Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce among mourners at funeral of Freddy Shepherd

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Ex-England captains Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer were among football's great and good at the funeral of former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd.

More than 500 people were at the service for the businessman, described as Mr Charisma by one of his three sons.

Paying respects to Freddy Shepherd

Paying respects to Freddy Shepherd

Mr Shepherd, a devoted family man who helped revive Newcastle United's fortunes in the 1990s, died suddenly aged 75.

Former Newcastle striker Shearer gave a eulogy, thanking Mr Shepherd for bringing him back to his home town team, allowing him to break the club's scoring record.

Also present were former United managers Sam Allardyce and Kenny Dalglish.

Fans' favourites including Peter Beardsley, Les Ferdinand, Shay Given, Tim Krul and Steve Harper were at the service.

TV entertainer Dec Donnelly and his wife Ali were also at St George's Parish Church in Newcastle's leafy suburb of Jesmond.

Rooney came to pay his respects as his agent Paul Stretford was in business with Mr Shepherd. The footballer attended with Alex Bruce, son of Steve Bruce - who also attended.

During Shepherd's time at Newcastle, the club twice finished as Premier League runners-up, reached two FA Cup finals and enjoyed two Champions League campaigns.

He also oversaw the redevelopment of an ageing stadium, boosting its capacity from around 36,000 to more than 52,000.

Shearer, who was bought by the club for a record £15 million, told mourners: "I first met Freddy when he made it his mission to persuade me to come home to Newcastle United.

"It is well-documented that there was another, so-called big club after me but it was Freddy along with Kevin (Keegan), Sir John (Hall) and Douglas (Hall) who was instrumental in getting me home.

"I left 10 years later with him as my great friend, playing for my club, breaking the goal-scoring record, living my dream.

"I can thank Freddy for all of that."

He ended his eulogy by saying: "We miss you Mr Chairman, we miss you Freddy."

Sir John, who was chairman before Mr Shepherd and who teamed up with him to take over the club when it was in trouble in the 1990s, paid warm tribute to his friend.

He said Newcastle became other fans' second team and their brand of entertaining football "lifted Tyneside".

He added: "This is what we need to do in the North East, we need to be winners."

Mr Shepherd was a major employer on Tyneside, having built up his offshore industry business with his brother Bruce, and was known for his shrewd mind, attention to detail and negotiating skills.

Local Labour MP Nick Brown told mourners Mr Shepherd created the Soccer Aid charity with Robbie Williams to help the world's poorest children, and it has raised £25 million since 2004.

On a floral tribute, Mr Shepherd's son Kenneth said his father was his best friend, adding: "My rock, Mr Charisma, Big Fred you are - but more, you are dad."

After the service popular goalkeeper Harper smiled as he said: "He was the sort of person you could have a row with and then he would give you a cuddle at the end of it.

"He was black and white through and through, larger than life.

"The family message really came through too - not just what he did for the people, but it was the warmth he had for everyone he came across."