Under-Achieving Magpies - Tell us about Fred!
Shepherd's comments came on the day when United revealed a financial operating loss for the previous six months of trading. The club announced they had recorded a pre-tax deficit of £6.3m for the six months up to 31 January 2006, compared to a profit of £9.7m over the same period last year.
Shepherd: "The current season has been disappointing with performances on the pitch falling well below the level we expected. But since his appointment as acting team manager, Glenn Roeder, capably supported by Alan Shearer, has overseen a significant improvement in team performances.
"Over the course of the last ten years we have invested approximately £100m to completely redevelop St James' Park, to build our state of the art training facilities and football academy, the foundations for long-term success.
"We want this positive trend to continue, while our search for the best possible team manager takes its course.
"We are delighted to see young players like Steven Taylor, Charles N'Zogbia and Peter Ramage making excellent progress in the first team, with others like Matty Pattison and young Dutch international keeper Tim Krul waiting in the wings. The key to our long-term success must be to build on these foundations."