Chris Mort Dispels Fears of Newcastle Fans

An excellent interview in the Newcastle Journal this morning with Luke Edwards getting a long and valuable interview with new Newcastle Chairman Chris Mort.

With all the turmoil going on at the moment with seemingly limited investment in in the club and bringing players in and the like – let’s take a very close look at what Chris actually says and try to make it what’s really going on.


Newcastle Chairman Chris Mort – revealing interview

Chris Mort told Luke Edwards today:

“It is not a short-term project for Mike Ashley or myself and I want to put that to bed straight away,”“If you look at the companies Mike has bought, like Dunlop and Slazenger, he has developed them over a period of 20 years.”

“He does small investments like he did in Adidas, which he then sells on, but that is not a whole business, it’s a minority stake. He has bought an entire asset here and the plan is to develop it over a lengthy period of time, not turn things around quickly and sell it on again.”

“We are here for the long term, this is a long-term project. We are looking at how to take the club forward over various timescales. We are looking at the short term, which is making sure the team is a strong as possible for the start of the Premier League season, which means getting the squad and staff right.”

We think that’s a good start. Obviously Chris must have been hounded in the press with all sorts of accusation and innuendo. We often wonder if he even bothers reading the popular press because there seems disaster happening every day – but we know that’s just to sell their newspapers.

Chris is responding above to some recent reports that Ashley is looking for a buyer because the debts at Newcastle are higher than they first thought. There is no way he’s going to sell the club – so let’s put that to bed right now – even though it may mean cutting down the sale of newspapers in Newcastle  😀

What’s more important – selling more papers based on sensationalism – or letting Newcastle fans know truth? We are all for the latter.

Chris continued:

“Then there is the longer time frame, like property development, which we haven’t really looked at yet at all. We have to get the foundations right here to sustain long-term goals.”

“The caliber of player we want to bring in is someone with a lot of Premiership experience or Champions League experience and they are in short supply. We are at a stage where we don’t want to just bring players in to add to the squad, we want players who are going to be in the first team.”

“We are not just trying to add numbers, we are trying to add quality. I think Sam and I are not that focused on the money side of things, we are just trying to bring in the right people. We are conscious we don’t want to overpay, or panic buy and so we are managing our funds properly.”

“But we both know we are going to have to pay decent money to bring decent players in. We are certainly willing to spend the money we have to strengthen the squad and we are close to bringing in two or three players before the start of the season.”

Does that sound like funds are restricted at Newcastle? We don’t think so and are starting to believe this whole panic about lack of funds is pure paper talk. We are pleased about that but at the same time it has to be annoying to Chairmen Mort – if he reads the papers at all.

Mort continued:

“The debt was certainly higher than we thought. The club’s finances were not in as strong a position as we first thought when we arrived, but that’s something we will work with over a period of time.”

“It obviously wasn’t a positive thing to find out that the business isn’t in as good a financial health as we believed. It’s not a criticism of the previous regime, their heart was in the right place to do what they could to bring success to the club, but we’ll look at the debt and get it to a level which is suitable for the size of the club and its revenue.”

Very good points and understandable from Chris Mort’s viewpoint who is responsible for running the club financially.

Chris added:

“It has not been a hindrance to what we are doing in the transfer market and for me the two are separate. We are doing lots of things on the financial side and buying players is just one of those, the debt is another. The debt has not stopped us from trying to buy the players we want to improve the squad.”

So this has not been a problem in the transfer market and therefore we assume funds have not been restricted – at least not to ₤10M.

Mort added:

“The aim is to win that first trophy, of course, but we are not setting Sam any specific goals for this season or beyond. We appreciate there is lots of work to do with the squad and behind the scenes in terms of backroom staff support.”

“We want to be heading in the right direction in the Premiership, but we haven’t said we want this finish or that finish. We want to have a team which is tough to beat and who other teams are wary of, but this is going to be a gradual process.” “Our ambitions are to take the club back into Europe, but this is just the first step forward. We are getting the foundations in place in the first team, but also across the whole of the club. We are not focusing too much on what happens in the first few weeks and months.”

If that last sentence means the management is not going to panic with whatever happens before say November this year – we think that’s fine.  Obviously – like Sam – Mort is trying to keep expectations for next season as low as possible.

We know Sam is too but secretly think one reason Sam is so adamant about getting the right players in before the season starts is Sam wants to make next season a big surprise at Newcastle – on the upside – and get Newcastle as high as possible. That’s the character of the man – and we like it.

While trying not to get too positive and optimistic about this we think what Chris says is very sensible and see nothing at all to justify the press releases about transfer limitations at Newcastle that started last Sunday.

A couple of transfers of good players worth a little money within a few days hopefully will bury the story – but don’t bet on it.

Comments very welcome.

55 comments so far

  • Hog

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #1

    I just hope our stars (Owen, Martins etc) have the patience to stick around for a long as Mort is saying this could take for things to turn around….

  • AlexW

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #2


  • paul p

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #3

    i posted this on an earlier blog – see hull city 1 – 0 newcastle.!!

    it is great news and the fact we are looking at players with premiership experienece and champions league experience, and to expect 3 before the season starts. no mention of how many to expect before the window shuts, so that is a positive thing as we may bring in another 3 from kick off until the transfer deadline, which is what we need. this looks great on paper, but lets hope it really does happen in real life!

  • SAM

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #4

    If the newspapaers trumpet we have loads of new money to spead then the prices from selling clubs go up – look at the prices West Ham are paying!

    We have to forget the times when Freddy kept larging up the club and be patient and see what good value players the club can bring in.

  • apan

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #5

    “We are not just trying to add numbers, we are trying to add quality. I think Sam and I are not that focused on the money side of things, we are just trying to bring in the right people. We are conscious we don’t want to overpay, or panic buy and so we are managing our funds properly.”

    Agreed, now this is a reliable source! 2 or 3 players by end of this week hopefully, heard alan smith is sure bet to come here as it appears on skysport website..well he can play in mid and a tenacious one like barton or parker, but his kinda short? but i think BSA is looking at the future as we all probably Owen’s future, he will be here this season but next season im not sure unless we managed to get an europe spot then it would be likely, but alan smith and viduka partnership argh reminisce of the pair at elland road, good partnership

  • Craig Allen

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #6

    Ah .. thank goodness, I’ll stop mentioning Sports Direct now 😉

  • steve

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #7

    “pay decent money to bring decent players in” – how does Alan Smith qualify!

    A – we don’t need another striker (especially one that isn’t very good)
    B – we don’t need an average midfielder
    C – we don’t need an alleged racist
    D – he is not worth 6 million
    E – Fergie usually gets it spot on when moving players out the club

  • lee, Malaysia

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #8

    i don know what to say actually. After all, these people ( chris mort and Ashley),they just come in and talk some rubbish. where is the money for the transfer market ‘big fat mike’? u should look at how Thaksin Shinawatra throws his money on new players in just a while he ‘s been at City. Football club’s business ain’t any like your various sports house business. If you act slow, m afraid the toon army have to cover their face again. sigh! bad sign..

  • ToonKing

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #9

    D*nm in needed to hear this.

    I think Sam will suprise us with a few good signings and after that …….who knows. 😉

  • Billy

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #10

    “The finances weren’t as good as we thought”
    “We don’t want to overpay”
    “No quick fixes.. but a long term plan”

    I read those statements as a plan of doing everything on the cheap, so profits can be extracted. Full Stop.

  • paul p

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #11

    steve. i am with you all the way on this one. first and foremost. Everyone can see what area we need to strengthen the most and that is the back 4. we need at least 3 defenders brought in before kick off. 3 with premiership and champions league experience, campbell, heinze are two who come straight to mind.

  • Chris F

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #12

    er, when was alan smith ever accused of being a racist?

    we’ve already had the 2 from leeds that were, and still have emre who was last season!

  • Kash

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #13

    I really don’t like the “Newcastle-Mad-Online” website. They put some stupid articles on there which are quite antagonising at times and just plain stupid. They’ve really got a hard on for N’Zogbia and want him out, they”re always posting rumours about him. Getting sick of these guys.

  • Bosck

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #14

    lee, Man City may be throwing big money around as are West Ham but netiher is doing so in a particulary sensible or systematic fashion. if rumours in italy are true about city signing bojinov that will mean they have 11 forwards on their books, 8 defenders and 5 midfielders once their 2 defensive signings have gone through. hardly a balanced squad is it.

  • ToonKing

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #15

    Yes Lee, Thaksin is throwing money, but are they buying quality ??? Hell noooo!!

    Bianchi ? – a nobody, had 1 good season

    Giovanni – pffff, come on, way overt it now.

    Gelson Fernandes – inexperienced youngster from FC SION!!!

    Martin Petrov – decent, but unproven and aging and slowly loosing pace.

    Now if they get Bojinov, he could be a good signing.

    +They lost Barton and Distin.

  • Whumpie

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #16

    I had my reservations about Fred, but you also have to worry about the club being run by a lawyer and owned by an investor. At least FFS could qualify as a fan.
    Some of Big Sam’s comments a couple of weeks ago about the board hampering his signings point to a “run by the numbers” attitude from Mort that we’ve all seen from people put in top jobs by money rather than experience. Some of the rhetoric is encouraging (like this interview) but it also conflicts with what’s been said before.
    What’s the difference between a dead lawyer in the road and a dead rat in the road? Skid-marks before the rat. Let’s hope he catches ‘Magvirus’ quickly and sees a bit more than pound signs in making his decisions.

  • Gallacher the Horse

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #17

    If BSA and CCM’s words are true, I’m actually quite pleased we haven’t signed any of those ‘Premiership quality’ defenders yet. We may be looking at the masterstroke of assessing players as they participate in pre-season matches, being able to judge levels of fitness and determination before splashing out. Then when/if we sign players that have shown they are ready for a season of hard-paced football, which is what BSA will be demanding of them, we will all be grateful!

    However, if there is a whole lot of spin going on, I’m afraid our voiced discontent will be fully justified. Besides being one of the most loyal sets of fans in the world, we are also one of the most patient, but that patience shouldn’t be tried. So I’m hoping the pieces of our protracted transfer jigsaw are now falling into place and we will all have a massive boost just as the season starts!

    Howay the lads!

  • Gallacher the Horse

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #18

    And an N’Zogbia/Diop swap by the weekend anyone?

  • paul p

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #20

    he is tall, and we have heard what BSA wants, tall players to defend set pieces, so there could be some truth in this story. Personally i would keep Charlie boy, he can play down the left, play in the middle. he has quick feet and is pacey and i would keep him.

  • Gallacher the Horse

    Aug 2, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #21

    Oops! Sorry Kash, I’ve mentioned ‘Newcastle-Mad-Online’ – far from the greatest site but if this one happens to be remotely true, could be another bit of top-notch BSA business

  • ToonKing

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #22

    @Gallacher : Hell nooooooooooooooo! N’zogbia is worth twice as much as Dioup and that’s because he’s twice the player.
    Don’t sell him Sam……….unless he wants to go.

  • ToonKing

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #23

    and it would be hardly top-notch business.

  • Howie

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #24 is usually reliable and it looks like we will have drago as well as Smith by the end of the week so then we will be looking bit better.

  • Bosck

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #25

    gallacher – i hope not, don’t think sam would go for that.

    zogs has been playing too well and sam has been praising him too much for me to believe he will go to fulham.

    plus bsa keeps saying that we are trying to bring players in not send them out to increase our squad numbers.

    finally without being harsh on fulham zogs is/will be too good for them, you could argue the same for us, but if he has ambition he will either stay as part of the allardyce revolution, or move on to a club that is at least currently better than us and fulham.

  • Jerry

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #26

    Spot on Steve! why would we be interested in Alan Smith?! He’s not good enough as far as am concerned!

  • Gallacher the Horse

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #27

    Toon King, I agree that Zog can be twice the player on his day, but last season appeared to only show half as much interest and commitment as he ought to have been! I guess I’m hoping Diop would come in and want to play for us and BSA, rather than float around on occasions and seem to be taking the Mickey out our shirt.

    But each to his own and I’d be happy to be proved wrong and for Zog to be the Young Player of the Year next June!

  • Rich

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #28


    regarding our convo on here yesterday, i think ive been vindicated.

    You were saying we only have 10mil and when i said i can guarantee we have more than 10 million you mocked me.

    But Chris Mort just gave exactly the same reasons i did as to why we havent signed many defenders, because the calibre we want isnt available, we could sign players to make up the numbers like Quedrue & Luke Young but that would just be a waste of time in my eyes, and obviously Sam thinks the same.

    BSA has said today in the papers that he reckons he will have dyers replacement in line in the next day or so and that we can expect 2 new players by the end of this week and 2 or 3 next week!

    “I think we’ll be close by the end of the week to maybe one or two players, I would hope. Then after that I would look to get at least another two or maybe three in because if Kieron goes, whoever comes in to replace him, that’s only one for one, so it’s not actually improving the squad in terms of strength in depth. ”,19528,11678_2636580,00.html

  • Rich

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #29

    Thursday’s Spanish sports paper Marca claims that Seville defender Ivica Dragutinovic has agreed to join Newcastle. –

    hes an old timer, but can play well both LB or CB so will be good cover for us methinks.

  • Darren

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #30

    Zog wants out so what do you do? Personally I’d sell him, pointless keeping an unhappy player, especially one who goes in a huff like he does.

    As for the Mort interview, funny how you take his word for everything. He is obviously gonna say what he has said, otherwise people would be going mad right now.

    If our debt is too high then yes it needs managing, and the only way he can do this is by cutting spending.

    Wait until the transfer window closes, taking into account player sales I bet our net outlay is around the mythical £10m mark – which every newspaper in the land has commented on (not that you gullible lot will buy newspapers anymore).

  • Shaun

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #31

    Got to keep Zog, couple years from now he’ll play for France and be worth a lot of money should that be the time to move him on, personaly I say keep him.

  • Rich

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #32

    Zog hasnt said he wants to leave?

    he said he was unhappy at the way he was treated at the end of last season, which is fair enough considering Sam had nothing to do with it.

    i think this £10mil stuff is all pants, because the only papers ive seen rpeorting it are papers like The Sun & The Daily Star which dont have 1 bit of news in them anyway, and the ony footballing websites to report on them are ones liek Tribalfootball and all the dross that gets put onto, until someone like Skysports or BBC say we only have 10 mil i dont believe it.

    im sure if John Terry was available wed be loding a 30million pound bid, but fact of the matter is their is no top class prem defender available, which in my mind is why we havent signed anyone.

  • ToonKing

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #33


    SAM Allardyce is closing in on the signing of two new players with the Magpies boss confident that deals for Alan Smith and Brazilian defender Cacapa will be tied up by the end of the week.

    With Kieron Dyer poised to join West Ham having been given permission to talk to the East London club, Big Sam has moved quickly to add reinforcements to his United squad.

    And Allardyce is hopeful that 31-year-old former Lyon captain Cacapa and Man Utd forward Smith will be unveiled in black and white in the next 48 hours.

    “He is a top player and we will be delighted if we can pull this off as we regard him as a big capture.

    “Our fans should not be put off by the fact they may not have heard of Cacapa because he has certainly been heard of in Brazil and France.

    “He has been captain of Lyon for the past five years and for every one of those five years they have won the French title, so obviously he has a lot of Champions League experience.

    “That’s why we are hoping everything goes OK with his medical and we can agree a deal with his people because he would be a terrific capture for us.”

    The Toon boss is also confident that he has won the race to sign Man Utd ace Smith, despite reported competition from a host of clubs including North East rivals Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

    “I am hoping that the Alan Smith deal will go through on Thursday,” he told the Evening Chronicle.

    “He has other clubs to consider and I am hoping we are top of his list.”,,10278~1083371,00.html

    So the defender is CACAPA!! Great !!!!

  • Darren

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #34

    Zog did say he wanted to leave, he said he wanted a move to London after walking out on us at Watford. He wanted to move on earlier last year too as he thought he was above having to challenge for a place in the team. He was also unhappy we shipped Boumsong out !!!!

    I agree he can be a good player and he has potential but his attitude stinks.

    Rich – you can have an opinion that the £10m figure is dross, the same as I can have an opinion that I believe it is roughly what we will spend. No club is going to come out and admit that is all they have to spend so you will not see it on the BBC or SkySportsNews (which is the king of hyped stories anyway as they need to fill 24hrs of TV each day).

    If John Terry was available you think we would bid?

    Are you missing Shepherd already?

    It would be Rooney all over again, getting our hopes up yet deep down you know he won’t come.

    We need to build a team, not waste our time bidding for players way out of our depth. However if the thought of £30m bids keeps you happy then fair enough.

    PS – Notts County bid for Ronaldinho, just been on five live, season ticket sales have gone through the roof

  • Bosck

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #35

    awesome. just spoken to the french guy who works in my office, says cacapa will be an awesome signing, reckons he has a physical style as well so will be well suited to the premiership. he was surprised to hear we had signed him but says he is a very very good free transfer.

    forget all these clubs spending huge money we have signed what could be the spine of the team; cacapa, geremi, and viduka for nothing. Allardyce is a legend!!!!

    am really really optimistic now can’t wait to see who the other 3 players allardyce has said he hopes for will be.

  • Darren

    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #36

    BTW – last summer Newcastle spent net £11.75m on players

  • Darren

    Aug 2, 2007 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #37

    Mort comments in Evening Chronicle………

    “It does not matter if we do not spend a ton of money on a player as long as we get the right man, like we did with Mark Viduka.

    “Yes, he is on a big salary, but he was a free transfer and he is a brilliant signing for us.

    “So we will not be spending money just to show that we can. That is not the object of our game.”

    Doesn’t sound like we’ll be spending £30m to me

  • paul p

    Aug 2, 2007 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #38

    and we have not spent a penny this summer so far and will have signed 6 players, apparently the money is there so mort says, but the quality we want is hard to come by. we are desperate for a left back and one more centre half to go with rozenhal, taylor and cacapa, campbell would be the one for me, then we get the left back we need, then a right back. still dont think smith is the answer like. striker wise now caus thats what he really is, we have owen, viduka, martins, ameobi, luque, carrol and smith. what was the matter with not signing arteta or nolan or diarra from lyon??

  • iain

    Aug 2, 2007 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #39

    dyer out + 10m been mentioned as budget = 16m.

    – smith 6m = 10m

    – cacapa 0 = 10m

    – diop 3m = 7m

    – drago 2m = 5m

    so until we spend beyond that 5m or so im yet to be convinced sam has been given real money to really advance this team quickly in the short term ie europe qualification. is imo esp if the zog goes we are devoid of creativity needed for the top6/7. say the zog did leave for 3m that would 8m for a fb/ch/creativemf, so to get any real qaulitu there ashley will have to allow to spend more. real qaulity costs money i think that what most people agree one, tarting up smith etc as real qaulity doesnt count.

    smith is a pointless signing imo unless of course owen and shola are still as crocked as ever, which its starting to look like, if they cant last pre season god knows how a 38+ game season will hit them.

    i still didnt see any explanation of where the 30m tv deal is going, it looks like 20m is going to clear some debt, and ashleys outlay is £0 bar what hes bought the clu with.

  • Bosck

    Aug 2, 2007 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #40

    paul, the matter with not signing arteta or nolan (diarra could be a possibility still tho) is simply that everton and bolton wouldnt sell them, not unless we paid stupid money anyway. they are integral parts of both sides.

    Darren, no it doesnt sound like we are spending £30m, it sounds like we will spend what ever money is required to get in the players we need. the whole point of Mort making that comment was to show that you can get quality players without paying anything so just spending a huge amount of money for the sake of it wouldnt make sense.


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