Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ex-Toon Chief in Swipe at Ashley; HAS HIS SAY ON CLUB'S SPENDING PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ex-Toon Chief in Swipe at Ashley; HAS HIS SAY ON CLUB'S SPENDING PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM JUPP

EX-TOON chief Freddy Shepherd has questioned Mike Ashley's blueprint for the future.

Sports billionaire Ashley this week released a controversial statement, telling the Magpies faithful no money will be spent on players next season.

That means manager Chris Hughton will have to make do with the squad that won the Championship title, the core of which suffered relegation 12 months earlier.

Shepherd was on the United board when the club gained promotion under Kevin Keegan and went on to enjoy one of the most prosperous periods of its history. And he says Ashley's refusal to provide Hughton with a transfer war chest could backfire, as the Toon bids to cling on to its top flight status.

Shepherd told the Chronicle: "To be fair, Chris Hughton has done an absolutely fantastic job this year and has won the league when many people out there were saying it couldn't be done with the team that came down.

FLASHBACK: Monday's "Now, they have decided to go up to the Premier League and do that the hard way and only time will tell whether it's the right way to go about it.

"But Kevin Keegan once said to me 'tell me how much money we've got and I'll tell you what we can win' and it's probably the truest statement I've ever heard in football and that's because to get any sort of success, you have to invest in players.

"I know I was at the club for 15 years and every year we had to balance the books because we were a PLC and had to be a dividend provider.

"The only way to make money in football is to have success and unfortunately the only way to get success in football is to invest."

United's current board released its statement last week on the back of financial results showing it had made an operating loss of pounds 70m over the past two years.

And those figures do not take into account the full impact of relegation, which will have seen income drop further due to reduced television, matchday and commercial revenues. …

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