The news that Chris Mort will soon step down as the Newcastle Chairman shouldnâ€™t really come as a surprise to most Newcastle fans.
Sir John Hall – faith in Ashley and Keegan
Chris Mort was a trusted Ashley confident, whom he could trust to start the wheels moving to get Newcastle on a firm footing, and he has done some good work at the club in the last 10 months.
Chris never gave up his role at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he is still co-head of the Leisure Sector, and seemingly the plan was for him to return to the Law Practice at an appropriate time.
Before Mike Ashleyâ€™s takeover at Newcastle last June, Mort had already advised the billionaire over earlier acquisitions, and had worked in a similar capacity with Formula One, EMI and various investment banks.
It seems that Mort was the chosen one to get things initially sorted out for Ashley, and conduct a strategic review of the club.
He has since started to implement some of the recommendations, which have included putting together an executive recruitment team, and an increased focus on youth at the club.
Setanta Sports tried to get a reaction from Sir John Hall today on the pending news, and Sir John Hall told Setanta Sports News today:
â€It was to be expected,â€
â€œWhen Mike took over the club, he had Chris Mort as heading up his negotiating team and probably had an agreement to stay on to complete the legals and take the club private and consolidate Mikeâ€™s takeover.â€
â€Chris is a very good lawyer and I read in the press his wife did want to come up to the North East. He has done his stint and is time to move back.â€
Hall believes Ashley will take the club forward by making the right appointment, but we also believe the appointment will be rapid and that Deputy Chairman Derek Llambias, will be made the Chairman fairly quickly.
â€It is for Mike Ashley to make the decisions, but he has been putting a team together for a year and is an astute businessman.â€
â€You need a chairman who steps aside and a chief executive who understands the game, but the chairman has got to elevate himself away from that to see the bigger picture.â€
â€Mike has had a year, getting to know us, it has been good and bad times and it is time to take the club forward.â€
And Hall is still hopeful that Kevin Keegan will take the club forward on the field, following another disappointing season for Newcastle fans:
â€Kevin will now sit down and consolidate and look at the players he wants to bring in and I think we can look forward to an exciting season.â€
â€It will be interesting to see where Kevin takes us, letâ€™s hope heâ€™s not lost his touch fort the game.â€
We would hope that the ensuing change in Chairman will not at all impact our transfer negotiations, and if we really are after Galatasaray’s Arda Turan, it would be nice to complete that transfer, before announcing Mort is on his way.
We also would have liked to see a football man put in as Chairman of the club, and Derek Llambias is not that, although he is well respected by owner Mike Ashley.