Mort and Allardyce Already Crack Team at Newcastle

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:

“Clearly 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.

“I 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. “We are comfortable investing on the playing side. But we would be crazy to start talking about the numbers we intend to invest in.

“Sam is clearly going to run the playing side, but he and I are already talking closely about where we might strengthen the team. “He is looking at every aspect of the playing squad and also the support staff. “He and I are talking on a very regular basis, most days we talk.”

Of course in any business it’s always very important to get who’s responsible for what – 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 – 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:

“Sam 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.

“He 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.

“I 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.”

In other words a veiled admission that he will not interfere at all on the playing side – 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:

“I wouldn’t want to get drawn on picking league positions we are aiming for. “We have got a new manager and are perfectly happy with the choice of manager. “It would be unfair on him to say this is where we will be next season or the season after.”

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 – 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 – 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 – with lots of talent – not least of which is his manner and communication skills – 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 – it was just a thought – 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.

31 comments so far

  • Arron

    Jul 4, 2007 at 1:17 PM

    Comment #1

    I want newcastle to get edmilson, baye, shaun wright phillips, and also a new left back. it would be also great if we could sign guily but it seems big sam doesn’t want him but most of all it would be great 2 sign at least one world class player.

  • Jeff

    Jul 4, 2007 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #2

    if we get another centre half and a left back Ill be happy for now………we have enough midfielders and strikers to see us through until January..If things need changing he can do it then with the money he doesnt need to blow in one go now…Sam is doing fantastic in this window with the players he has brought in so far…..He doesnt need to sign a world class player we already have a couple……..we have done that quite often and they dont always work…..I say go as you are sam and save money for January to see where needs improving

  • john75

    Jul 4, 2007 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #3

    Nice to hear people talking sense where NUFC is involved for a change. For too many years, we have had to hear all sorts of rubbish and waffle from the people running our club. Chris Mort certainly seems to talk sense and if he is going to let BSA run the football side of things and identify his own players, then that is only good news. I wonder if Sam is now going to start setting his sights a bit higher in terms of the type of player we go for?

  • Jeff

    Jul 4, 2007 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #4

    John do you not think the signings sam has made are quality signings…..viduka might be getting on but he will hold the ball up and bring players into play superbly barton is a much better player than parker and scores more goals…..rozehnal I dont know much about but is an international player and comes with a good report by other fans……..and geremi is another quality player and better than any right back we have at the club…..Sam is going for experience at the moment…….he might by top young players when he see’s exactly what he has got….He hasnt even saw his team play yet….you cant be nothing but impressed with the way he is doing things…………best of all he came in and got shot of bramble straight away massive respect ha ha

  • adam

    Jul 4, 2007 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #5

    remembering that mike ashley an co are evaluating newcastle from top to bottom right now, i think big sam is doing the wise thing and signing players which are good and cheap. its obvious that we need a left back, and im hoping we get someone like a bridge or shorey. dont want wright phillips to even think about coming here. we got milner and he was one of our best players last season and will continue to improve….just one issue i have with big sam at the moment is, he said that he wants to sign players that are a class above to what he couldve at bolton, but when he signed rozenhal, rozenhal himself said that big sam had been following him for a while which brings me to think that all the players that we have signed big sam wouldve gone for if he still were at bolton. just questioning if big sam is even thinking about bringing in true quality players that are around europe and that we deserve to have at newcastle. so when ashley finally tells big sam the transfer situation and the amount of money, which would surely be significant, the question is will sam go after a 4-5mill player or a torres for eg.

  • paul p

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #6

    got to say i am very impressed with chris mort’s comments today. it should only be right that Sam Alladyce has full control of the playing side. It was good to hear in the chronicle that their could be a big bgi signing on the way, but no names have been mentioned at all. After all the talks with Barcelona, who knows, we might be getting one of the following ronaldinho or messi or eto-o or zavi or puyal haha!! dream land i no, but u never no. Hopefully we will land gudjohnson, or a centre forward like him as he is different to owen, martins, viduka and shola. he can drop off and link up with the midfield, the 4 i have just mentioned can not. so will be good to mix it up a little, just like beardsley did. If we are to get back into the top 4, we need quality, gudjohnson is, edmilson was and can be again, but we wont see him until jan, wayne bidge is class and what we need. It would not go a miss having another 2 class centre halfs. Lets be honest, It would be better than what any of us have witnessed for a while. we have had 1 world class defender in the last 5 year, 2 decent defenders in 15 year. and we will need top quality to stop the likes of torres, who has just just this second completed his transfer to liverpool. what a player, and the type we need if we are every going to establish ourselves again. whats anyone else’s thoughts

  • ross

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #7

    BSA has already exeeded my expectations with his 4 quality signings for less than £11m. Not many other managers could do that. I still think we’ll have to wait untill the end of the coming season to see if we can get a “World Class” player/players based on our lack of Euro football for this season. After years of dissapointment and not wanting to build my hopes up, i’m allowing myself to get just a bit excited:)

    I feel like a Carling.

  • Cicero

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #8

    I still think we should make the smoggies an offer they can’t refuse for woodgate. Best defender the toon’s had in the past 25 years.

  • Cicero

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #9

    And if we sign bridge at leftback that’s as good a defense as any in the prem.

  • JP from The Rock of Gibraltar

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #10

    Jeff I totally agree. Sam has done an amazing job so far and I am convinced he will carry on like this. The best piece of business from him is as you say offloading the pathetic Bramble as soon as he arrived 🙂 haha MASSIVE RESPECT ey Jeff! hahaha 😀 ps. This Chris Mort guy is a breath of fresh air compared to Shepherds outbursts.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #11

    ross – and it was for less that 9M – since we did not pay 2M for Geremi – so even better.

  • Chris F

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #12

    Cicero – even if we bid for woodgate, we wouldn’t be able to sign him because of that UEFA/FIFA ruling about players being unable to move clubs twice within a 12 month period.

    I know they let Mascherano do it, but i think that was out of sympathy for his plight at West Ham.

    The full Lee Ryder article in the Chronicle hints at a big transfer being on the horizon, whether or not that comes from something mentioned off the record by Mort, or is just fantasising from Ryder (I’m sure some bad habits rub off when you work that closely to Alan Oliver) isn’t clear, but if we can bring in a world class centre half (and no, i don’t mean Edmilson here) i think we’d be on a very good standing to start the new season.

  • JP from The Rock of Gibraltar

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #13

    Cicero that’s right, if we could have Woodgate and Bridge just imagine how strong our team would be in all areas. aaaaahh the possibilities..let’s just hope Big Sam goes for them as we now can afford them both. Forget europe, money talks!! Go for them BSA!

  • Chris F

    Jul 4, 2007 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #14

    JP, never gonna happen. I don’t understand the hype around Wayne Bridge. Yes he’s a good player, but he’s not a great one. The only reason he has featured so regulalry for England is that we’ve only really had two recognised left backs in the prem who are english for god knows how long.

    I’d much prefer a move for baines (no too sure about shorey, though he has had a good season)

  • Arthur Prince

    Jul 4, 2007 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #15

    So given the signings currently on board what does everyone think the Starting line up will be for the 1st game of the season ?
    Mine would be
    Given Solano Rozenhal Taylor Geremi Milner Barton Butt N zogbia
    Viduka Owen . pLaying 41 32
    Shows we need a decent left back though.

  • Phil

    Jul 4, 2007 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #16

    Nzogbia ahead of Dyer, I don’t think so!

  • The Big P

    Jul 4, 2007 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #17

    A good left back, two more central defenders then rock on!!!!
    Come and get it all comers as we stick it to you at St.James.
    Be Afraid be Very Afraid……….
    Newcastle 3 Man Utd 1
    Newcastle 2 Chelsea 0
    Newcastle 2 Liverpool 1
    Newcastle 4 Arsenal 1
    Newcastle 3 Spurs o

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 4, 2007 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #18

    john75 – well said.
    Nor really sure Sam needs to set his sights too much higher for next season – once he completes his incoming deals we should be very well placed to do well next season. Then look for a similar transfer thrust next summer – to improve the squad a lot more. Think he’s going one step at a time.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 4, 2007 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #19

    Big P – love it 😀

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 4, 2007 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #20

    Geremi Taylor Rozehnal ?
    Milner Butt(captain) Barton N’Zogbia
    Viduka Owen
    In 4-4-2 – put this down without looking at your formation Arthur – close and yes we could play Solano at RB – but think we have to get new LB.
    Think Sam plays 4-3-3 though

  • Arthur Prince

    Jul 4, 2007 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #21

    Some how I feel BSA has his feelers out for one .!
    If we get Beye he would play at RB and Geremi at LB to start with until a specialist LB is brought in .
    I agree Butt for captain as long as BSA feels he is a starter in each match not sure if that would always be the case however.
    What position does Keiron Dyer play as well ??–RB !!?? NOW THERE IS A THOUGHT I wonder if BSA is also thinking on that line if not does he play instead of Milner or do they compete for that position

  • Arthur Prince

    Jul 4, 2007 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #22

    Actually on reflection I am not sure Dyer would tackle hard enough for a Right back

  • Rob Kirton

    Jul 4, 2007 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #23

    If going for a top rank centre half and “rock the football world” as quoted in the Chron , I’d forget Woodgate, he’s water under the bridge now

    I’d go for Puyol or Cannavaro. We have had dealings with their respective clubs recently and Cannavaro is definately unsettled in Madrid.

    Thinking about it, I think Puyol is crocked at the moment. He’d make a soid back line with Edmilson :0)

  • Guy

    Jul 4, 2007 at 6:28 PM

    Comment #24

    I am as optimistic as everyone about next season: Mort seems to be very sensible, Ashley very rich and Sam very shrewd. I think the signings Sam has made are just what the team needs.

    However, people do need to keep their feet on the ground when it comes to so called ‘world class players’. Newcastle are not in europe and most top players expect uefa cup minimum. We also already have several world class players in Owen, Martins (& hopefully Duff and Dyer if BS can get the best out of them). Some people seem to be suggesting that we should spend £50m just because we have it – the last thing we need is more expensive players with huge wages who do not fit into the teams overall structure. Having said that if the right players are available at the right price then great.

    I know a lot of people think Liverpool have pulled off a great deal in getting Torres but £26m is expensive and his goal scoring record is not that impressive; I expect a fairly average season from him as he gets used to the prem perhaps with one or two flashes of brilliance.

    Does anyone have any ideas about left back signings? Baines I think is overrated, and BS seems to have gone off him, and nothing seems to be happening with Shorey as he seems happy at Reading.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 4, 2007 at 6:53 PM

    Comment #25

    Arthur – when you look at the bench – and see Dyer, Emre, Martins etc – it shows we have a better squad and Sam still has players coming in.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 4, 2007 at 6:54 PM

    Comment #26

    Arthur – I agree with Beye and Geremi as full backs but pretty sure that Sam has an orthodox left back coming in – even Chris Mort mentioned that today in his interview.

  • david veitch

    Jul 4, 2007 at 7:59 PM

    Comment #27

    Please don’t forget this is only a transitional period for Sam and the new board. Sam has spent £1.9 million on players after comings and goings. Sam has said he needs 4-5 more players to start the season and will judge the condition of his squad from there. It will be interesting to see howmuch he spends on the other 4-5 players.
    The board will work closely with Sam and I expect them and Sam to re-evaluate the players, who can follow his scientific and analytical approach and more importantly highly motivated personnel, then he will again sort out the wheat from the chaf and bring in his top plyers next season when the club has settled in properly.

  • Tetsuo

    Jul 4, 2007 at 8:57 PM

    Comment #28

    First thing i would have to say i’m impressed with is the sudden business like manner that our club has adapted since the summer began, in terms of keeping our cards fairly tight to our chests and for once not shelling out inflated amounts filling positions that were not as urgent to deal with.

    One thing i can’t understand at present is why quite a few supporters are firmly behind Nicky Butt remaining in the central midfield role. I feel he’s a player that has always been highly overated a fact that has only really been overlooked because of his work rate and the way in which he breaks up play. A close look at his game would expose his lack of quality in terms of distribution and creativity that i feel we now have in Barton. With our strike force now i feel sorted and looking potentially very potent i would love to see another signing of absolute quality to partner Barton in the middle of the park as well as the obvious plugs in the defence (hopefully with Baye).

    Supporters are also quick to forget that we are yet to see the best in Owen and with Viduka now on board we now have three forwards capable of between 15-20 goals a season each and with Shola there also(who i happen to highly rate) we should be far more dangerous going forward than i can remember in recent years.

    One thing i do expect in the coming months is one absolutely massive world class signing in one of the attacking positions, looking most likely a winger to hopefully establish our intent to break into the top four in the not so distant future. This should be a young talent with bags of pace, the ability to whip in the killer ball consistantly….

    +Given+….+Beye, Taylor, Rosehnal, Geremi+…..+????(N’Zogbia), Barton, ????(Milner), Dyer+……+Owen/Martins, Viduka/Ameobi+

  • roscoe

    Jul 4, 2007 at 9:40 PM

    Comment #29

    . Owen
    Luque Milner
    . Barton Dyer
    . Butt
    ???Rozehnal Tayls Geremi

  • roscoe

    Jul 4, 2007 at 9:42 PM

    Comment #30

    ???Rozenhal Tayls Geremi

  • graeme dev

    Jul 4, 2007 at 10:07 PM

    Comment #31

    putting geremi in @ leftback is suicide, he plays right midfield (square pegs round holes) we need a quality leftback as our highest priority (prob 2 in case of injury) and that is just to give the team balance! i think sam will play a home team and an away team ,making ST jameses a fortress again and hopefully not losing away from home, we cannot attract world class players without europe ,so we need to at least qualify for europe next season to go to the next level of player, sam has bought players to get us to the next level, after that he will need a bigger and better squad to try and break the top 4, and that is when MA`S cash will come in handy, that combined with sams ability to sell the dream, “Come to the toon and play in front of 60,000 screaming geordies, and if you do well you will be a god to them and we will conquer europe in 2 seasons” not a quote but i bet its close to what he will say!!!
    All that is left for me to say is THANKYOU to MIKE ASHLEY for taking us out of the wilderness and hopefully making our great club a huge Worldwide club again, and thanks to shepherd for realising what was best for the club after 10 years of constant f*ckups under him and kenneth and Douglass Hall!!!
    Onward and upward ,roll on the start of the season ,and a little message to bolton “BE AFRAID………….BE VERY AFRAID!!!!”


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