Shepherd Now On Borrowed Time!

Last updated : 18 January 2007 By Footy Mad - Editor
Blackburn defender Lucas Neill will sign for West Ham after snubbing Liverpool, according to reports in the press this morning. He was a Roeder target last summer, and wanted again by the Geordie manager, but the Toon chairman ONCE AGAIN drags his feet.

The Australia international will now sign for relegation-threatened West Ham, on a wage of £50,000 a week.

Hammers boss Alan Curbishley has also made an offer of £4million bid for Birmingham centre-back Matthew Upson ... yes, another player on Roeder's list.

Shepherd's none-involvement in the transfer market has the Toon Army furious, as he insisted (back in September) that as soon as the window opened Newcastle would be key players. Instead, Shepherd said yesterday Newcastle are "reaping the rewards of a £10million investment in the club's academy". Suggesting to many he has no intention of backing his manager with money.

Freddy Shepherd: "We will have eight of our academy kids in our team (for the visit of Birmingham) and substitutes - Steven Taylor, Peter Ramage, Paul Huntington, Matty Pattison, David Edgar, Alan O'Brien, Andy Carroll and James Troisi.

"That's 50% - and it becomes nearly 60% if you include our goalkeeper Steve Harper, who also came through the ranks.

"Even when Manchester United were bringing the likes of the Neville brothers, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Paul Scholes through, they did not have the numbers we have here at the moment.

"Our planning and long-term strategy - which was ironically started with Glenn Roeder at the academy and has been taken on by Joe Joyce - is finally paying off.

"But that does not mean we are not pursuing our transfer targets in the January window. It cost us £10million to set up our academy and you have to say it is money well spent."

The Birmingham result came and went. What happens now? Does Roeder get money for signings, or do we get the farce we had under Sir Bobby Robson ... when Freddy and Douglas Hall toured the world all that summer (Holland, Spain, Australia and Brazil) chasing Kleberson and Brett Emerton. Only to admit the following Christmas "we didn't have the money to buy them"!