Freddy Shepherd brought Alan Shearer back to Tyneside – and took Newcastle back to the top

Freddy Shepherd and Alan Shearer
Freddy Shepherd and Alan Shearer

He was the man who brought Alan Shearer back to Tyneside.

It was an extraordinary moment in Newcastle United's long and proud history.

The club broke the world transfer record to sign Shearer for £15million.

It seemed an mind-blowing figure at the time, yet Shearer repaid every last penny – and more besides.

Freddie Shepherd, the man who did the deal, has passed away peacefully aged 76.

Yes, Shepherd made mistakes during his long association with the club, but he also got a lot more things right.

He signed Shearer and he appointed Sir Bobby Robson as manager four years later.

Newcastle thought big and spent big and the club had an unforgettable journey, at home and abroad, during his 10 years as chairman.

Shepherd – who took over the day-to-day running of the club in 1997 – could be blunt and abrasive, but he was also engaging and entertaining.

This was his club, and took it back to the summit of English and European football.

Newcastle challenged for the Premiership title and also competed in the Champions League.

St James's Park was expanded to its present 52,000 capacity during his time as chairman, and the stadium is a monument to that era.

The club, however, didn't win a trophy, but that wasn't for a lack of trying.

Shepherd will be fondly remembered on Tyneside, and rightly so.

He helped rebuild the club – on and off the pitch – and, thanks to him, fans were allowed to dream again.

RIP.