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Souness under pressure

last updated Saturday 10th September 2005, 12:42 PM

Newcastle coach Graeme Souness has been told to produce top-six finish by his Chairman and unofficial Director of Football Freddy Shepherd.

Newcastle coach Graeme SounessMr Shepherd of course was "stung" by the News of the World. The newspaper had videotaped Mr Shepherd and another Toon Town director on holiday bragging about the amount of profit they made from the sale of replica football shirts, which were sold to fans for up to £50 but cost around one tenth of the cost to manufacture. Additionally, the two allegedly described the club captain, Alan Shearer, as “Mary Poppins”, mocked the ex-club Manager, Kevin Keegan, detailed their sexual exploits and called Newcastle’s women “dogs”.

The Chairman is now quoted as saying "It was a disappointing start but we got the three players we wanted and we set out to get, it was a bit late but better late than never." Apparently Shepherd didn't agree with his coach about wanting to buy Luis Boa Morte of Fulham.

Despite Newcastle being 19th in the table with only one point from four games, and failing yet to score a goal the Chairman said his target for the season was a "Top-six finish". "We've spent £50million since January, we couldn't back the manager any more". "Graeme has got his own team now, 10 men in and 10 men out."

Saturday will see England ace Michael Owen make his Premiership return having signed for the Magpies' from Real Madrid for a club record fee of £17m. And Mr Shepherd commented "I hope it's a day we can all look back on and remember fondly. "We hope everyone is still in great spirits after the Fulham game, but it's important we don't lose sight of what the most important thing is - and that's winning the match.

"Everyone is hoping for another day to remember on Saturday. But it will only be a day to really enjoy if we get the three points."

Mr Shepherd held back from giving Souness a vote of confidence but that may be on the way depending on how Souness' boys do against the London Black and Whites who have a history of upsetting Souness.

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