Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Shepherd Wanted Best for Magpies - and Often Delivered; LEE RYDER ON WHY NEWCASTLE HAVE LOST A DREAMER IN FREDDY Shepherd

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Shepherd Wanted Best for Magpies - and Often Delivered; LEE RYDER ON WHY NEWCASTLE HAVE LOST A DREAMER IN FREDDY Shepherd

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE United swaggered their way up from the Second Division and into the Premier League in the 1990s with a very simplistic attitude.

Back then Kevin Keegan once said: "The Sky's the limit." And former chairman Freddy Shepherd, along with Sir John Hall, was right at the very centre of the dream-like vision at St James' Park that meant Geordie fans could be proud of their club.

When the club needed a signing they quickly booked a private jet and banged on the door of the player or club to make it happen.

In the space of just TWO years Newcastle went from battling against relegation in the old Second Division with the likes of Port Vale, Plymouth and Oxford to qualifying for European competition.

Within four years, Shepherd had been part of a board that assembled a team that so nearly won the Premier League title against Manchester United.

And within five years Newcastle had found their way on to the same stage as Barcelona in the Champions League.

The ground was transformed from a crumbling stadium into one of the best in the world - hosting England games along the way.

In the eyes of Shepherd that wasn't some type of freakish one off, he wanted that to be the norm at St James' Park.

It's the type of vision at Newcastle that disappeared long ago for varying reasons, and perhaps it could be argued that it was a moment in time given the wealth of some of the top-flight's current owners.

Only last summer I spoke to Shepherd about Mike Ashley and the current level of ambition, he said: "I think he needs somebody who will make the town buzz."

Shepherd part of a assembled that so " And it was all about ambition and visionthe Premier Lee at Newcastle during Shepherd's time. Any manager taking on the job at St James' Park knew the score from the outset - European football was the minimum requirement for United. …

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