Following the passing of Freddy Shepherd, The Chronicle have shared some fascinating stories about the former NUFC chairman, revealing that the Geordie owner attempted to bring the likes of Rivaldo, Luis Figo and Dennis Bergkamp to the club during his time on Tyneside.
The late Freddy Shepherd may have brought Alan Shearer home in a world-record deal, also being the man responsible for our current club record signing (Michael Owen), however there were plenty other big deals the former Chairman tried to pull off.
The Chronicle revealed that Shepherd tried to sign Brazilian superstar Rivaldo, ex-Real Madrid ace Luis Figo, Dutch genius Dennis Bergkamp and world-class stopper Peter Schmeichel – also making an attempt to be reunited with fellow Geordies Chris Waddle and Paul Gascoigne in the early 1990s.
This is believed to be the team he wanted to create for Kevin Keegan’s entertainers, epitomising Freddy’s ambition and dream to make his beloved Newcastle United a force in world football:
What a team that would’ve been, not forgetting he also played a big part in the signings of David Ginola and Les Ferdinand at the time.
Towards the end of Shepherd’s time at Newcastle, The Chronicle also reveal that there were attempts to sign Samuel Eto’o and Manchester City’s captain Vincent Kompany – who was at Anderlecht at the time.
Back in 2014, here’s what Freddy had to say about his efforts to sign some of these world stars in an interview with The Chronicle:
“We made contact with them, but we didn’t always succeed.
“Some of them had already made their minds up or were trying to get a wage increase at the club they were at. We tried our best.
“Quite a few times we were close to persuading players to come but we always tried.”
Not every deal worked out, as expensive deals for Real Madrid’s Michael Owen and Barcelona’s Patrick Kluivert proved, but Freddy never lacked ambition and always wanted the best for his club.
As he admits, he didn’t always succeed, but how we miss an owner who at least tried to make us a force to be reckoned with.