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Freddy Shepherd Talks 
To Bobby Moncur - Part I

First broadcast on Century FM, Thurs 25th Jan 2001

Due to the sometimes rambling nature of the interview (especially the questions) some parts of this have been abridged and the questions summarised.

1. What makes you want to be Newcastle United Chairman ?

I think it's the best job in the World - I don't know anybody who would refuse it. I think it's a fantastic job and i'm enjoying every minute of it.

2. What have been your highs and lows as Chairman ?

- has to be Wembley...we've been there five times in the last five years, if you include the Charity Shield and the Semi.
Low - I get a low every time we lose...

3. How/ when was Bobby Robson first approached to be Manager ?

When Kevin left, John Hall, Douglas and myself went out to Barcelona to see Bobby. At the time he was on a year's contract with Barcelona - he tried every way to get out of his contract but they wouldn't release him. Like a lot of managers he could have said 'I'm going to walk, what are you going to do about it?' But he didn't. He honoured his contract and we admired him for that. He was desperate to come to Newcastle.

4. How did you first become involved with Newcastle United ? 

Sir John Hall was a family friend....he phoned up and said 'I know you've got shares in Newcastle, have a word with Douglas (Hall) something has to be done'...If we hadn't have agreed to the rights issue (the club) were in grave danger of a receiver being appointed.

5. How have your relationships with the different Managers been ?

I had a different relationship with each one.

With Kevin, we were more of a gang and treated each other as a team on and off the field, socialising and having fun.
(This relationship was) a one-off that will probably never be repeated.

Kenny was a good pal of mine - I had some great times with Kenny. He was never comfortable with the media - I never knew why. Socially we got on well with Kenny.

I never had any social relationship with Ruud whatsoever. He was very much a loner we had a football relationship. What I will say though is that he apologised to me, to Freddie Fletcher and asked me to send apologies to the fans and the players. He said 'I'm not asking for a penny, I don't  want a penny, I'm leaving, stop my wages today.'

....He never got on with the players....he was very upset that he let everybody down.

6. Tell me about Ruud's last game - the 2-1 home defeat by S**land

He (Gullit) said 'I'm going to leave him out' (of the squad). I said 'You cannot - believe me you don't leave Alan Shearer out of the bench in a Sunderland Derby.' I think Ruud had left the game before, but he would have loved to go out on a high beating Sunderland - even if we had beat Sunderland, he would have left - 'I beat Sunderland, I've lost the players, I've got them on the bench, I've gone !'  

7. Were Newcastle right when they appointed Dalgish and Gullit ?

I didn't hear anybody say it was a bad choice. So really we may have got it wrong but so did the supporters as well - they all thought the same as us....The supporters were behind us 100%....There's nothing written that says they're (KD & RG) going to be a success.

8. Will Shearer Be Newcastle Manager ?

The guy is here for four years - what happens after that I don't know - I think it's too far off.

8a Could Shearer make a good Manager ?

Without a doubt.....There's two Alan Shearer's, one off the pitch and one on. If you look at his determination then he has as much chance as anybody to make a manager - I'm confident one day he will be a manager. He is the senior player - the elder statesman of the dressing room, they all look up to him. He's a class act.

9. What's the situation with transfers ?

The transfer system in my opinion is finished as we know it. I think there will be a compensatory version where you'll acquire a contract by paying up what's left. To spend money at this minute, particularly on big buys would be wrong - you're going into the unknown.

Football is a special case because how can you have Billy Smith playing for Newcastle one week, playing for Sunderland the next and Middlesbrough the next. You can't apply normal industrial laws to football.

There'll probably be two windows a year to transfer players and one player transfer per season.

10. Do you think that players show any loyalty these days ?

There's two things a player's here for - one's for the money and one's because he wants to play for Newcastle. But there is loyalty - look at Shearer, he could have gone anywhere in Europe or the World but chose Newcastle. Why ? Loyalty.

Aaron Hughes is a great example, he's come right through
(from the juniors) - he's the only guy who's ever thanked me for a contract.

11. What about Keegan scrapping the reserves?

I think Kevin would say now we shouldn't have got rid of the reserve team. We lost the Huckerby's and Guppy's of this world - they realised that they couldn't get a game and were wanting to be away....They weren't going to make any progress.

12. Why are Foreign Players over here ?

Why do you go abroad ? Because sometimes English players price themselves out of the market.

13. What are your thoughts on the Stadium ?

It's a monument to the whole of Newcastle, not just the football team - it's so impressive. It's costs us since 1990 something like 90m spent on that ground. It's a Five Star hotel without the bedrooms.

We should be proud of it - I don't think we've made enough of it - Geordie supporters have got one of the best stadiums, and the sooner we start beating our chests and telling everyone about it, the better.

Part 2 of this interview can be accessed from here.


Page last updated 24 June, 2009