1335: Premiership: Freddy Shepherd’s
by : Alex Wolstenholme
Freddy Shepherd, speaking at a Soccerex conference (!) in Dubai has said he has `no sympathy` for any club that is struggling financially saying. He also believes that: “The Premier League will take over the other leagues. When we have got 52,000 fans at home, the last thing we worry about is the third division.”
Shepherd probably sees himself as a blunt-speaking, hard-nosed businessman who is prepared to say what others are only thinking.
Well Freddy, you may be sitting there all smug about what a good business you run and have no sympathy for chairman who cannot produce those all important revenue streams and dividend yields but you seem to have forgotten one pretty major factor. FOOTBALL!
Your club has not won a major trophy since 1969. Since that time, Oxford, Coventry, Wimbledon (as was), Derby, Nottingham Forest, Leeds, Luton, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves, Stoke, West Ham, Sunderland and Ipswich, all teams currently outside the Premiership have all won one or more of the game’s major honours.
Not to mention the 12 teams currently in the Premiership who have trophies in their cabinets from after 1970.
Apologies at this point to any other teams that have managed to outdo the less than mighty exploits of the Magpies and who I have not mentioned.
Whatever happens to those clubs in the future, the memories of the days that those trophies were won will live long in the memory. The videos and newspaper cuttings will be replayed and pored over again and again, the talk after (and sometimes during) the match will be of those players who made it happen.
Will Newcastle fans feel the same nostalgia about the triumphant balance sheet of 2003/04? Or the unforgettable price to earnings ratio of their shares in the 2000/01 season? I doubt it.
Imagine the outcry if, on the day the Premiership came into existence, its founders had scrapped relegation saying it had no sympathy for teams who hadn’t managed to make it. If they had said `it’s dog-eat-dog` out there`.
One team among those left out would have been Newcastle United.
Football is still a funny old game Mr. Shepherd despite the fact that people like you are squeezing the fun out of it and it doesn’t take long for a side to fall from grace.
You may run a good business Freddy but as an example of the man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing you are hard to beat.