Brum Press Want Toon Scapegoat

Last updated : 06 September 2006 By Footy Mad - Editor

The Birmingham press are seeking a scapegoat for the collapse of the James Milner transfer from Newcastle United, and have gone for the obvious, Freddy Shepherd.

Birmingham Post (Pat Murphy): "He (Freddy Shepherd) was unimpressed that Martin O'Neill took so long to reject Newcastle's overtures last spring in the wake of the sacking of Graeme Souness.

"Shepherd, hardly the most popular Premiership chairman among his own fans, was well aware that he had dropped a clanger in appointing Souness after the sacking of football's Queen Mother, Sir Bobby Robson.

"During the weeks that Shepherd was wooing O'Neill, the England job was on the market and, if Steve McClaren landed that plum, so therefore was the Middlesbrough post. In the end, O'Neill rejected both Newcastle and Middlesbrough. No hard feelings from Gibson but I wonder about Shepherd.

"How else to explain the farcical events of transfer deadline day last Thursday? Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder had given his blessing to Milner's transfer, the fee had been arranged and the player - so popular during his year's loan at Villa Park - was delighted at the proposed move.

"Yet, five minutes before Milner arrived at Villa to complete the deal, Newcastle rang to say it was off. Hopefully the deal will be resurrected in the January transfer window but, for now, Shepherd must be very pleased with himself."