Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd dies at 75
Freddy Shepherd, the former chairman of his boyhood club Newcastle United, has died at the age of 75.
A statement from Shepherd's family confirmed he "sadly passed away peacefully at his home" on Monday night, and concluded: "At this difficult time the family have asked that their privacy be respected."
Shepherd was a director of the Magpies from 1992, serving as vice-chairman to Sir John Hall while the club earned promotion in 1993 and then competed in the upper reaches of the Premier League, finishing as runner-up in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons.
Before assuming the chairmanship in 1997, Shepherd was credited as being pivotal in orchestrating the 1992 hiring of Kevin Keegan as manager, and the then-world record £15-million swoop for Alan Shearer in 1996. Both became prominent names in Newcastle's history, while Shearer - the Premier League's all-time highest scorer with 260 goals - clearly relished in representing his hometown team.
Shepherd sold his 28 percent stake in the club to Mike Ashley in 2007, and subsequently stepped down as chairman. Although he never led Newcastle to any silverware during his involvement with the club, he presided over one of the most thrilling times experienced by the Toon Army.
The Shepherd family paid £250,000 for a statue of Shearer to be erected outside St James' Park last year.
"I have had a great 15 years on the board, 10 of them as chairman and I have enjoyed every minute," Shepherd said when he stepped down in 2007, as quoted by the Press Association. "It has been a great privilege and honour to have been chairman and I would not have missed it for the world. We have had some really exciting times and I like to think we have achieved a lot since 1992 when we took over the club.
"But it was the right time for me to stand down. And in any case, once the club was delisted, my position as chairman of the PLC became redundant. I gave it my best shot and I could not really have done any more."
(Photo courtesy: Action Images)