By Russell Edge

17th May, 2017 | 8:12pm

'Not fit for the PL' – former Newcastle man slams Benitez squad, Magpies fans will fume

By Russell Edge

Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has slammed the current Newcastle squad in the strongest possible terms saying it’s “not fit for the Premier League”.

He also said that the Premier League is all about money these days – and asked how much Newcastle is willing to spend will determine their position.

The Magpies secured their return to the top flight of English football at the first time of asking, and return to the Premier League as champions.

They will be joined by their title rivals Brighton and the winner of the play-off final, as they replace relegated sides Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull.

However, despite finishing the season with the winner’s medals around their necks, Shepard believes that an overhaul is needed ahead of their Premier League campaign next season.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

He told The Chronicle: “That team is not fit for the Premier League.

“The bottom line is that it all comes down to money.

“How much money have you got?

“Tell me that and I’ll tell you where you can finish and what you can win.”

Shepherd was involved in the running of the club for over 12 years, before becoming the majority shareholder, owner and chairman in 1997.

During his time at St James’ Park he was tasked with bringing Alan Shearer to the club for a then world record fee, and the former 76-year-old believes it is time for another marquee signing for the Magpies.

“I think he (manager Rafael Benitez) needs somebody who will make the town buzz,” said Shepard.

“I think it’s on the cards. He needs that to take the pressure off the other positions.”

The Magpies’ current record signing is that of Michael Owen from Real Madrid in 2005 for an estimated fee of £16.8m.

In other Newcastle news, fans have taken to Twitter to react to the Magpies’ reported interest in a Premier League striker.

We’ve launched a << BREAKING NEWS FEED>> exclusively for your club. ‘Like Us’ on Facebook by clicking here if you want 24/7 updates on all Newcastle breaking news.