Day: August 28, 2009

Geoff Sheard: Newcastle’s Knight In Shining Armour?

Geoff Sheard is sniffing around at Newcastle United, but Mark Murphy is less than convinced that he is the right man to lead Newcastle United to a bright, new dawn. The list of potential bidders since Mike Ashley first considered selling Newcastle (about two weeks after buying it, some reports would have had you believe) could fill its own page Yellow Pages. Inter-Media Partners, Anil Ambani, Nasser Al-Kharafi, Clark Hunt, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Profitable Group, Freddie Shepherd and even “some Nigerians that don’t exist”. Ordinarily at this point I’d be saying I made those last three up. But I didn’t. Not even ”Freddie Shepherd”.  Some have remarked that the hoax bids for Newcastle this summer have had more credibility than the real ones, and looking at that list it’s hard to disagree. Although, even the most gullible saw through The “Profitable” Group bidding for a club with an overdraft the size of a medium-sized American city’s budget deficit. So, what to make of the latest new bidder, then? Lancastrian “businessman” Geoff Sheard is fronting an “American-backed” consortium., and what Sheard doesn’t know about protracted bids for Football League Championship clubs isn’t worth knowing.  He has a wealth of experience from his go at Sheffield Wednesday. For all his wealth of knowledge, he didn’t have a wealth of, well, wealth. Which is why the Wednesday saga pretty much wrote...

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Villa’s European Adventure Ends Early

August comes to an end on Monday, and this year it will have outlived Aston Villa’s time in the 2008/09 Europa League by four days. Villa beat Rapid Vienna 2-1 at Villa Park last night, drawing 2-2 over the two legs and exiting the competition on away goals. One suspects that the inquest into the defeat is unlikely to be a very long one. The claret and blue quartier of Birmingham don’t seem to have been terribly enthused by the match, for one thing. Just over 22,000 people were all that the club could summon to turn out to watch the match. Aston Villa’s relationship with European football is certainly a peculiar one. Martin O’Neill’s decision to send a virtual reserve team into their quarter-final match in last year’s UEFA Cup against CSKA Moscow resulted in their elimination from the competition, the start of a slump in the Premier League that would go on to cost them dearly in the Premier League and cause some to wonder about his managerial abilities. Of course, one could argue that earning a place in the Champions League was his priority at the time but that particular decision can’t really be concluded to have had the desired result, considering that Arsenal ended up easing into the fourth Champions League place at a canter, although, of course, hindsight has twenty/twenty vision. Villa’s early elimination...

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