Sam Allardyce will be provided with about Â£50M to restore Newcastle Unitedâ€™s fortunes next season after Mike Ashley completed his takeover of the club yesterday.
In a number of developments yesterday â€“ following the day long board meeting on Monday – Mike Ashley assumed full control of Newcastle United and installed his own people as directors, although Freddy Shepherd is to remain as chairman â€“ but only on a temporary basis estimated at only 3 months.
Newcastle Owner Mike Ashley
Ashley’s business adviser Chris Mort will handle Newcastle United’s daily affairs from now on – and the 38-year-old lawyer has been appointed Deputy Chairman. Presumably that means when Shepherd leaves â€“ Chris Mort will become Newcastle’s Chairman.
Steve Hayward, a marketing manager for Sports Direct â€“ who has also had involvement with Coca-Colaâ€™s football sponsorship program â€“ becomes a non-executive director.
As corporate partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringerâ€™s leisure sector group, from which he will now take leave, Mort, 38, advised Ashley on his Â£133 million acquisition of Newcastle. He has no football experience and is expected to work closely with Shepherd, who accepted Ashleyâ€™s invitation to stay on in a paid capacity.
However, it is now becoming clear that Mort will effectively run Newcastle on Ashleyâ€™s behalf. Sam Allardyce will now report directly to Mort and the two of them are already working closely together. This is good because Sam will now be getting help from Ashley’s people â€“ but obviously Sam has identified all the players he needs from the playing side â€“ which is exactly the way Allardyce wants it to be (and how it should be). However, since Mort has little experience it does put some pressure on Sam – but he will no doubt continue to get on with what he knows has to be done at Newcastle. We think Sam has performed admirably since his appointment in what have been extremely difficult circumstances for any manager.
As we reported last night Mort issued the following statement on Tuesday:
â€œI am delighted to take on this role,â€
â€œNewcastle 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.â€
With Allardyce needing to quickly strengthen the squad (training starts next week) and the club planning a Â£300M ground development that will increase stadium capacity to at least 60,000 and include a hotel and conference center being built on adjacent land, some continuity at the club is required. Shepherd will provide that continuity – but his remaining tenure is expected to last only a matter of months.
Priority will be given to improving the squad, back-room staff and playing facilities. Allardyce has already criticized the club’s facilities at Little Benton and will no doubt be discussing that with Mort.
Inside sources again confirmed last night Mike Ashley’s determination to â€œbuild the biggest and the best and be successfulâ€ at Newcastle.
That’s got a certain ring to it don’t you think?
Comments welcome – as usual.