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Shepherd sheds no tears over Ashley exit

SoccerNews in English Premier League 15 Sep 2008


Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has told owner Mike Ashley to “stop being a cry-baby” after the billionaire announced plans to sell the Premier League club.

And Shepherd said Ashley, before he left St James' Park, should bring back fans' favourite Kevin Keegan for a third spell as manager.

Keegan, who finished his playing career with Newcastle before first managing the north-east side in the 1990s, resigned earlier this month in protest at not being given complete authority over transfers.

His exit sparked a wave of protests against Ashley and football director Dennis Wise.

Their anger was compounded by the knowledge that, for all their passionate support, it is nearly 40 years since Newcastle last won a major trophy.

Ashley, who made his fortune building up the Sports Direct chain of stores, bought out the Hall family's majority stake in Newcastle for 134.4 million pounds just over 15 months ago.

He tried to ingratiate himself with fans by sitting in the stands, rather than the directors' box, while wearing a replica Newcastle shirt.

But he was nowhere to be seen at St James' Park during last weekend's 2-1 defeat by Premier League new boys Hull City, where thousands of fans protested against Ashley and Wise before and after the match.

Ashley has insisted fans are demanding he spend unrealistic sums of money in a bid to help Newcastle keep pace with the likes of cash-rich rivals such as Chelsea and Manchester City.

However, Shepherd said Ashley had bought Newcastle for a knockdown price.

“What he paid for the club would not have bought half the stadium. He got a great deal,” Shepherd told Sky Sports News.

“As far as the money is concerned, he should take the advice he is giving – and stop being a cry-baby. He seems to be whingeing

Shepherd added he had been approached by two consortiums thinking of buying Newcastle -“There are people who would buy the club, no doubt about that.

“I've been approached by two consortiums.

And as for former England striker and manager Keegan, Shepherd said: “I will take a bet that we have not heard the last of Kevin Keegan.

“I would definitely bring Kevin back. He is the guy for the job, the right guy to run the business.”


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