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Furious Freddy blasts Ashley’s latest scheme.

Posted on October 30th, 2009 | 78 Comments |

I wouldn't do it
I wouldn't do it
Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has blasted Ashley over his plans to sell the stadium naming rights.

Freddy said:

I suppose nothing surprises me about the current regime, so news they are ready to sell the naming rights isn’t exactly a shock.

I appreciate we are living in a commercial world, but there are some things money can’t buy.

St James’ Park is one of the most famous stadia, not just in Europe but in the world. You can go anywhere and everyone knows St James’ Park is the home of Newcastle United. The two are synonymous.

I just can’t imagine St James’ Park being called anything else. Whatever next? Why don’t they just go the whole hog and change the name of the club itself?

Fans will be horrified, angry and upset about this. They’ve had to put up with a lot in recent months, but this is just another blow.”

Well, quite, but let’s not forget that Freddie Shepherd described Ashley as “an excellent custodian of Newcastle United’s heritage” when he sold his shares to him a few years ago. Not his best call eh?

Shepherd goes on to say he resisted the temptation to sell the stadium naming rights himself when he was chairman:

I can remember when we had the chance to change the name of the ground when I was chairman.

It was just after flotation and big-name companies were falling over themselves to get involved in football – and back then, Newcastle were right up there with the Manchester Uniteds, Liverpools and Arsenals.

We were offered something like £3million for a five-year deal. The branding specialists didn’t reveal the identity of the interested parties, otherwise we could just have approached the companies direct.

The money could have been 10-times that and I would still not have been interested. There are some things money can’t buy.”

If a money-making idea is too appalling for Shepherd to contemplate it must be bad.

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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78 Responses

  1. time for u to shut your yapper fat fred you would sell your arse for a quid just as the other fat tw@t would

  2. He’s got a bl**dy nerve. If he hadn’t of ‘sold the family silver’ and left the coffers empty by spending all future revenue, old fatty probably wouldn’t be going to these extreme measures to try to raise revenue. Fat Fred and his cronies have done enough over the years for them to keep their mouths well and truly shut, if they had an ounce of decency among them.

  3. geordie deb says:
    October 30, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Deb, everyone keeps going on about Shepherd spending all the future revenue but what has Ashley done with the three year season ticket money?

    That’s not in a little account to be withdrawn every summer. That’s gone the same way as the sponsorship money.

  4. geordie deb says:
    October 30, 2009 at 9:10 am
    Stuart I’ve no idea how the three year season ticket money has been allocated.

    It went towards reducing losses over the last year. There will be a hole in the finances this year and next.

  5. I just e-mailed this to NUFC and am not expecting anything back:

    “The proposed renaming of St James’ Park is insanity of the highest order. It’s symptomatic of slack, sales oriented, short termism that’s blighted the current regime from day one. I’ve no doubt Mike consulted his “PR Gurus” before making this decision…people who neither know, nor care what it means to give your heart and soul to supporting a football club.
    Mine is not some woolly, sentimental argument; a misty eyed hark-back to the days of yore! Those objections aside, there are valid, economic points raised by this ludicrous idea:
    (1) Has anyone thought to weigh the economic impact of a fan backlash (versus revenue generated by renaming) that this would cause. Anyone spending five seconds on the various NUFC blog sites could accurately gauge that figure merely by it’s unpopularity. I don’t hold out much hope for this argument as Mike has publicly stated his disgust at fans gripes; claiming his investment in the club far outweighs that of the theirs. I think what Mike should’ve considered there, by the way, is his investment has been over two years…ours has been well over 100 years; let’s see how those figures stack up!!

    (2) If Arsenal’s £100m mega deal is what’s got everyone’s juices flowing, allow me to shine a little harsh light on that. That deal was negotiated with Emerites pre-credit crunch…over a fifteen year period; for a world renowned, successful, Premiership side with a strong infrastructure, massive squad,stable/experienced management and unlimited future potential. Leaving aside for a moment that NONE of the phrases I’ve just used can be applied to NUFC….NONE OF THEM! I fail to see what kind of company this idea will attract. Why would anyone, with a significant amount to invest, chose to do so knowing how unpopular it would be with bedrock support, knowing that ANY name change would be largely ignored and knowing they would be cosying up to a regime that, in the last two years, has become a byword for incompetence and failure.

    (3) What I like to call the ridicule factor. Opposition fans, up and down the country would make sport of the name change. Do we really need to give anyone another stick to beat us with? I would appreciate a response to this, please. I’m a passionate, and committed fan. In case you’re wondering what qualifies my opinions… I work in London…in the advertising industry…so I know of which I speak. Any, self-respecting Media agency would tell Mike the cons far outweigh the pros on this one.”

    The e-mail link is on the official site…might be worth a punt? Although they’ll probably just shut it down if it gets too busy.

  6. hugh, you are totally wrong about fat fred saying fat mike would be a great custodian of tradition. That was sir john hall. Fat fred was on his death bed with pneumonia when sir john sold his shares allowing fat mike to force the sale of fat freds. Freddie was livid ! He has always claimed that. So get your facts straight before slagging fat fred . . Fat fred had his faults and i wouldn t want to see him back but ashley is by far worse and i dont want any credit thrown his way.
    Batty, did you enjoy cuddling up wi stardy last night. He said you went to bed spoons.

  7. troy he made me sleep in the back garden but he did give me a nice new box to sleep in what a lovely lad he is

  8. It was fat fred and his pals that renamed the gallowgate and the leazes so he’s not in any position to criticise.

  9. I don’t see the problem with renaming the ground if it brings in some much needed cash, to the real match going fans it will always be St James’ Park.

    Most likely to be St James Park sponsored by Mars anyway rather than giving the ground a new name as everyone will know it as SJP.

    It’s a tricky situation, the club has no money and are looking at ways to generate new income so that we can compete in the transfer market next season, fans expect the club to spend money but don’t want them to raise money this way while offering up no real alternative.

    They are hardly going to take any notice of that email btw so I wouldn’t waste your time sending it.

  10. the problem is ashley hasnt a decent thought in his head,hes trying to use the arsenal model again,the mans a joke…long live FFS

  11. rangerman we will get peanuts for selling the rights to the ground a few mill a year,i would be suprised if it went to buyin plyers,not that you could get much like.

  12. hitman wen i was living in stoke 22 year ago i beat eric brostow in a 501 leg and he give me his darts because he sed they were shite ive still got them

  13. “Rangerman says:
    October 30, 2009 at 10:54 am”

    “It’s better to light one candle, than to stand cursing the darkness.”

    “In order for evil to succeed, it is enough that good men do nothing.”

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

  14. It all adds up, Hitman.

    With money from naming rights to go with some cash from shirt sponsors and makers it should see a decent boost to the clubs income, if we can get straight back up to the Premiership this figure should be even higher.

    Add to that the extra money from being in the top flight and with the wage bill finally being cut then we should be looking at being in a position where we can start generating our own transfer funds.

  15. Each to their own, Excelsior.

    Like most other spam that gets sent through their email it will only get deleted without anyone with any sort of power seeing it.

  16. and you think ashley will spend it on new players,more like he will put it into running costs.rangerman have you learnt nothing why ashley has been here he will not give CH money for the first team,if we do go up we will come straight back down,coz ashley wont spend the money to keep us up.

  17. troy stavers says:
    October 30, 2009 at 10:35 am

    “hugh, you are totally wrong about fat fred saying fat mike would be a great custodian of tradition. That was sir john hall. Fat fred was on his death bed with pneumonia when sir john sold his shares allowing fat mike to force the sale of fat freds. Freddie was livid ! He has always claimed that. So get your facts straight before slagging fat fred . .”

    It was Fat Freddy, Troy. The full quote was:

    “The board believes that St James Holdings Ltd and Mike Ashley will be excellent custodians of Newcastle United’s heritage and will provide the best possible opportunity for the club to flourish,”

  18. The PROPOSED name change has afforded a great opportunity
    for everyone and his brother to take a shot at Ashley, it`s a no brainer, so get on the bandwaggon.
    If we look at it in a less emotional manner, bringing in a few extra million is not a bad thing.
    Will the new Liverpool stadium (if they ever get it built) be named Anfield or the proposed Spurs stadium be called White Heart Lane ?, the odds are against it.
    It is a trend that began in the U.S.and has spread, any new form of revenue is and has been exploited by various sports franchises including football clubs here,Arsenal
    and others and will continue.
    So get used to it, you dont have to like it, but the odds are it will continue.
    As for Freddy, “they offered three million over five years, but i would`nt have accepted ten times that amount”
    Yeah right Freddy !

  19. chuck says:
    October 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    “Will the new Liverpool stadium (if they ever get it built) be named Anfield or the proposed Spurs stadium be called White Heart Lane ?, the odds are against it.”

    That is a different thing though Chuck, they are new stadiums that are without historical associations. Even the American owned Manchester United and Liverpool, which are both currently in alot of debt wouldn’t dare to rename Old Trafford and Anfield.

  20. Workey
    Yeah! would you be willing to bet the farm on that, there is no end to greed my friend.
    Say for instance the Glazers were offered five million a year to rename Old Trafford, were talking fifty million over ten years and that`s not unthinkable in to-days market.
    Think they would turn it down, fifty million ?
    I remember the photo of the God, Emperor, Hirohito shaking hands with Mickey Mouse @ Disneyworld many years ago.
    From then on all bets were off, anything is possible and it has proven to be true.

  21. Hitman@31- Now that is bad news. Can anything more go wrong with this club?
    I remember when he was going to leave to manage Swindon town, but we managed to keep him.

  22. yeah im sad to see money leave he done a good job

    also why didnt i figure ot out sooner that ashley never supported spurs he is an arsenal fan

    d’oh

    it all seems obvious now

  23. summerof69 says:
    October 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    “also why didnt i figure ot out sooner that ashley never supported spurs he is an arsenal fan”

    69, Ashley used to be a Chelsea and England supporter. He’s never supported Arsenal or Spurs.

  24. chuck says:
    October 30, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    “Yeah! would you be willing to bet the farm on that, there is no end to greed my friend.”

    There is in Barcelona, Chuck. They refuse even shirt sponsorship and instead PAY Unicef millions of Euros every year for the privilege of wearing their logo on their shirt.

  25. also why didnt i figure ot out sooner that ashley never supported spurs he is an arsenal fan”

    69, Ashley used to be a Chelsea and England supporter. He’s never supported Arsenal or Spurs.

    realy ?? how do you know that he seems to be doing things the srsenal way though with the arsenal model and now renaming the stadium

  26. summerof69 says:
    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    “realy ?? how do you know that”

    I’ve seen it in several places, and I think he even said it himself in an interview. It’s a known thing anyway that he regularly used to visit Stamford Bridge to support the team.

    All that stuff about Spurs was started because he was good friends with Paul Kelmsley, an ex ‘Spurs director.

  27. workyticket says: “There is in Barcelona, Chuck. They refuse even shirt sponsorship and instead PAY Unicef millions of Euros every year for the privilege of wearing their logo on their shirt.”

    And Villa forego shirt sponsorship to promote a children’s charity.

  28. Does anyone know what we got of northern rock. and its nice to see villa sponser Acorn they must realise that clubs are suppose to support the community.

  29. completely of topic but my local Taxi firm paid for Keith gillispie to play for my local team Glentoran

  30. Big Dave says:
    October 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    “Does anyone know what we got of northern rock.”

    Both sides were very secretive about that, though the papers said it was ‘understood’ to be around the £25 million area.

    Freddy Shepherd spent it along with the Adidas money though through leveraged debt to pay for players such as Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins. Meanwhile, alot of the money he should have used for that was paid to himself and the rest of the Geordie Mafia in the form of huge salaries, bonuses and other perks. This was part of the financial ‘black hole’ Ashley found to his horror after he omitted the process of ‘due diligence’ on the club’s financials.

    A new sponsorship deal with NR has been negotiated, however it doesn’t start until next year.

  31. Worky > A new sponsorship deal with NR has been negotiated, however it doesn’t start until next year.
    Do you think we are tied to them ? and on the subject of shirt sponsers I thought Broon ended because of the laws regarding advertising alcohol, but then Lfc is sponsered by carlsberg

  32. Worky I read that and 100% agree. I have allways said that no one will get the time needed to built a good team while Big Al is still in the background

  33. Big Dave says:
    October 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    “Worky > A new sponsorship deal with NR has been negotiated, however it doesn’t start until next year.
    Do you think we are tied to them ? and on the subject of shirt sponsers I thought Broon ended because of the laws regarding advertising alcohol, but then Lfc is sponsered by carlsberg”

    If we’ve signed a contract, then we’re committed.

    No, it didn’t have anything to do with an advertising ban. I don’t know all the in and outs Dave, but NTL took over and that company, the Hall’s and the Shepherds had very close links at that stage. It was even thought that NTL would buy the whole club at the time.

  34. Big Dave says:
    October 30, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    “Worky I read that and 100% agree. I have allways said that no one will get the time needed to built a good team while Big Al is still in the background”

    But that’s just completely insane and self destructive, Dave. Why will no-one else get a chance apart from Shearer?

  35. Evenin’, back on the map!

    Disagree a bit about the Shearer theory. Ashley has dangled the Shearer carrot but the main problem appears to be the fact they see Hughton as a coach.

    Regards McNally’s point about chants of Shearer though, unless I wasn’t listening properly, I didn’t hear any of that on Saturday.

  36. Worky there is a few managers I would prefer over Big Al but I am 99% sure they will never get the time needed. I think Martin Oniel and Alan Curbishley are 2 of my favourite managers around and would love them to manage us. But I still dont think they would get the time needed.

  37. BBM was just saying to Worky lastnite im looking forward to your part 3, ;)
    Did you get your engine sorted ? what was it

  38. Big Dave says:
    October 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    “Worky there is a few managers I would prefer over Big Al but I am 99% sure they will never get the time needed. I think Martin Oniel and Alan Curbishley are 2 of my favourite managers around and would love them to manage us. But I still dont think they would get the time needed.”

    Whose fault is that, Dave?

  39. worky- you quote fat fred made the statement that mike ashley would be a great custodian of tradition. Please tell me where you found that quote and was fat fred associated with it. Fat fred couldnt speak cos he was on his death bed. He has always maintained he would have fought the sale of his shares and would have tried to buy the club himself. He has never supported ashley and you should know better than lie to prove a point. You sound like stardust! ?

  40. bowburnmag says:
    October 30, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    “Disagree a bit about the Shearer theory.”

    The NUST were campaigning vigorously for Alan Shearer to be made manager immediately, yet they have recently criticised the appointment of Chris Hughton as manager because of his inexperience. I had to laugh, but it just shows the kind of rank hypocrisy and double standards that exist at Newcastle United.

  41. worky- i tell you whos fault it is that managers arent given time. Your close mate stardust wanted sir bobby sacked and campaigned for it.
    I know cos i used to go mad with his ridiculous views.
    Some things never change.

  42. worky- the big difference with appointing shearer and hughton is shearer has a back bone.
    He will speak his mind.
    Communicate with the fans.
    Attract the right publicity.
    Attract players from all over the world.
    Can hooters do that?
    Simple answer is no.
    Thats the difference between the two inexperienced managers.
    Worky you are getting more contraversial than stardust!

  43. troy stavers says:
    October 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Edit)

    “worky- you quote fat fred made the statement that mike ashley would be a great custodian of tradition. Please tell me where you found that quote and was fat fred associated with it.”

    Troy, I’m not falling for your windups. I don’t have the time ATM. I have a PhD in Freddy Shepherd, his words of wisdom, and his financial shenanigans. I will see if I can find a source when I have the time.

  44. Big Dave – it hurts to even type it. Just got the invoice back today. Reconditioned start motor, new gaskets, timing belts, crank pulley, oil cooler and water pump. 1741 quid later…….

  45. troy stavers says:
    October 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Edit)

    worky- you quote fat fred made the statement that mike ashley would be a great custodian of tradition. Please tell me where you found that quote and was fat fred associated with it. Fat fred couldnt speak cos he was on his death bed. He has always maintained he would have fought the sale of his shares and would have tried to buy the club himself. He has never supported ashley and you should know better than lie to prove a point. You sound like stardust! ?

    ===========

    Troy, see this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-460430/Ready-Freddy-Shepherd-sells-Newcastle-shares-Ashley-37million.html

    A statement issued by Shepherd, read: “The offer from SJHL (St James Holdings Limited – Ashley’s company) is at a level which fully reflects both the performance of Newcastle and its prospects and ambitions for the future.

    “The board believes that SJHL and Mike Ashley will be excellent custodians of Newcastle United’s heritage and will provide the best possible opportunity for the club to flourish in the future, to the benefit of the company and its fans.”

  46. BBM ffs feel for you mate, it sounds like it had mayonaise on the oil cap then. I suppose thats the joy’s of motoring ;)

  47. worky – I don’t think they represent the fans even if that’s their aim. Of course some fans are hypocritical but that’s life. I hear many people saying Hughton is a coach missing requisite characteristics to be a manager. Most seem to accept both are inexperienced but Ashley dangled the carrot with Shearer and then took it away. Once again a poor decision in the long term. And the fact he was prepared to do that knowing at some point he might have to appoint Hughton again is bad form. To do it supported by an inflammatory statement and hanging him out to dry is unforgiveable to be honest.

  48. oi oi nora !
    Stavers is havin a neet in man. Ave just gettin a 9 bar delivered and am chillin oot.
    Ave got a railway sleeper jammed against me front and back doors. Woo hoo hoo hoo. The bizzies will need tank to knock me door doon man. !
    Mind, the only problem ave got like is every time someone wants some benwell tac ave got to move the sleeper. Me back is knackin like.
    Nora, a loved your earlier post like when you said you were livin in stoke like. Woo hoo hoo hoo. Stoke pokey is nee home like! A had a 18 month holiday in there like!
    Anyways, good to see worky is dodgin me questions like. Cannit find the quote of fat freddie. Woo hoo hoo hoo. Pure radge worky like.
    Anyways, laters charvers! The bizzie chopper is owa me gaff. Am just turning the electric off or the bastards will find me farm! Ye kna that a kna, that ye kna the craic! Oi oi. Ladgeful this like! Pure sweet til the bizzies turned up like. C yi nora!

  49. bowburnmag says:
    October 30, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    “but Ashley dangled the carrot with Shearer and then took it away.”

    Another stupid decision to placate the fans. Though they hate each other, Ashley and the fans have been locked together in a dance that is taking the club down the toilet.

  50. hugh the pain. – freddie shepherd has never said what the daily mail have quoted.
    I know him personally and he absolutely despises hall for the way he betrayed him by selling his shares whilst recoverying from pneumonia. Has never been in support of ashley and is vehemently against ashley.
    That quote was from the board. Yes, fred was on the board at the time but it was hall who issued it. . I have had many fall outs with freddie and dont particularly agree with his actions whilst at the toon but i wont standby and see mis quotes from ill advised fans.

  51. worky- you normally agree with stardust. Stardust doesnt think it was a daft idea to placate the fans. Stardust thinks it was a stroke of genius.
    Are you wit stardust or agin him?
    Im confused.

  52. troy stavers says:
    October 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    “That quote was from the board. Yes, fred was on the board at the time but it was hall who issued it. . I have had many fall outs with freddie and dont particularly agree with his actions whilst at the toon but i wont standby and see mis quotes from ill advised fans.”

    Troy,

    A STATEMENT ISSUED BY SHEPHERD, read: ‘The offer from SJHL [St James Holdings Limited – Ashley’s company] is at a level which fully reflects both the performance of Newcastle and its prospects and ambitions for the future.

    ‘The board believes SJHL and Mike Ashley will be excellent custodians of Newcastle United’s heritage and will provide the best possible opportunity for the club to flourish in the future, to the benefit of the company and its fans.’

    http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/football/article.html?in_article_id=52097&in_page_id=43

  53. worky. . I know what the daily mail have quoted. I wont repeat myself again. Last time. I know fred and he states this was the board that issued the quote. He repeats he was ill when it was issued and has always stated he would have fought tooth and nail to hold on to his shares and would have tried to buy the club . He wanted to buy halls shares and has always maintained he has never supported ashley.
    Deal wit it.

  54. T_F – it’s derogatory (you mighta worked that out). Reference to Sid James, comedy actor, famous for roles in Carry On films. Where basically they made a mockery of various themes. The inference being that we’re a mockery of a football club.

    My lass loves Carry On films ;)

  55. workyticket says:
    October 30, 2009 at 10:22 pm
    batty, Troy’s trying to take your title as ‘WUM of the Year’
    <<<< no more wumming for me iam leaving the bumming to stardy

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