There has been some information released on Newcastle’s two new Directors, Chris Mort and Steve Hayward and we review their backgrounds.
One of Chris Mort’s immediate tasks is to conduct a strategic review of the club which includes its existing infrastructure, contractual arrangements, staff and financial position.
Owner Mike Ashley
Chris Mort, a partner at international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, one of the two new members of the Newcastle United Board, will be the one to lead a strategic review of the club including its existing infrastructure, contractual arrangements, staff and financial position. He will take leave from Freshfields, where he co-heads the firm’s leisure sector group which covers the sports, gaming and hotel sectors. Chris is a long term associate of Ashley, and was an advisor to Mike on his take-over bid at St James’ Park.
Mort said the following today:
“I am delighted to take on this role. Newcastle United is a fantastic football club with a wonderful set of supporters,”
“My first task is to lead a review of all aspects of the club and I look forward to starting that work immediately.”
It seems interesting that Mort is in the sports, gaming and hotel sectors industry. Presumably he will also be fully involved with the Â£300M upgrade to St. James’ Park – currently in the planning stages but due for completion before the Olympic Games in 2012. It will include a new convention center, new hotel and an increase in the capacity at St. James to at least 60,000. This is all starting to make a lot of business sense.
Artist’s Impression of Upgraded St. James’ Park
Steve Hayward, the other new appointee to Newcastle’s Board of Directors has experience in the sport and leisure fields, including spells with Universal/Paramount, Ashley’s Sports Direct International and Coca-Cola, where he managed the soft drinks giant’s UK sponsorship program. This sponsorship meant he had to work with all the major participants in English football.
The leaving of the Board on Tuesday of Douglas Hall and his sister Allison Antonopoulos finally brought to an end the Hall family’s eventful association with the club which began in 1991. Sir John Hall led the Magpie Group’s takeover at St James’ in late 1991 and spearheaded the club’s re-emergence as a force in English football.
His recruitment of Kevin Keegan as manager and the cash he handed the former Newcastle striker to build a side which produced some stunning football took the Magpies back to the upper reaches of the Barclay’s Premier League and into Europe. Although the Hall family became very rich out of the association with Newcastle United – the club is no nearer to breaking a trophy drought stretching back to 1969 – despite the investment of hundreds of million of pounds.
We all hope Mike Ashley will bring great big rain clouds to Newcastle – to end that drought – and the sooner it starts to cloud over the better.