Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shock to the system

Judging by the comments attributed to him from his sick bed, Fat Fred is most displeased at having been caught unawares by Mike Ashley's buy-out of Sir John Hall - and, given his friendship with Hall's son Dastardly Douglas, it's hardly surprising that he should be cheesed off.

He's quoted as having responded: "There is nothing Mike Ashley can do with this club unless he gets 75 per cent of the stake. He can’t take full control, he can’t change resolutions or the club’s articles of association. He has spent more than £50million, but he will have to spend a whole lot more as he must now make an offer not just for my shares, but the shares held by all the other shareholders". Clearly he's piqued by the very real prospect of control of the club soon being wrested from his pudgy fingers. It's fighting talk from a man who knows he has indeed got a fight on his hands - and I think that, despite Ashley being a non-Geordie and an unknown quantity, most of us would welcome regime change.

It turns out Fat Fred wasn't the only person taken by surprise by the development. A bewildered Fat Sam responded: "I'm as shocked about this as chairman Freddy Shepherd. I didn't know this was going to happen. I will be talking to the chairman to see what it all means and we'll go from here. I don't know anything about the person hoping to take over. But he must want good things for Newcastle if he's spending such an amount on the club". Welcome to the Toon, Sam - you'll have to get used to not knowing what's going to happen from one day to the next.

One thing is certain, though, is that Michael Owen will be continuing his rehabilitation by captaining the England B side against Albania at Turf Moor tomorrow night. Fingers will be crossed - we remember all too well what happened the last time he took to a pitch in an England jersey. Fat Sam's apparently urged him to stay on for next season - for the time being, his future still hangs in the balance.

Still, there's more chance of him lining up on the first day of the new campaign than there is of Damien Duff putting in an appearance. According to Steve Staunton, our underperforming Irish winger will be out for five to six months recovering from an operation he needed after sustaining an injury against Portsmouth. That said, there's been no official word from the club on that front, and it wouldn't be the first time Staunton has proved himself to be clueless...


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