Freddy Shepherd Helps Mike Ashley and Hatem Ben Arfa Part Company
One interesting angle of the whole Hatem Ben Arfa debacle, is the role that ex-Newcastle United Chairman Freddy Shepherd has played in it.
While I’m not claiming that Shepherd was the key person in Ben Arfa’s move to Hull City, nothing would surprise me.
Earlier today the Chronicle published the contents of a letter from Hatem Ben Arfa, in which he said how much he loved the fans of Newcastle and the City, wishing us all the best for this season etc etc.
In the feature the Chronicle gave credit to the Tripe S Agency for making the deal happen, as they represent Ben Arfa, as well as other players such as Wayne Rooney and Tim Krul.
Ignoring the Chron’s amusing typo (it should have read ‘Triple’ not Tripe!), more relevant (perhaps) is the fact that the owners of the agency are Freddy Shepherd, his son Kenneth, and Paul Stretford.
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It has been widely acknowledged that Steve Bruce was Freddy Shepherd’s first choice to replace Sir Bobby Robson back in 2004 but Bruce claimed he couldn’t let Birmingham down, where he was manager at the time.
With the Shepherd family and associates acting as Hatem Ben Arfa’s agents, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that there is still friendly contact between the likes of Shepherd and Bruce, which could have provided a connection to make the deal go smoothly. Getting player, manager and owner out of a dilemma.
With the background of Mike Ashley supposedly assuming control of Newcastle United while Freddy Shepherd was indisposed on his sickbed, it does make for some interesting possible conversations if you could have been a fly on the wall as the deal for Hatem was hammered out, taking into account the total mess that Ashley & Pardew have presided over with the Hatem Ben Arfa fiasco.
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