By Russell Edge
Newcastle United fans have taken to social media to pay tribute to former chairman Freddy Shepherd who passed away at the age of 76.
The former businessman’s family released a statement on Tuesday saying that he had “passed away peacefully at his home”.
He, along with fellow businessman Sir John Hall, took control of the Magpies back in 1991, before Hall passed full control to Shepherd in 1997.
Shepherd was influential in securing Kevin Keegan as head coach, bringing club legend Alan Shearer back to his boyhood side from Blackburn for a then world record fee, and installing Sir Bobby Robson as manager.
As such, his name is synonymous with the club’s recent history, and fans have been sharing their memories of his time at the club on Twitter.
Here, Football Insider has rounded up a selection of the supporters’ best messages:
RIP Freddie Shepard. Have to say it was some journey back then #NUFC
— Barrie Shilling (@fatgeordiemessi) September 26, 2017
RIP Freddy. We were never relegated when he was here, always looking upwards. Great times we had back then! ⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️
— Mr Michael (@MichaelMidd90) September 26, 2017
R.i.p Freddy shepherd from scrap man to football club owner a man with a vision for Newcastle sadly gone 😢
— stuart hogg (@stueyhogg9) September 26, 2017
Whatever you thought of him, he was the only real ambitious owner in my lifetime. Gave us some of the best players we've ever had.
— Mac (@2NarMe) September 26, 2017
RIP Freddy Shepherd, such an important part of Newcastle's best years. Thanks for bringing us King Kev, Big Al and for showing ambition
— Lynsey Hipgrave (@lynseyhipgrave1) September 26, 2017
Former Newcastle icons have also taken the time to pay tribute to Shepherd, including Shearer, who says the businessman was a “great friend” and that he owed him a “huge debt” for the part he played in securing his signature:
— Stephen Harper (@steveharper37) September 26, 2017
Terrible news that Freddie Shepard has passed away, we had so many great memories at the toon @NUFC thoughts & prayers to all his family 🙏
— Shay Given (@No1shaygiven) September 26, 2017
So sad to hear my great friend and former @NUFC chairman Freddy Shepherd has passed away. I owe him a huge debt for bringing me home. 😰😰RIP
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) September 26, 2017
However, his time with the Magpies was not without controversy, which included an investigation by newspaper News of the World as well as the sacking of popular manager Robson.
Shepherd’s involvement with the club ended when he sold his shares to current owner Mike Ashley in 2007.
In other Newcastle United news, Ashley is considering opening crucial talks about the future of the club.