Someone then has to take the stick, and that will invariably be the person at the top of the tree… blatant lying aside of course… 🙄 🙄


  12. Munich Mag I think the reason Shephard has failed to invest in anyone else is the fact that financially he invested very little in Newcastle United to start with -he was a taker not a giver. He basically took massive dividends, a huge salary, had his, his family (along with the Hall’s) all with their snouts cemented in the trough. When he walked away with his millions which he had plundered from NUFC why would he risk losing it by investing in another club. As we all know it’s not enough to be a millionaire any more to own a football club. Despite his protests over the years he’s done very nicely from NUFC for very little outlay. Can’t remember the exact numbers but can dig them out.


  13. You are right Witters that has always been his aim and he has stuck to it. very good read that. The bloke made some bad mistakes (and told some lies) but the club has been very well run for the last 2 and a half years. Freddy Shepherd isn’t the only one waking up to it – the club are also getting some good press for a change.

    Toonsy is right a little loosening of the purse strings along with continuing to run the club in a financially sustainable way, great scouting system, and developing our own players and we will be in a very good state.

    I don’t get why some fans still continue with the Ashley out chants at SJP (though they are few and far between now) – as Pardew says it is surely better to have the owner on side and wanting to invest rather than continuing to slag him off. The bloke will not get on my Xmas card list but I think he is winning a lot of people over and there are sure as hell worse owners out there.


  14. good article, and a fair point(s) to raise

    I think the truth is somewhere between the 2 (shep and ash)

    we bought (tried to) big: owen, kluivert, luque, boumsong et al and paid for it
    Ashly may have been forced to take this route and get better value for money, however not to sound negative, for me the key is the scouting network and maybe MA/DL trusting AP to get the job done


  15. Munich – the ‘lies’ were tiny and simply pr post KK’s walkout trying to manage the situation. The club admitted to doing them – they were trying to stem the mob backlash – which I don’t blame them for. KK always knew he was to be working for a DOF – though the crux of the trial was KK even wanted the final say-so on commercial signings (Gonzalez) – which the Tribunal sided with.

    Though for the life of me I can’t see it as a just decision as surely a man with with money has the right to decide where he spends it. IMO the tribunal was handled atrociously by NUFCs QC. He thought he had won before he got there and didn’t do the work needed to counter KK.

    See .wankytissues ratings have plummeted again since you stopped making guest appearances!


  16. Fee agreed for Maiga according to the Sunday Sun:

    NEWCASTLE United have moved to make Modibo Maiga their first January signing – and there could be a couple more in during the window as Mike Ashley flexes his financial muscles.

    The Sunday Sun understands that United have agreed a fee in the region of around £6million for Maiga and have verbally agreed terms with the Mali international.

    A United delegation was in Paris a fortnight ago to speed up the deal, which is dependant on a medical.

    And while Newcastle will not confirm the signing yet – they are still too wary of rival offers for the striker to publicly reveal their hand – all the pieces are in place to land a long-term target.

    At just 24, United are not signing the finished article.

    He is tall at over 6ft but is wiry and quick – along with being left-footed, which fills another criteria.

    A four-and-a-half-year deal will triple his current wages but still fit comfortably in United’s new financial reality.

    The Sunday Sun understands Alan Pardew will travel to Sochaux to watch him in the coming weeks and work out how he would integrate into the side.

    And United are now looking at other targets too, with a central defender and a central midfielder wanted.

    They have compiled a hit list of SIX players who are out of contract at the end of the season and enquiries are being made.

    It is also a sign that they are braced for interest in Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini – although United would not sell either unless mega money offers come in.


  17. nice one digging that one out witters,it looks like,its been the plan all along,following arsenals example,think the futures looking good


  18. Not that i want to open up the big can of worms that was KeeganGate but what were the lies the club told? I honestly cant remember reading what they were but since the case happened i always here bout the lies, Any help?


  19. Is anybody else worried about this strange comment in the Sunday Sun article?

    “The Sunday Sun understands Alan Pardew will travel to Sochaux to watch him in the coming weeks and work out how he would integrate into the side”

    Surely, when you’re looking for players, the first thing you do is try to identify those players who would best integrate into the side, and then decide whether or not you are prepared to pay the asking price. What we seem to be doing is the complete opposite – ie. only identifying those players who are going for the right price, and then deciding how (if at all) they would integrate into the side!

    Horses and carts spring to mind.


  20. I’d be more worried about…

    “Newcastle are keeping tabs on central midfield and central defender targets just in case a mega bucks offer comes in for Tiote or Colo”

    With regard to agreeing the deal for Maiga etc. clearly he’s been scouted thoroughly by Carr et al and now it’s just a matter of the manager giving the final OK about whether to sign him or not. Or would you rather have the summer’s shenanigans where we got all the ducks in a row before starting the negotiations process?


  21. As usual, agree with you Stardust .. whilst FFS spent money, it was money we didn’t have – short term gain for long term pain and ultimately it was his shoddy business policy (sorry to all the dreamers but it is a business and has to be run accordingly), that left us in the situation we are in today. Don’t want to re-open a debate that myself / Stardust / Hitman have argued over since it happened but if KK had loved NUFC – like he professed + the simpleness wrongly blvd he did, he wudn’t have insisted on taking the cash. Altho it isnt surprising he did as it was his failure to grasp/accept the need for a more prudent fiscal policy at NUFC that meant MA had to get rid. Its like Nolan telling judas to go to the bindippers, wasn’t mentioned anywhere near enough – poor judgement by people who are supposed to have NUFC close to their heart. And i don’t care if people think KK deserved to get compensation – he has plenty of cash and as said if he loved the club, wundt have pursued compensation.


  22. Chris,
    I think going out and trying to find a forward who fits all the criteria and will play exactly to our “style” is a bit of a tall order.
    What has been a major problem in the past has been buying quality proven players and making them play to the teams plans rather than players strengths. When we had Carroll we played to his strengths. Certainly makes sense if the forward is good enough.


  23. Stardust@17….some of the negative stuff that goes on over there makes me laugh, then I cannot keep my fat gob shut… 😆 😆 😆
    The interesting difference is the differing agenda’s being propogated by the different blogs, and in fact fan groups. Just goes to show how split the opinions are throughout the differing “fan groups” are over our favourite subject – NUFC.

    The Ashley out group
    The give Ashley a chance group
    The Pardew is a puppet group
    The give Pardew a chance group
    Chrissy Houghton is the messiah group
    Keggy is the messiah group
    Keggy let us down group

    Please add groups as required….. 😆 😆 😆 😆

    “Divide and conquer” comes to mind.. 😆


  24. Chris G – do you seriously think that they haven’t thought about he would be integrated in the team – if indeed we are intending to buy him .. the whole point is that cash will not be spent unless NUFC can be as close to being sure that there will be a good return, as possible. Its b ulls hit from the press trying to stir up c rap …. and they have succeeded! get a grip – if we are going to sing him, there will be a plan.


  25. Pipes 😆

    How anyone can think signings aren’t thought about is obtuse – I’ve never seen a better collection of incoming players tan we are signing.

    For years – idiot football pundits – come out with lines like “he isn’t a football man, (ex-pro) he doesn’t understand or know what he is doing” at the same time the ‘football men’ have allowed wages to sprial, have ruined countless clubs financially and have this ‘winning is the only thing that counts and prostitute your soul to get it.

    Whereas we all enjoy football where the majority don’t win trophies, we take smaller enjoyments from victories in games, goals or tackles. And whether or not the ‘football men’ like it or not, they’ve decimated the roots of football – its time for their knowledge to be complemented by those experienced in business too.

    All of the above is epitomised by the t0ssers on MOTD.


  26. Stardust , I hate football pundits esp the ones on Sky 👿 They do my nut. All you get from them is ‘ Oh that club wont do anything unless the spend loads of money ‘. Without sounding as a crazy conspricy nut I swear the pundits are told to put that out there for fans to worry and in turn put pressure on their boards to spend more money and for them to need Sky even more to get more money to spend on players for the sake of it.


  27. Morning Stardust .. loving ‘the simpleness’ very funny … nervous about tomoz .. . fingers crossed Tiote fit, we min of 25% worse team without him imo


  28. Thad… are spot on there with your comment….

    I’d be more worried about…

    “Newcastle are keeping tabs on central midfield and central defender targets just in case a mega bucks offer comes in for Tiote or Colo”

    It could develop into a Andy Carroll scenario….everyone has their price, it’s just a question of whether we would sell. If Man Utd for example were to make an insane offer for Tiote then Cashley would probably sell him. Surely everyone as fan can see that scenario, unfortunate as it is. My worry is that Man Ure throw cash and players at the toon in return for Tiote.

    Mega-bucks for Tiote…how much is that ? 25 – 30 mill ?
    Mega-bucks for Collo….how much is that ?…a lot lesser I would imagine due to his age. 12 Mill ?

    The clue is how the club comes out of it at the other end after the wheelings and dealings are finished.

    What if we sold Tiote for a 30 million pound profit, and the next day Carr pulled “Son of Tiote” out of the hat from Utrecht reserves for 5 thousand euros and a years supply of bovril crisps ?

    The club would be naive NOT to be looking for a Tiote and Collo replacement IN THE EVENT that someone made a mental bid for our star players which we couldn’t refuse…


  29. Stardust …..good to see you back….

    See Toonsy had over 900 hits on one post during the week…immense stuff. Something other blogs can only dream of… 😉 ….though there is probably a reason for the interest or lack of interest, someone is doing something right somewhere… 😆


  30. Premandup

    when Tiote first arrived at the toon the majority of us where thinking who is this lad we got from nowhere on the cheap…!!? Now Tiote is the dogs bollocks, the main man…

    Maybe Carr has “Son of Tiote” lined up elsewhere, he doesn’t have to come from within our own ranks, that’s why we have our scouting network doing the rounds…


  31. Offtopic but looking for some advice:

    I haven’t been to a game this season yet due to moving away from the area but will be back for the Everton game with a few friends. I used to sit up in L7 next to the away fans for the atmosphere. Where is best to sit now for atmosphere? I like a good singsong I do.


  32. Don’t see the issue about the player integration thing. There is a difference between scouting a striker and integrating him as you won’t know exactly what you’ve got until you get him if that makes sense? Why plan fully when it may not come off?

    On topic really glad that Shepherd piped up as its fits nicely with an article Archie sent me yesterday 🙂


  33. Toonsy, yes very prescient that FFS piped up, quick to join in the praise – he wudnt want to appear off trend ………… of course, we do all need to keep wor feet on the ground … personally very concerned about tomoz night if Tiote not playing ..


  34. Munich – I always read fella – but don’t tend to post as much when things are going well and their is a general positive view. I tend to post more in times of diverse opinion.

    Being always right and all that, I have to tell the world what’s what then 😆 😆 😆

    Pipes – I expect Tiote to play tomorrow, he signed a clause in his contract which he has an undertaking to play in every game unless suspended, decapitated (and he must have lost his head – otherwise he is obliged to play – headless horseman style – with his head under his arm), or dead.

    So by my reckoning he will be fit and available 😆


  35. Munich – if Troy’s source is correct, Tiote is to be sold and a replacement is lined up – good business if a bit heartbreaking. Short term pain – long term gain. Its in NUFCs long term interest.


  36. TP aswell as Tiote I hope Saylor is playing as Colo didn’t have a very good game against BBurn, he looked a bit suspect without Saylor beside him.


  37. Wonder why Freddie had his birthday bun-fight in the smoke and not up north ?

    I suppose that previously Shepherd has been one of Ashley’s critics when things were going tough, it’s only fair that he should give Ashley purported praise where it’s due, now that we are flying high, however short lived it may be. But somehow I get the feeling that FS is hoping to fit in some profiling of his own through the newspaper article, when really it’s all down to MA’s cost cutting and Pardew’s efforts…


  38. Stardy@41….we know Troy has access to mystic meg and the magic crystal, but we also know sometimes his crystal ball get’s a bit clouded… 😆

    January is approaching, get the seat belts strapped on it could be a bumpy ride. Get the articles and the self-help groups lined up Toonsy, the samaritans number at the top of the blog wouldn’t go amiss too either … 🙄


  39. The funny thing was I heard a few simpletons saying that Colo was the calming influence, and that when Saylor was playing next to him made him a bit nervous.
    But imo he looks a lot more nervous when Saylor isn’t in the side.


  40. Munich – I know who Troy’s source is – as Troy and I are good friends – I also have a similar story confirmed by someone else – from DLs mouth whilst drunk.


  41. Stardust, feel free to re-post your statement @41 for all a non-believers when you are proven correct. 😆 😆 😆 I’m right behind you mate.


  42. Big Dave@45…… on mate. Collo looks a much better player with the Geordie maestro in the Shola mask alongside him… 😉 Just watch how much better we are as a defensive unit on Monday night with Saylor and Raylor back in the team. (Tiote too hopefully…btw)…

    We’re gonna need Saylor anyway up against the twelve foot tall half man/half robot Crouch… 😆



    Could this statement be a subtle wake up call towards the toon management…. Obviously ambitious players want to play at the highest level, if we don’t make it to europe then they will get fed up and look elsewhere. We need to hope that we have shared ambitions as a football club, cos you can probably hoy Cabaye in there too…they all want to perfom at the highest level, Europa League THIS SEASON is a must perhaps…hhmm….interesting stuff… 🙄


  44. Forget the Sunday papers, its take me an hour to read through these comment, to Another great article from Toonsy.
    On the striker subject, i’m a little worried IF this story on Modibo Maiga is true
    Left footed, winger/striker-the team already looks unbalanced with totally left footed player’s pushed out on the right.HBA-SM
    IE HBA performance @BBR, looked /seemed much more effective on the wing.IMO. [from what i could see from my Shite seat in the corner] Still cant belive the EC gave Oberton 7/10, 🙄
    Cant see anyone paying big buck fro Collo @30 yrs old,
    Pay- reading the papers and blog, his wage is somewhere between 48k to 82k 🙄 Will NUFC give Collo an improved contract on either if these wages- Unlikely. to push on as stated by others today we need a Striker, RB and decent cover for CB, and – most importantly none of the first 11 to move on 😛


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