Old Newcastle Board Spied On Employees, Journalists And It Still Didn’t Help

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The Independent is reporting on a thoroughly juicy morsel of gossip, focusing on events at the chaotic maelstrom of injuries and recalcitrant footballers that is Newcastle United.

Ex-Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has hit out at rumours that several key members of Newcastle United , including Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan were bugged by the then board. The whistle blower is apparently Brian Tough, a former bodyguard for the ex-owners son Doug Hall.

Tough claims to have tapped Kevin Keegan’s home phone and also to have secretly filmed Alan Shearer in August 1999 whilst tension with then manager Ruud Gullit was simmering and there were doubts about Shearer’s future. Tough alleges that Shearer was filmed in Freddie Shepherd’s office discussing his future, and the film would have been used as evidence if Shearer has suffered a change of heart.

Tough (what a cracking name for a bodyguard) also said that a local newspaper editor and even the Sunderland chairman (when they were planning to build the Stadium of Light) were tapped.

Freddie Shepherd scoffed:

“This is James Bond stuff…I certainly didn’t employ anyone in 007 activities at St James’ Park. Mr Tough was never employed by me or the club.”

Freddy Shepherd et al, a bunch of paranoid loons? Judging from their history, which includes the “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood expose, who knows? Both Doug Hall and Freddie Shepherd, who though Mahmood to be a wealthy Arab prince, were caught with their pants down: ripping on their own supporters for buying expensive tickets, calling female Toon fans “dogs”, and laughing at Alan Shearer, calling him the “Mary Poppins of football”. What a nice couple of lads!