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By ESPN Staff
Sep 3, 2006

Newcastle chief hits out over transfer critics

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has hit back over claims his club dragged their feet during the transfer window. There was disappointment on Tyneside when they missed out on several targets.

Mark Viduka, Robert Huth, Lucas Neill and Zat Knight were all linked but only Giuseppe Rossi, Antoine Sibierski and out-of-contract defender Olivier Bernard arrived.

However, having earlier spent a combined £15million on Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff and Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins, Shepherd was defiant, and instead questioned the wisdom of the window.

He said: 'We have nothing to reproach ourselves for.

'We have spent £15million on Damien Duff and Oba Martins, who we believe are real quality signings - and that after paying out £28million for Michael Owen and Albert Luque this time last year.

'We also beat off a lot of other Premiership teams to get Giuseppe Rossi in from Manchester United.

'Antoine Sibierski has come in as a squad member, we have got Olivier Bernard back and Shay Given on a new five-year contract.

'But there is no-one to blame for us not getting other players in before the transfer deadline. It's the window to blame.

'It is absolutely ridiculous and really a restriction of trade, and I would like to see somebody challenging it.

'How can you stop someone from getting a job? What other business would allow this?'

Shepherd revealed he had asked manager Glenn Roeder to restructure his squad - he has moved on a series of high-earners, including Jean-Alain Boumsong and Lee Bowyer, but still has Albert Luque on the books.

The chairman told the club's official website: 'We have been slammed for trying to do business on transfer deadline day, but it is no good saying you should buy before that because things don't always work out that way in football.

'It's not like buying a pair of shoes off a shelf, it's completely different. It's more like a game of poker - and don't forget, other clubs do not always want to sell their players.

'We do not want Glenn Roeder to buy players willy-nilly. He is trying to tidy things up for us and it cannot happen overnight.

'But he has got rid of a few high wage earners who were not doing it for us and were not fitting in here.

'And what he is looking to do is to buy the right players at the right price and at the right terms, and players who have the right attitude.

'The transfer deadline has come and gone until January and we have to move on.

'We have a quality squad of players who are the envy of some of the other Premiership clubs, and I can assure our fans we are always on the look out for players to add to this squad.'