Another great interview today that Chris Mort has given to the Newcastle Journal where he talks about the Newcastle United club and what he plans to do with the club in the medium term.
It looks like Chris is really enjoying the challenge, which is Newcastle United, and seems to be quickly learning about the passionate supporters of the club, who have not seen the club win a trophy in almost 40 years.
It looks to us as though Chris is bringing his considerable business and strategy skills to the club and certainly has big plans for the structure of the club. It will be interesting to see where we are in say 12 months time.
Chris Mort - has big plans for Newcastle
Letâ€™s take a look at what Chris had to say this morning.
â€œItâ€™s a fabulous way to spend oneâ€™s time, running a football club. It didnâ€™t take long for me to accept Mikeâ€™s offer to come and run the club and I have absolutely no problems having done so. Iâ€™m enjoying it. Iâ€™m working hard, but I worked hard in my London life, so that aspect is nothing new.â€
â€œMy mindset is not â€˜this is only a gameâ€™, Itâ€™s that thereâ€™s a city full of passionate people who care very much about what happens here on a Saturday afternoon.” I know they look to the club to determine how their lives work out to a great extent. Itâ€™s part of our responsibility.â€
Chris Mort and owner Mike Ashley have quickly become immersed in the passion for Newcastle United that washes over the city and the surrounding areas. Thatâ€™s one reason that Mike bought the club, because he was almost guaranteed a completely full stadium at home games, plus the well known passion of the Tyneside fans. Seems to us Mike has quickly become part of that passion, which is just great.
â€œI donâ€™t come into work thinking â€˜oh, won this week, lost last weekâ€™, but Iâ€™ve grown up enjoying football, so I donâ€™t treat it in a way that perhaps we should, which is that itâ€™s only a game. Thereâ€™s more passion to it than that.â€
â€œIn my role I have to be determined to take a medium-to-long-term view and not be the guy texting in to the Press on a Monday morning saying everythingâ€™s gone horribly wrong. I have to look at it more long term than that.â€
â€œIt struck me, even after drawing at Boro and winning at Bolton for the first time for ages, that there is lots of negativity around. Lots of people are clearly waiting to see where this club is going.”
“Having been through last season and lots of people been unsatisfied, a lot of people have gone into this season wondering where the clubâ€™s going to go.â€
There is a lot of negativity with the Newcastle fans, thereâ€™s no doubt about that. But a lot of that has been caused not only by not winning anything for close to 40 years, but also having too many false dawns.
Certainly under the Shepherd regime, the fans were not treated well and were too often taken for granted. There is that episode over the shirts, when both Shepherd and Douglas Hall criticized both the fans for overpaying for the shirts and even the woman of Newcastle. Yes, we know they were intoxicated and set up – but the truth comes out when you’ve had a few. The fan’s’ trust was lost right there and has not been forgotten.
Shepherd resigned over that but got back in as Chairman shortly thereafter. How Freddy came back into the chairman’s job after that disgraceful episode seems ludicrous and ridiculous, but that was Newcastle in those days. He should have been thrown out of the club – full stop.
Chris Mort has already stated that he wants to put some long term strategies in place for Newcastle United, to ensure sustainable success is finally brought to Tyneside. However, Newcastle supporters demand to see almost instant improvement in the clubâ€™s performances on the field, or at the very least to see ongoing improvement. It just takes a few defeats in a row for that improvement to look like it’s in reverse. Thatâ€™s actually happened over the last few games, as we all know.
â€œIs it going to continue as it is, is it going to go to a higher level. People are perhaps looking to judge it even quicker this season because theyâ€™re trying to work out where itâ€™s going.”
“But it would be wrong for me to join the element that swings both ways, because I wouldnâ€™t be doing my job properly if thatâ€™s the way my mind went.â€
However, as well as Sam continuing to build up his own staff on the playing side, Chris believes the senior management at Newcastle also needs to be strengthened further. As well as Justin Barnes and Steve Hayward coming in as non-executive directors, Lee Charnley has been appointed football secretary with John Irving the financial controller of the club.
But Mort also wants to recruit a new management team to help him deal with the wide range of issues which require the clubâ€™s day-to-day attention.
â€œIâ€™m not looking to bring in a new chairman or anything. There are a couple of senior people I think we need to add to help the management of the club, which will make life a little easier.â€
â€œIt would enable me to move up to a slightly higher level in terms of strategy, but at the moment Iâ€™m getting down into the detail of lots of things, which is a healthy thing for me to do, to understand what needs to be done. Because over time Iâ€™d hope to be able to get a bit more management in there as well.â€
Generally once you put strategies in place they need to be in lock step with targets or goals on the execution side. Only then can you measure your progress. So while Mort has said he is unwilling to put any targets in place for Sam this season you can bet they will have targets very soon. Getting into the top 4 and the European Champions League has to be one obvious target. While weâ€™ll probably never see them, you can bet, at least before the end of this season, that the club has mapped out a strategy, linked with several goals along the way for the next 3-5 years.
Then all we have to do is execute that strategy ……….
This is an exciting time for Newcastle United because we now have talented people in place who are determined to bring success to the club. We think it’s going to happen. No, let’s make that a little stronger – we know it’s going to happenÂ Â
Comments very welcome.