Kieron Dyer says Newcastle United “punched its weight” under Freddy Shepherd – unlike under Mike Ashley’s ownership.
The club challenged for the Premier League title and played in the Champions League during Dyer’s eight rollercoaster years at St James’s Park.
Newcastle is a big club and he made sure there were times during his tenure when it punched its weight. It’s been hard to say that under Mike Ashley.Kieron Dyer
Shepherd – who passed away last year – was chairman at the time.
The club has not been so successful since Ashley bought it 11 years ago.
Newcastle have been relegated twice under Ashley’s ownership and the club has only qualified for Europe once.
Dyer has given his account of his career in his autobiography “Old too soon, smart too late”.
The former England international, signed from Ipswich Town in 1999, has detailed the off-the-field controversies that chequered his time at St James’s Park and led to “run-ins” with Shepherd.
However, Dyer respected Shepherd, who “genuinely loved the club”.
“Despite the run-ins I had with him and the trouble I caused him, I always liked Freddy,” said Dyer.
“The fans gave him stick from time to time, but he genuinely loved the club and he put his money where his mouth was.”
Dyer has contrasted Shepherd’s stewardship with that of billionaire Ashley, who put the club up for sale last October.
“Newcastle is a big club and he made sure there were times during his tenure when it punched its weight,” said Dyer.
“It’s been hard to say that under Mike Ashley.”
* “Old too soon, smart too late: My story” by Kieron Dyer is published by Headline and priced £20.