Shepherd: “Maybe Ashley is right in his policy and I was wrong”

Posted on October 30th, 2011 | 25 Comments |

Shepherd heaps praise on Ashley.
Time to get behind Ashley, says Shepherd
Former Newcastle United owner Freddie Shepherd has surprisingly good things to say about the man who took over from him.

Freddie Shepherd celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday and in his after-dinner speech he actually heaped a load of praise on Mike Ashley which, given some of the criticism Shepherd has slung Ashley’s way in the past, is a bit of a surprise.

Shepherd said:

I am still a massive Newcastle fan. 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.

Well, quite. Mike Ashley has always has the right general idea about how the club should operate financially and the principles of his transfer policy are, I believe, good. Where Ashley has messed up is in the implementation of those policies, which led to a series of unmitigated disasters culminating in our relegation and a hell of a lot of anger towards Ashley from the fans.

Maybe all that was part of a learning curve for Ashley. He confessed he didn’t have a clue about how to run a football club a few years back and I’ve long argued his biggest mistake was employing Derek Llambias as the general manager rather than someone with a bit of football suss.

But maybe things will be rosy from now on. Or maybe Ashley still has some unpleasant surprises for us – who knows?

Anyway, apparently Shepherd has been offered a number of clubs to buy since selling Newcastle United but he said:

I am a Geordie. You can change your bank, your accountant, your wife, but you can’t change your football team.

Presumably he then shut up and they got around to dishing out those after-dinner mints everyone seems to like.

There still seems to be something of a divide between the fans over Ashley. There are some that will simply never forgive him for the Keegan debacle and a lot of the nonsense that followed it, and there are others that have always thought it a blessed relief that Ashley took over and that he’s a far better owner than Shepherd ever was. There are also a lot in the middle of the two extremes who are just waiting to see how things pan out from here.

I’m in that latter group for what it’s worth. I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen this season but there’s still a long way to go.

Hope you all remembered to put your clocks back!

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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25 Responses

  1. You can say the “trophy” signings of Hall & Shepherd were a waste of money as they won nothing, but it was an amazing time.

    Thanks for that.

    Ashley’s on a different course.
    9 games into the season it looks good.

    But they’ve taken a massive gamble with the defence.
    There is no cover, quality or depth there.

    Lucky so far.

    Hopefully the cover will come in January and the quality added over the next two seasons.

    Judge Ashley in three years time.

    Will HBA, Cabaye, Tiote … still be wearing b&w shirts?

  2. Will HBA, Cabaye, Tiote … still be wearing b&w shirts?
    – yes, but not for Juventus I hope!

  3. “I am a Geordie. You can change your bank, your accountant, your wife ” – and change one useless big fat owner for another.

  4. Personaly I don’t think tiote will be here. He is one of the beat midfield in the premier league. He has earned the right to play for any top four club in Europe. In three years time his value will be justifiably around the £20 million mark. Is rate home an easy £15 million now. So with the current mentality I think our days with tote are numbered.

    Did any one watch the Liverpool game yesterday? I thought Carroll had a good game. He was on from the start. So either dogleesh he’s put him in the shop window or the rumours of swap with cash are being put to rest.

  5. good start to the season yes,but i still think some people are getting a tad carried away.
    the game against stoke will be a real test,if we can get a draw,then that would be a good result.

    i think we are going to be in for a tough november,and the league table,may make for different viewing,come the end of the month.
    we are playing the big boys shortly,and a true reflection of where we really are,will kick in.

    some people are talking of europe,personally i’m not even thinking that far ahead,to me the points we have accrued so far,will go some way to making premiership football,a reality in 2012.
    if we can get to the 40 point mark,as quick as,then that will do for me,anything else is a bonus.

    as for fatboy,it’s far too early for backslapping just yet,we’ve had a decent start to the season,but is this just another ashley gamble,which at the moment is paying off?.
    the squad is still wafer thin,and we have picked up a few injuries,so we will see what we are made of,when we are up against it.

    hugh,you talk about ashley having some nasty suprises in store?,it is without doubt a possibility,as january is normally when he throws a brick in the pond.
    i would be happy if we got through the window without selling any of the family silver.

  6. TROJAN RECORDS 73 says: “hugh,you talk about ashley having some nasty suprises in store?,it is without doubt a possibility,as january is normally when he throws a brick in the pond.
    i would be happy if we got through the window without selling any of the family silver.

    He may just surprise us if we’ve still got a healthy league position by then.

    Or then again …

  7. Zzzzzzzzzz !
    Does anyone really give a shit what Fat Freddy says ?

    You been reading my mail, said that already on this blog !

    Question is, with a limited defensive group and no real cover for our most important player, (Tiote) are we going to risk a total collapse of our defense, by selling Colo ?

    Unless we have at lest a couple of decent defenders, already lined up that would be suicide.

    Why the hell are we so fixated on bringing in a Striker, when the obvious need is to strengthen the defense, a couple of long time or for that matter any injuries and we are scraping the barrel.

    Hey i dont get it? and have been harping on about this since the season began I know, just hope whoever is in control has lined up replacement/s in this window.
    Otherwise we could go slide down the ladder faster than we got here, with each place worth a half million quid.
    Go figure.

  8. chuck.haven’t really been on here much lately,i just think people get carried away,and forget it’s a marathon,and not a sprint.

  9. chucky, apparently we are looking at strengthening the central defence too, as well as securing a main striker. Go figure.

  10. Just watching the Juventus/Palermo game.
    Why cant we have a strip with black and white stripes like they do and like we used to have, the present strip has to be one of the most non-descript, ugly designs ever worn by a Newcastle side, Ugly with a capital U.
    Lets go for a Juventus style next year !
    Then again, the opposition’s strip as most fans are probably aware is Pink, wonder how if we were to choose their strip as an away alternative, how many fans would show up at away grounds, wearing that color.
    Possibly the antithesis of all things Geordie.

  11. Munchen

    That’s good to hear, wonder who we have lined up ?
    Could probably get a deal on Bassong, now fifth choice at Spurs.
    Yeah i know that does’nt sound good, but i doubt he suddenly became a bad player and the guy is versatile can play across the back four.
    Though he would have to win over the fans, a tough one.

  12. TROJAN RECORDS 73 says:
    October 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

    “good start to the season yes,but i still think some people are getting a tad carried away.
    the game against stoke will be a real test”

    The whole season will be the real test Trojan.

  13. Some of you might be interested – asks – is Birmingham City’s Chris Hughton The Most Underrated Manager In English Football ?

    once again Hughton has risen to the task at hand and, despite difficult circumstances, got the club to 8th in the Championship (with a game or two in hand on all the top 7), and doing well in the Europa League.

    Again, no one is singing his praises – when they should be. This modest and thoughtful man quietly goes about his business and has performed every time he has been asked to do so during his time in English football. He is a credit to his profession, and surely the most underrated manager in our game.

    Well done CH

  14. I should have put quotes on all that, its Birmingham’s words not mine – but I wish I’d said it.

  15. Supermac says:
    October 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    “Again, no one is singing his praises – when they should be.”

    Supermac, the Bluenoses are certainly starting to after an incredibly difficult start to their season with off pitch matters and player departures, It’s only Geordies who seem to underrate him though he laid many of the foundations for our current success. He brought Carr into the club for a start.

    The person I know who was taught coaching by Hughton absolutely raves about him.

  16. worky – If he manages to get them promotion it will be a fantastic double achievement and he’ll get a thunderous welcome home at SJP – before we thrash of course!

  17. Spurs, Arsanal & Liverpool all win! damnit – all breathing down our neck now – let’s show our spirit & get a result at Stoke!


  18. Supermac says:
    October 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    “Spurs, Arsanal & Liverpool all win! damnit”

    I was trying to isolate myself from the ‘spurs result until “MOTD2”

    Thanks for that Supermac! :-)

  19. worky – sorry mate, didn’t think – perhaps we should have a “Likely Lads” type rule of keeping gobs shut about scores – I’ll restrain myself in future!

  20. Supermac says:
    October 30, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    “worky – sorry mate, didn’t think – perhaps we should have a “Likely Lads” type rule of keeping gobs shut about scores”

    Oh aye Supermac! I remember that one. England v Bulgaria and Brian Glover was chasing Terry and Bob around. the match was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch in the end.

    The thing I always remember from the Return of the Likely Lads is the opening. The old Newcastle oming down and T Dan Smith’s “Brasilia of the North” gannin’ up. He said that he spoke of building “a city in the image of Athens, Florence and Rome.” and we got Elswick! My dad used to know him and he hated him. He was always battling him and his mate, Andy Cunningham in court. Pair of Bastads just like Fat Freddy!

    How’s that for shamelessly digressing, then suddenly bringing things back right back on topic Supermac? ;-)

  21. Listen, the fact Hughton is doing a great job at Brum. comes as no surprise to me or for that matter the cognoscenti.
    The who ?
    I’m talking about those “IN” the business, his fellow coaches and managers, who know who he is and what he is capable of (exclude our two top football geniuses from this bunch)
    You don’t survive as a coach, at a club like Spurs for years under various managers, without knowing your stuff.
    What he did as manager of this club, is still unbelievable, but did he get his just reward.
    Not from the owner or for the most part from the fans,how easy we forget!
    In fact there are many who were glad to see him go.
    But hey, it’s history aint it ?
    And you dont wanna hear about it, cause it makes you uncomfortable, especially when we are in, what is it ?
    fourth place.
    Best fans in the country, hey ! Pardew just said it,
    Yeah right.

  22. Big one the-morra, 4pm EST on FSC. for those in the city.
    As i stated, no one likes to go to the Brittania, in fact i believe most dread it.
    Kinda like playing against BSA’s Bolton in the day.
    On the other hand they have looked susceptible lately, a win against them would give the side a confidence boost, going into the tough upcoming schedule.
    Hopefully both Tiote and Saylor will be available, Cat Balue nose and all (designed in the USA)
    Hopefully both a good game and another three points.

  23. Why do you keep giving this evil turd publicity? We spent £300 million? You didn’t spend a penny you thieving scumbag. Sir Bobby forever.