The soap opera saga of Newcastle United has taken yet another turn as it has emerged that former Chairman Freddy Shephard has made a £60 million bid to regain control of Newcastle United from Mike Ashley.
Shephard is said to be fronting a consortium to regain control of the club he left two years ago and is trying to negotiate a knockdown price with the now desperate Ashley.
Given only three years ago the Newcastle fans were protesting for Shephard’s removal as Chairman following poor results under manager Glenn Roeder, then this is a remarkable turn around.
However whether his possible return will be greeted with open arms is open to question as Newcastle are likely to still bear resentment to the man and may see Shephard as no improvement on current incumbent Ashley.
One thing that might be in Shephard’s favour is that he is said to have a close relationship with prospective manager Alan Shearer whom former Chairman Sir John Hall tasked Shephard to persuade Shearer to join Newcastle in 1996 for a then world record fee of £15 million. If he took control it is expected that he would appoint Shearer permanently to the role of manager of Newcastle as they tackle the Championship next season.
However Shephard has been involved in controversy throughout his time at Newcastle including in an undercover News of the World interview claiming the Newcastle women are all “dogs” and that Alan Shearer was “Mary Poppins” of football. He even mocked fans for paying for expensive replica shirts.
When Mike Ashley took over without performing due diligence he soon found out Newcastle had amassed large debts under the Hall family and Shephard which was surprising particularly as Shephard had earned £8.3 million in dividends and salary between the period of 1998 to 2005. These details may worry Newcastle fans they can no longer count on the large TV money from the Premiership.
But while Newcastle is currently in limbo with a Chairman who wants to sell, no permanent manager and a large wage bill. Sometimes in life you have to make a deal with the devil to live.