New Newcastle Vice-Chairman and top lawyer Christopher Mort – who has been drafted in by English billionaire owner Mike Ashley to carry out a thorough review of Newcastle’s business – has given his first extensive and exclusive interview to Lee Ryder of the Evening Chronicle today.
We’ll take a look at what he has to say and give our own spin on his comments – but a little hint up front – it sounds very impressive.
Newcastle Vice-Chairman Chris Mort
Mort talked today exclusively to Lee Ryder and the Evening Chronicle:
â€œClearly the new season is fast approaching so we have to be comfortable where we are going and are working closely with Sam to make sure we have a squad that is capable of competing.
â€œI have been doing this now for just over a week, but before that time we were asked to approve the signings of Joey Barton and Mark Viduka, so it is already investment from our perspective. â€œWe are comfortable investing on the playing side. But we would be crazy to start talking about the numbers we intend to invest in.
â€œSam is clearly going to run the playing side, but he and I are already talking closely about where we might strengthen the team. â€œHe is looking at every aspect of the playing squad and also the support staff. â€œHe and I are talking on a very regular basis, most days we talk.â€
Of course in any business it’s always very important to get who’s responsible for what â€“ get clear lines of responsibility identified – and then make the people in those positions accountable. It certainly look like Mort and Ashley are already doing that with Sam â€“ and to us it’s a breath of fresh air to hear Mort talk so well about Allardyce and how they are already working well together. Whether we like it or not football is a big global business these days (and will only get bigger) and it’s good to have good businessmen helping to run the Newcastle club.
Chris went on:
â€œSam is going to take the lead. He is well known in football for having a very good sense of who is out there and their capabilities.
â€œHe looks at football in a very analytical way. He is going to lead the charge in all that and I am going to be in an approval role.
â€œI am not going to be sending him videos of players I want. He is quite obviously way ahead of me in that and that is clearly his strength and what he is here to do.â€
In other words a veiled admission that he will not interfere at all on the playing side â€“ unlike Shepherd and Douglas Hall over the last several years. Chris then switched to how we may do next year or what the current expectations are:
â€œI wouldnâ€™t want to get drawn on picking league positions we are aiming for. â€œWe have got a new manager and are perfectly happy with the choice of manager. â€œIt would be unfair on him to say this is where we will be next season or the season after.â€
This statement by Vice-Chairman Mort shows us he has lots of confidence in Allardyce. Not only that – but everybody was aware Sam wanted to be in complete charge of the playing side of the club – and that’s exactly where Mort has placed him â€“ as far as responsibilities go. At a cursory look it seems that Mort and Sam are right on track and seem to be working nicely together.
We have been so impressed with what we have seen of Mort so far that we wonder what his longer term role may be at the club. Yes â€“ he’s not a football person and we do understand he has other business interests. From what we can find out about him he seems a very good up and coming young businessman â€“ with lots of talent – not least of which is his manner and communication skills â€“ as illustrated above.
We of course have no idea who Ashley may eventually bring in as Chairman to replace Shepherd but obviously Mike already must have supreme confidence in Chris to give him this initial and important task. Well â€“ it was just a thought â€“ but we think this interview is a good one and gives us confidence that the business side of things are in good hands with Chris Mort.
Now for the next signing ………. comments on this article very welcome.