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MORT: The players is comin'


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TOON chairman Chris Mort today hailed the beginning of a bright future at St James’ Park.

 

In an exclusive interview with the Chronicle, the 41-year-old said his appointment marked the beginning of a new era for Newcastle United.

 

And Mr Mort promised there would be signings at St James’ Park in the next three weeks before the start of the season.

 

He was appointed chairman yesterday after Freddy Shepherd ended his 10-year reign at the top.

 

Mr Mort said today: “This is clearly a new start for the club, the beginning of a new era. I think people have been anticipating it.

 

“We have been through a period of transition. It has been helpful to keep Freddy Shepherd and the Halls involved up to now.

 

“They have been offering help in the transition period.

 

“Now we have a home friendly on Thursday night and a big build-up to the new season, so it felt like the right time to make this decision.”

 

Also speaking exclusively to the Chronicle, Freddy Shepherd said today: “The time was right for me to go. My big regret was that I didn’t give the fans a trophy.”

 

Mr Mort said Toon fans can expect to see further new signings at St James’ Park to join Mark Viduka, Joey Barton, David Rozehnal and Geremi who have already joined this summer.

 

Mr Mort said he and manager Sam Allardyce have several specific targets they hope to sign before the start of the new season.

 

He said: “We have said throughout that the squad needs to be strengthened, particularly in defence.

 

“We will not be throwing silly amounts of money around, but Sam and I are definitely in agreement that we need more signings before the start of the season.

 

“We are talking about a few specific targets. We want players with Premiership experience. We want to get the right people through the door.”

 

He added: “As for the stadium plans it is still early days and our main focus right now is on the playing side and getting that right.

 

“The stadium is something we will look at more closely in the future. It is one of the many assets we have to look at how we can best progress at the club.”

 

Mr Mort reiterated that last week’s police raids on St James’ Park had nothing to do with Newcastle United.

 

He said: “The press release we put out following the police investigation last week was cleared with the City of London Police. The club is not the subject of an investigation. The police see us more as a potential victim.”

 

The new Toon supremo said he was pleased with what he had seen around the club so far and that he was delighted with how well season ticket sales are going.

 

He added he was looking forward to tomorrow’s home friendly against Celtic and his first taste of the St James’ Park atmosphere.

 

He said: “Season ticket sales are going really well. Everything is looking good. Pre-season friendlies are very much an exercise, whether you win or lose. But we have home games coming up, exciting games to really look forward to.

 

“For tomorrow night’s match with Celtic we are offering free tickets for under-11s who are accompanied by an adult. Two under-11s can get in free with a paying adult.”

 

In a statement released by Newcastle United last night announcing his appointment as chairman, Mr Mort thanked Mr Shepherd for all he had done for the club over the last 15 years. He added: “I am delighted to become chairman of such a fabulous club. Since arriving at St James’ Park I have been hugely encouraged by the warm welcome I have received from so many supporters.

 

“The strategic review of the club is going well and, with the new season fast approaching, we feel the time is right to make this change.

 

“I would like to thank Freddy Shepherd for all he has done for the club over the last 15 years.”

 

Mr Mort is a top London lawyer with a history of working on high-profile sports and leisure deals.

 

He is co-head of the leisure division at law firm Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer.

 

He worked on the high-profile takeover of Formula One motor racing in November 2005 and has assisted Mike Ashley with his Sports Direct business in the past.

 

The 41-year-old grew up in Wales and then moved to North London. He has taken an indefinite leave of absence to run United.

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Reading the news this morning, Sams latest interview about not being able to get players largely due to no European football, the injury to Barton, Dyer wanting to leave, the new chairman learning about football and so on. Its all pretty depressing after a flying start in June.

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Reading the news this morning, Sams latest interview about not being able to get players largely due to no European football, the injury to Barton, Dyer wanting to leave, the new chairman learning about football and so on. Its all pretty depressing after a flying start in June.

 

 

Throw in a dozen more injuries and re-signing Le Sib and we're good to go for next season really. :baby::baby:

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NUFC is first a football club and second a business (some would put it the other way round) so to me it makes sense having Mort in to run the business and make sure that the funds are there for the manager and his team to buy who they want.

I don't think it has to be a football man as chairman, if you look around the other clubs chairman not many of them have played the game, it is however important that they are passionate about what they are doing.

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This is going to appear I'm in favour of big money signings again (which I'm not), but someone is going to have to tell Ashley, I say Ashley, that in order to protect his investment, he may have to pay over the odds for some defenders fairly soon. If we go into the season with the defence we have now things are going to be pretty ugly.

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Quality out of control

 

Jul 26 2007

 

by Luke Edwards, The Journal

 

 

SAM Allardyce has delivered a pessimistic assessment of Newcastle United’s recruitment prospects as he admitted he may get the quantity, but not the quality, of players he wants to strengthen his squad after another series of setbacks in the transfer market.

 

Allardyce revealed last night that the pool of possible targets he had identified when he arrived at St James’s Park back in May had shrunk at an alarming rate as he was forced to concede he is struggling to get players to sign for the club.

 

United have found that market forces are conspiring against them as they attempt to sign the three defenders necessary to improve a defence which is looking alarmingly threadbare with just over a fortnight to go until the start of the season.

 

And a depressed Allardyce has warned that, unless they are willing to invest huge amounts of money in his remaining targets, Newcastle face the terrible prospect of going into the Premiership season with a squad that does not have the quality necessary to achieve their objectives.

 

“We are in the situation that I’m confident I’ll get the number of players we need, but I’m not sure about the quality,” admitted Allardyce, who will also have to find a replacement for Kieron Dyer as the midfielder looks almost certain to leave the club because of “family reasons”.

 

“I’ve been pessimistic all my life, because I was a defender, I’m full of pessimism, because one slip and it’s your fault. That’s how I was brought up, but it’s like a yo-yo as a manager. One minute you’re up here, the next you’re rock bottom.

 

“It’s a very emotional period for a manager. Just when you think you’re getting somewhere and you’re really upbeat, a crushing blow hits you that you didn’t expect. It’s like what happened to Joey Barton on Saturday with his foot injury and Kieron Dyer being unhappy because of family problems.

 

“There is the possibility that you will secure one of the 10 or 15 players you have pursued in the last two weeks and you don’t manage to get a single one of them.

 

“The emotion is huge for a manager. You can only do what you can do. You get anxious about it and you worry about it, but I’m only a human being trying to do my best to improve the team.

 

“If it doesn’t work and it falls through for whatever reason and you can’t salvage it, if they go somewhere else, you have to put it to bed and try and get on with the next one.

 

“But there are no longer other options with the same quality available on the market unless you pay a lot more. They are at clubs who may not particularly want to sell and they have longer contracts. At the moment, it’s a seller’s market, not a buyer’s.”

 

Such a brutally honest assessment from United’s manager will undoubtedly concern supporters who believed Mike Ashley’s takeover would give the club the financial muscle to compete with the Premiership’s heavyweights. But, without the carrot of European football to offer top players, Newcastle are suffering in an inflated market buoyed by the riches of a new television deal.

 

Allardyce’s problems have been exacerbated by the fact Dyer is also on the verge of leaving the club for “family reasons”.

 

The England international, who wants to be closer to his two young children, is a target for West Ham and could move in the next few days, which means Allardyce will also have to find a replacement for the midfielder before the close of the transfer window.

 

“The level of player we have pitched for, the only thing they don’t come for, is because we cannot give them European football,” added Allardyce, who will not risk Michael Owen in tonight’s friendly against Celtic at St James’s Park because of a thigh strain.

 

“High quality players that are available will go to another club that is competing in the Champions League or the Uefa Cup.

 

“I was good at signing players at Bolton, but the market forces have changed. We were able to get players who weren’t on the schedule of other clubs and whose clubs wanted to discard them. Clubs had squads of 45 senior players and they couldn’t sustain them, we were able to take advantage of that at Bolton.

 

“That isn’t the case this summer. A £1m player five years ago is now £5m and that’s the level of inflation we’re living with. It’s going to be expensive to fill the void now and we have to move quickly if we are going to get the players that are left on our list.”

 

While Allardyce has been happy with the assurances he has received from new chairman Chris Mort, he also insisted the takeover bid and the replacement of Freddie Shepherd had hindered him.

 

He explained: “The changeover has been the biggest problem we’ve had, of course. It was a very quick turnaround considering what’s involved in a takeover, but there’s new people in and a moving around (of) the whole business and structure.

 

“Trying to get to where you want to get can be a little bit difficult sometimes, and I understand that because you’ve got to find everything out about the new business, but you can get frustrated from that point of view because it moves slower than you’d like.

 

“It’s Chris Mort I deal with now in the main, but he hasn’t had that much experience in football terms, so one would hope that now we’ll get even quicker.

 

“I can’t move any quicker than I am doing, but the problem is that there’s lots of players we’ve targeted and spoken to that have now been taken by other clubs, so the pot of high quality has reduced.”

 

 

clicky

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“That isn’t the case this summer. A £1m player five years ago is now £5m and that’s the level of inflation we’re living with. It’s going to be expensive to fill the void now and we have to move quickly if we are going to get the players that are left on our list.”

 

Which is exactly the point I was making about the Danish/Norwegian lad. If his 'inflated' price is £3m, then his quality can only be around the normal £1m = Andy O'Brien class.

 

I don't like the way XXXL Sam tells all the footballers he chases now that they are sub-standard to what he really wants! They are really going to feel wanted by that comment - NOT.

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I think he's genuinely concerned, but I also think he's doing a good job of managing the fans' expectation downwards. Something which is definitely required given the frenzy that some have managed to whip themselves into with the combination of billionaire owner/decent manager.

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“That isn’t the case this summer. A £1m player five years ago is now £5m and that’s the level of inflation we’re living with. It’s going to be expensive to fill the void now and we have to move quickly if we are going to get the players that are left on our list.”

 

Which is exactly the point I was making about the Danish/Norwegian lad. If his 'inflated' price is £3m, then his quality can only be around the normal £1m = Andy O'Brien class.

 

That point remains total bollocks though, no matter how many times you repeat it. :baby: There are players who are cheap because they're crap, but there are also players who are cheap because they play in unfashionable leagues etc.

 

For instance, Morten Gamst Pedersen signed for Blackburn for £1.5m because he came from Tromso and because he wasn't that well known. Not because he was shit.

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I think he's genuinely concerned, but I also think he's doing a good job of managing the fans' expectation downwards. Something which is definitely required given the frenzy that some have managed to whip themselves into with the combination of billionaire owner/decent manager.

 

Agreed. Some folk thought that he was just gonna splash £50 - £60 million on players a la Chewsee.

 

However, we've spent nowt so far this year and should be comfortable with forking out £20m I would have thought.

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“That isn’t the case this summer. A £1m player five years ago is now £5m and that’s the level of inflation we’re living with. It’s going to be expensive to fill the void now and we have to move quickly if we are going to get the players that are left on our list.”

 

Which is exactly the point I was making about the Danish/Norwegian lad. If his 'inflated' price is £3m, then his quality can only be around the normal £1m = Andy O'Brien class.

 

That point remains total bollocks though, no matter how many times you repeat it. :baby: There are players who are cheap because they're crap, but there are also players who are cheap because they play in unfashionable leagues etc.

 

For instance, Morten Gamst Pedersen signed for Blackburn for £1.5m because he came from Tromso and because he wasn't that well known. Not because he was shit.

 

If the market is inflated, and the Skandinavian lad is a good prospect - at an inflated price of £3m, then clubs will be queueing round the block to sign such a prospect, no????

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Quality out of control

 

Jul 26 2007

 

by Luke Edwards, The Journal

 

 

SAM Allardyce has delivered a pessimistic assessment of Newcastle United’s recruitment prospects as he admitted he may get the quantity, but not the quality, of players he wants to strengthen his squad after another series of setbacks in the transfer market.

 

Allardyce revealed last night that the pool of possible targets he had identified when he arrived at St James’s Park back in May had shrunk at an alarming rate as he was forced to concede he is struggling to get players to sign for the club.

 

United have found that market forces are conspiring against them as they attempt to sign the three defenders necessary to improve a defence which is looking alarmingly threadbare with just over a fortnight to go until the start of the season.

 

And a depressed Allardyce has warned that, unless they are willing to invest huge amounts of money in his remaining targets, Newcastle face the terrible prospect of going into the Premiership season with a squad that does not have the quality necessary to achieve their objectives.

 

“We are in the situation that I’m confident I’ll get the number of players we need, but I’m not sure about the quality,” admitted Allardyce, who will also have to find a replacement for Kieron Dyer as the midfielder looks almost certain to leave the club because of “family reasons”.

 

“I’ve been pessimistic all my life, because I was a defender, I’m full of pessimism, because one slip and it’s your fault. That’s how I was brought up, but it’s like a yo-yo as a manager. One minute you’re up here, the next you’re rock bottom.

 

“It’s a very emotional period for a manager. Just when you think you’re getting somewhere and you’re really upbeat, a crushing blow hits you that you didn’t expect. It’s like what happened to Joey Barton on Saturday with his foot injury and Kieron Dyer being unhappy because of family problems.

 

“There is the possibility that you will secure one of the 10 or 15 players you have pursued in the last two weeks and you don’t manage to get a single one of them.

 

“The emotion is huge for a manager. You can only do what you can do. You get anxious about it and you worry about it, but I’m only a human being trying to do my best to improve the team.

 

“If it doesn’t work and it falls through for whatever reason and you can’t salvage it, if they go somewhere else, you have to put it to bed and try and get on with the next one.

 

“But there are no longer other options with the same quality available on the market unless you pay a lot more. They are at clubs who may not particularly want to sell and they have longer contracts. At the moment, it’s a seller’s market, not a buyer’s.”

 

Such a brutally honest assessment from United’s manager will undoubtedly concern supporters who believed Mike Ashley’s takeover would give the club the financial muscle to compete with the Premiership’s heavyweights. But, without the carrot of European football to offer top players, Newcastle are suffering in an inflated market buoyed by the riches of a new television deal.

 

Allardyce’s problems have been exacerbated by the fact Dyer is also on the verge of leaving the club for “family reasons”.

 

The England international, who wants to be closer to his two young children, is a target for West Ham and could move in the next few days, which means Allardyce will also have to find a replacement for the midfielder before the close of the transfer window.

 

“The level of player we have pitched for, the only thing they don’t come for, is because we cannot give them European football,” added Allardyce, who will not risk Michael Owen in tonight’s friendly against Celtic at St James’s Park because of a thigh strain.

 

“High quality players that are available will go to another club that is competing in the Champions League or the Uefa Cup.

 

“I was good at signing players at Bolton, but the market forces have changed. We were able to get players who weren’t on the schedule of other clubs and whose clubs wanted to discard them. Clubs had squads of 45 senior players and they couldn’t sustain them, we were able to take advantage of that at Bolton.

 

“That isn’t the case this summer. A £1m player five years ago is now £5m and that’s the level of inflation we’re living with. It’s going to be expensive to fill the void now and we have to move quickly if we are going to get the players that are left on our list.”

 

While Allardyce has been happy with the assurances he has received from new chairman Chris Mort, he also insisted the takeover bid and the replacement of Freddie Shepherd had hindered him.

 

He explained: “The changeover has been the biggest problem we’ve had, of course. It was a very quick turnaround considering what’s involved in a takeover, but there’s new people in and a moving around (of) the whole business and structure.

 

“Trying to get to where you want to get can be a little bit difficult sometimes, and I understand that because you’ve got to find everything out about the new business, but you can get frustrated from that point of view because it moves slower than you’d like.

 

“It’s Chris Mort I deal with now in the main, but he hasn’t had that much experience in football terms, so one would hope that now we’ll get even quicker.

 

“I can’t move any quicker than I am doing, but the problem is that there’s lots of players we’ve targeted and spoken to that have now been taken by other clubs, so the pot of high quality has reduced.”

 

 

clicky

 

 

Getting his "excuses" in early?

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“That isn’t the case this summer. A £1m player five years ago is now £5m and that’s the level of inflation we’re living with. It’s going to be expensive to fill the void now and we have to move quickly if we are going to get the players that are left on our list.”

 

Which is exactly the point I was making about the Danish/Norwegian lad. If his 'inflated' price is £3m, then his quality can only be around the normal £1m = Andy O'Brien class.

 

That point remains total bollocks though, no matter how many times you repeat it. :baby: There are players who are cheap because they're crap, but there are also players who are cheap because they play in unfashionable leagues etc.

 

For instance, Morten Gamst Pedersen signed for Blackburn for £1.5m because he came from Tromso and because he wasn't that well known. Not because he was shit.

 

If the market is inflated, and the Skandinavian lad is a good prospect - at an inflated price of £3m, then clubs will be queueing round the block to sign such a prospect, no????

 

No, not necessarily. Was there a queue to sign Gamst Pedersen? The notion that we have to be fending off other clubs and paying inflated prices to be signing anyone decent is ridiculous. Allardyce makes a general comment about transfer market inflation, most probably referring to players within this country and you're applying it to every player on the market. Which is a flawed argument.

 

Every summer managers pick up bargain players and you think "Never heard of him. He's probably shit", then you actually see them play and think fuck, he got a bit of a bargain there. Why can't we do that?

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I think he's genuinely concerned, but I also think he's doing a good job of managing the fans' expectation downwards. Something which is definitely required given the frenzy that some have managed to whip themselves into with the combination of billionaire owner/decent manager.

 

yup. he's succeeded with me. i'm as pessimistic going into this season as i was this time last year as things stand, despite the fact that we've now got a half decent manager instead of a muppet in charge.

 

if the transfer window closes and we haven't made significant improvements to the squad i think the best we can expect is another season languishing in mid table and flirting with relegation.

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“That isn’t the case this summer. A £1m player five years ago is now £5m and that’s the level of inflation we’re living with. It’s going to be expensive to fill the void now and we have to move quickly if we are going to get the players that are left on our list.”

 

Which is exactly the point I was making about the Danish/Norwegian lad. If his 'inflated' price is £3m, then his quality can only be around the normal £1m = Andy O'Brien class.

 

That point remains total bollocks though, no matter how many times you repeat it. :baby: There are players who are cheap because they're crap, but there are also players who are cheap because they play in unfashionable leagues etc.

 

For instance, Morten Gamst Pedersen signed for Blackburn for £1.5m because he came from Tromso and because he wasn't that well known. Not because he was shit.

 

If the market is inflated, and the Skandinavian lad is a good prospect - at an inflated price of £3m, then clubs will be queueing round the block to sign such a prospect, no????

 

No, not necessarily. Was there a queue to sign Gamst Pedersen? The notion that we have to be fending off other clubs and paying inflated prices to be signing anyone decent is ridiculous. Allardyce makes a general comment about transfer market inflation, most probably referring to players within this country and you're applying it to every player on the market. Which is a flawed argument.

 

Every summer managers pick up bargain players and you think "Never heard of him. He's probably shit", then you actually see them play and think fuck, he got a bit of a bargain there. Why can't we do that?

 

I never said he was shit. I did, however, possibly put him in the Andy O'Brien class which makes me skating on thin ice I suppose :baby:

 

I just think that with inflated prices, if this kid was good (or potentially good) he would be attracting bigger clubs than us. I agree that players are unearthed who raise an eyebrow, but they aren't in the majority. MGPedersen is not a world beater by any means, btw.

 

Once again, I must say that I'm not saying that a player must cost at least £5m to be any good (that's for others reading this, as I believe you know I'm not saying that) but this guy must be attracting other top teams if he costs a reasonable amount. Most teams these days (apart from NUFC) have scouting networks across the world and know about virtually every player going. They are bound to know about how good this lad is and whether he's worth £3m.

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I think Gemmill makes a good point actually. Look at us in recent years - Owen, Luque, Boumsong, Viana, Bramble, etc., etc. And then look at players like McCarthy, Pedersen et al who have been picked up for smaller fees. It's about time we started making the odd find as when we go for 'stars', they just tend to come for the money anyway. Once/if we get back in the top 6 under Allardyce, that might change and we'll become a more attractive prospect.

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I think I'm not making my point very well.

 

If someone bothered to trawl back about a year, they would find I made the very points Gemmill and Alex (and others) are making i.e. that we don't have to spend a fortune on a player for him to be good.

 

All I'm saying is that the Danish/Norwegian kid must be known all over europe and if he costs around £3m and is a good prospect then we wouldn't get him.

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I just think that with inflated prices, if this kid was good (or potentially good) he would be attracting bigger clubs than us.

 

The kid can still be good, but not good enough for the likes of Ferguson or Mourinho to be sniffing around him, especially taking into consideration the fact that Mourinho can sign someone like Cannavaro if he wants a new centre half, and Ferguson could maybe look into getting Nesta (maybe not these specific players, but you get what I'm saying - they don't need to be looking at a lad in Denmark for £3m.

 

As for Pedersen not being a world beater, he's not, but he'd walk into our first 11 imo. Which is kind of my point - we don't need to be signing world beaters. Blackburn bought him for £1.5m, but they'd sell him on now for plenty more because they took a chance on someone and it's paid off. We should be trying to do the same, instead of spending £8m on someone and selling him on three years later for £3m.

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You'd wonder what sort of "quality" that Fatty is talking about. If he's thinking of Barzaghli, Heinze or Deco sort of level, that we can't attract due to lack of European football, then maybe taking the option of going for cheaper squad members is a good alternative.

 

Gemmil and Alex have both mentioned Blackburn players. Hughes has done a great job there. Nonda, Bentley, Ryan Nelson and McCarthy all picked up for cheap fees without the likes of Milan sniffing about.

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Gemmil and Alex have both mentioned Blackburn players. Hughes has done a great job there. Nonda, Bentley, Ryan Nelson and McCarthy all picked up for cheap fees without the likes of Milan sniffing about.

 

Pwecisely!

 

We're ganging up on you now, snakey. :baby:

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