By Humphrey Carter

THE Bulletin can confirm today that the rumours and reports of former Newcastle United Chairman Freddy Shepherd's interest in buying Real Mallorca are correct.

Shepherd, who sold his 29 percent stake in Newcastle last year, is said to be preparing a bid in the region of £40 million for the Palma football club.

Shepherd is no stranger to the island or the club.
He is a regular vistor to Majorca and has owned a property in Andratx since 1987 and was chairman of Newcastle when the two sides met in 2004 in the UEFA Cup. Mallorca lost the away leg 4-1 and then 3-0 at home in Palma.

Shepherd has apparently been studying the possible purchase of a number of English clubs over the past few months but it appears that he is focusing on a more cosmopolitan club in Palma.

The Chairman of Real Mallorca, Vicente Grande, recently put his 93 percent share of the club up for sale for around 40 million euros but Shepherd would also have to pay the club a premium for being an overseas buyer.

Grande, who has said he is not actively looking for a buyer but will welcome any offers, would prefer the club to remain in Spanish, if not Majorcan, hands.

However, Shepherd, who is 65, is renowned for putting his money where his mouth is after the huge investments he made in Newcastle football and rugby (where Jonny Wilkinson plays) clubs. He is apparently after 100 percent control of Real Mallorca and wants to purchase the remaining seven per cent of the shares which Grande does not own.

Hence, Shepherd is said to be preparing a bid of at least £40 million.
Should the Shepherd offer be accepted and he takes over the club, the £40 million-plus deal will represent one of the largest British investments to have been made in the Balearics - not to mention the further investments which can be expected to be made on star players.