Date: 26th May 2006 at 12:46pm
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Toon chaiman Freddy Shepherd has hit out at the national newspapers for suggesting he knocked back the chance to take Jonathan Woodgate.

Woodgate, 26, has struggled for fitness since his £13.4million move to Spain in August 2004 and has been linked with a return to English football.

However, Magpies chairman Shepherd denied his club turned Woodgate down after being offered the player back.

Shepherd: ‘These reports are simply not true, and it is important our fans know that. The club has a great relationship, both with Jonathan, who was a very popular player in his time at Newcastle, and with Real Madrid after our transfer dealings involving both Jonathan and Michael Owen in recent times.

‘But stories saying we have been offered Jonathan back – and that we have also rejected him – are completely inaccurate. The close season is always the silly season when so much transfer speculation appears in newspapers.’