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Archive for category: Freddy Shepherd.

Newcastle United Art Forum – The Shearer Statue

September 14th, 2016 | 150 Comments |

Alan Shearer statue
Looks like something out of a cereal packet
It isn’t very often that I venture off the highway of football to enter the arena of art criticism here on NUFC Blog, but this is one of those occaisions and I am actually more qualified. Having been a figurative artist, a designer and also an art dealer in a very modest sense, I hope I can give a reasonably informed opinion without getting too carried away.

As you might have guessed from the photo accompanying thus piece, my current musing has been inspired by the recent unveiling of the Alan Shearer sculpture. Named ‘Local Hero,’ it is the second by local self-taught sculptor, Tom Maley for Newcastle United. It follows Maley’s Bobby Robson tribute of 2012, though it was actually commissioned by former NUFC Chairman, Freddie Shepherd before that in 2007 at an alleged cost of around £250,000. There is almost certainly some kind of club politics behind the nine year delay in its unveiling but that is not what this story is about. (more…)


Newcastle United and one of the greatest blunders in football history

January 8th, 2015 | 64 Comments |

Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan
Before it all went wrong.
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Said Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and so it was with Newcastle United when they missed football’s greatest tide, leaving themselves bound in the shallows and miseries of mediocrity ever since.

To elaborate, in 1997-8, in the early stages of the biggest ever growth in football finances, Newcastle United were the fifth biggest football club in the world according to the Deloitte and Touche ‘Football Money League’ for that season. To make it seem even more unreal when we look at Newcastle United today, they were slightly ahead of Louis van Gaal and Bobby Robson’s Barcelona, who the Magpies had beaten 3-2 in the Champions League at St James’ Park that season. They also made the FA Cup final, after finishing as runners up in the Premier League for the second year in a row and signing the world’s most expensive player in the previous season. However the signs were already there, they also finished thirteenth in the League that season, the club lost some great players, Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, Faustino Asprilla and certainly not least, a 36year old Peter Beardsley. Kenny Dalglish was then sacked early into the next season and things were to get even worse under his successor, Ruud Gullit. (more…)


What must Debuchy and Cabaye think about this Anita deal?

August 16th, 2012 | 129 Comments |

Vurnon Anita.
It's that man again, but what about Debuchy (and Cabaye)?
So it has come from the horse’s mouth, well, Vurnon Anita’s mouth anyway, that Ajax and Newcastle United have agreed a fee of around €8.5 million, or around £6.7 million plus bonuses for Vurnon Anita.

A medical supposedly happened yesterday, though there doesn’t seem to be any definitive news as I write this on personal terms being thrashed out, or the Silver Supremo summit meeting requested by Anita, where he was looking for reassurances from Pardew about the nature of his role within the squad.

But what is going so right here that didn’t go so right with the Debuchy affair? And what must Debuchy himself, not to mention Yohan Cabaye, and even Danny Simpson think about it?

I must admit that I have written my fair share of criticism about the way Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias have gone about their business in some negotiations, and I still stand by it. However, credit where credit is due, it must be said that £6.7 million plus bonuses seems to be a fair and equitable fee for both sides in this case and they seem to have got their man. However, this isn’t to say that all being well, it shouldn’t be an excellent investment for Newcastle in the long term for a highly talented young player who’s value should appreciate further over time. (more…)


What has Newcastle United ever done for Mike Ashley (and Sports Direct)?

June 29th, 2012 | 62 Comments |

Sports Direct sign, St James' Park.
Cheap and nasty.
There has been something of a rehabiltation of the reputation of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United recently.

This, of course, has been due largely to the club’s generally upward trajectory in terms of it’s League position in recent seasons under Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew, as well as some successes in the transfer market since Ashley and Llambias cast their their three casino aquaintances adrift and let Chris Hughton bring in a proper chief scout, a move which has been highly beneficial for the club so far.

Less obviously, perhaps, there has also been a relentless PR campaign run through the media on all levels. Like the current coalition government, much has been said to demonise the previous administration, presenting Ashley as some kind of messiah type figure who made tough choices to save the club from certain liquidation as a great benevolent gesture to the people of Tyneside. But, according to the narrative, this has been a thankless task, with Geordie ingrates not showing the suitable appreciation of his selfless largesse. Admittedly, this isn’t the most difficult thing to do when the targets are the likes of Freddy Shepherd and Douglas Hall. According to a peculiar logic, much has also been made of what Ashley’s alleged financial “backing” of the club in terms of making a £140 million loan to himself, which is repayable on demand by the club, to save himself from paying high interest rates on his own Newcastle United debts. The term “clearing” the club’s debts has been used so often that many fans are still oblivious to the fact that the club is now actually far more in debt than it was when Ashley assumed control of the club in 2007. (more…)


Mike Ashley vs Freddy Shepherd – Who’s better?

May 25th, 2012 | 64 Comments |

Mike Ashley and Freddy Shepherd.
"Satan's mirror has two faces."
Well, Newcastle United have finally managed to finish in the top half of the Premiership under current owner, Mike Ashley.

This is our first top ten finish, and qualification for European competition, since Glenn Roeder’s Intertoto “Dream Team” managed seventh, and Europe, after a storming finish in the 2005-06 season.

However, we fans are constantly reminded that this can only come at a very high cost, that the name of the club’s traditional home, St James’ Park, must be sacrificed to become a free publicity vehicle for Sports Direct, that we must also be subjected to a myriad of fit inducing signs publicising Sports Direct throughout games, that we must pay a £25 membership fee to purchase a season ticket, or even just one away ticket and so on…

Mirroring the spin department of the current administration at 10 Downing Street, everything is blamed on our previous administration for allegedly taking us to the edge of the financial abyss, with neither the world economic crisis, nor relegation to the Championship playing any part whatsoever. Even after five whole years, when controversial decisions are made, the spectre of the Byker Beelzebub himself, Freddy Shepherd, is constntly raised, and the club’s current owner is hailed as a messiah who has somehow led the club from the verge of complete extinction. So, now that the club has completed it’s fifth season under its current ownership, I thought I would put this to the test, measuring the performance of the current owner, both on the pitch and on the balance sheet, against his predecessors under the leadership of Shepherd. (more…)