Mort can leave Newcastle with head held high - but what next?

By Lee Ryder on May 22, 08 05:49 PM

It doesn't happen very often in football.

But sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due.

And in the case of Chris Mort it would be more than warranted.

The Toon chairman will not leave St James's Park straight away with some other unfinished business still to come.

But before he is replaced by Derek Llambias, who is pretty much an unknown quantity on the football scene having worked previously at swanky London gambling club Fifty, fans can reflect on a chairman that was prepared to listen to his audience.

From a media point of view Mort was as approachable as they come - and he used several long sessions with the Press throughout the season to get the message of he and tycoon owner Mike Ashley across to the fans.

A regular at a lot of dinners and award nights in the sporting world on Tyneside, Mort also found time for the fans via regular meetings with the fanzine and website editors in Toon.

And then there was the Bigg Market...

Yes, that rendidtion of the Blaydon Races after the Sunderland game.

You don't get many chairmen doing that.

But after sorting out the club's serious debt, appointing Kevin Keegan and preserving the club's Premier League status after a rotten season, Newcastle at least have a first foot on the ladder back to the promised land that is European football.

The management team of Dennis Wise, Tony Jimenez and Jeff Vetere may have to be given time to see if they can support Kevin Keegan and his boot room successfully.

And the question remains, whose fault will it be if it doesn't go right?

The coaching boys in KK and Co or the executive staff who are about to help them deliver the future stars of the club?

Time will only tell.

But in the coming weeks, a new chairman will be put in place for the new campaign.


Mike Ashburn said:

Chris Mort,will,I think,be a harder act to follow than FS was,basically because of the way that he(on the surface anyway)bought into what the fans wanted,and related to them on a level that was previously off limits as far as the boardroom was concerned.
To continue that type of PR,or indeed
to try and step it up,will need someone of a very special nature,and I hope
that Mr.Llambias,(or whoever)is up to the job;time alone will tell,but because of the way that this club has been run in the past,it should be
an integral part of his job specs.for the future.

Paul Patterson said:

As approachable as he was,- I still never thought that Mort was a long term Chairman, so this news was hardly a surprise.

I think the structure at Newcastle United is very questionable for one reason and one reason only- Dennis Wise. I just don’t get what his role is and what qualifies him to do that role?

I don’t think many fans are entirely convinced with the set-up, a set-up that I’ve wanted in place at the club for a long time, merely to bring Freddy Shepherd into check. We don’t have that problem around the place any more but we still have uncertainty. We don’t know if the board members (Or scouting team) have an agenda that is completely different to the managements.

The club are based in Newcastle Upon Tyne and that is where the clubs management and board members should be also, not in London where it is currently.

Under Freddy Shepherd we needed a football person to tell him where to go when he was trying to sign players behind managers backs- I would have thought Sir Bobby Robson and Greame Souness would have had the bottle to do that themselves.

I just hope that in the near future, we have Kevin Keegan finding a player and telling the team above, ‘go and get him, he’s the one I want’ and the team going out and giving 100% to the deal and not deliberately scuppering the deal because the player isn’t what they want to sign.

Or failing that, if the team find a player themselves,- they go to Kevin and say ‘Hey Kev, we’ve spotted this guy, he’s an absolute genius with a ball and he’d cost £3m now and he’ll be worth £20m in a couple of years, lets get him now’ and then Kevin goes and looks at him.

The future with Kevin is the only way I want to look,- not with Dennis Wise in Parachute gear ready to drop into the dugout at someone’s whim- he would never be accepted in charge anyway. But Kevin is the man I would like to have decide who should be the next man under trial to win us something. When Kevin goes, he should be advising who to take over, what I would hope will be his handiwork and sound foundations for a better future.

Who knows, under Kevin we might just win a bloody trophy yet?

Kevin must be the guy in charge at all times. I hope that, after his three year contract has elapsed, with the job still to do, he is given another one, a one that will see him in the job for the remainder of a second five year spell at the only club he could manage with he being the only manager for this club.


Snapper said:

Sorry to use your blog to ask for something, but as I can only read the Chron online I am unable to see the results of the recent NUFC poll, can you oblidge please. I agree 100% what you say about Mort.

brainwashed said:

The 10 years Freddie Shepherd was Chairman was too long (for any Plc Chairman and certainly for a football club) even though his Board achieved a lot. One year for Mort is far too short to achieve anything and see through the consequences which is what a proper Chairman should do. Mort I think was never comfortable in the role but seemed a personable bloke however his statements often misled from the early promised "football world shattering announcement" which we are still waiting for , but especially the 'debt'. Suggesting firstly that FS concealed it by outwitting the whole Ashley team of advisers and the Club auditors was too silly to even comment on yet why did they say it?. To suggest but for Ashley the debt was about to put the Club under when the interest on £80m at that time was a lot less than Rio Ferdinand's annual wage was equally ludicrous and misleading. As the 5th richest English Club with smaller proportionate debts than the four clubs richer than us illustrates the point. Even the wage to turnover ratio (68% or less as when published for the Plc Owen was already included but so was Shearer) compares reasonably with a Premiership average of 65% when trying to get players to the 'unattractive' (to everyone except us Geordies) North East England. Unfortunately the local media did not ask the pertinent questions but accepted the statements. Incidentally I would bet my shirt that that the debt still exists for NUFC but has been transferred to an Ashley investment company so it has not been 'paid off'.

Your article on the current postion of the Club was a pretty good assessment and rightly said there is nothing wrong with Ashley treating his investment to make money. His success will almost certainly mean we fans get what they want but he is a 'wild cannon' so it may be a bumpy ride.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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