Freddy Had Better Get It Right ... Or Else!

Last updated : 05 January 2006 By Footy Mad - Editor

Freddy Shepherd knows only too well that the clamour from Newcastle United supporters for him to sack Graeme Souness is the first warning that HE will be next if he gets this wrong.

The fact that Shepherd put up the money and out-bid Liverpool to buy Michael Owen suddenly changed the attitude on Tyneside. They needed a hero, and Owen fits the bill perfectly. He has backed all the managers under his charge, but what else can you expect from him? He has the money because of the fan base at the club, and certainly nothing what he has put into the club. Quite the opposite.

Shepherd was worth less than £2m when he was made Newcastle chairman. Today he is worth £22m.

What is saving Souness from the axe?

Answer - a chairman who has a reputation as being the most ruthless of all the Premiership chairmen - but this is the most important decision of Fat Fred's life. Sink Souness and get it wrong, and Shepherd sinks with him.

I don't doubt the chairman's good intentions. After all, he was at Kingston Park on Tuesday as United Reserves beat Wolves 2-1. Neither Souness, nor his back-up team of Alan Murray, Terry McDermott, Dean Saunders and Roy Tunks were there.

Whatever may have been said about Sir Bobby Robson and John Carver, they hardly ever missed a reserve game at Kingston Park. So where was Souness? United are desperately short of numbers for Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie with Mansfield Town, and last night would have been the perfect opportunity to have a look at the kids in waiting. Is that good management?