Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rubber ring inflated with hot air?

So, what of Chris Mort's claim that prior to Mike Ashley's takeover and the ousting of Fat Fred, the club was on the brink of "fold[ing] like a pack of cards"?

Well, it certainly suggests that our financial predicament was a lot more precarious than we thought. As was rumoured, Mort has confessed that he and Ashley were "surprised at how bad the financial position was — they were in big trouble. If the old board had not refinanced the club by the end of the financial year on June 30, it would have folded like a pack of cards". What's more, all the sponsorship money from Northern Rock had been spent before it came in, as had cash from a deal with Adidas.

Mort's attempts to downplay the significance of his comments were rather half-hearted and disingenuous: "I’m not criticizing the previous regime. [Er, it rather looks that way, Chris...] Their heart was in the right place as they were doing what they could to bring success to the club but we are approaching things differently". Hmm, you mean they didn't have a fucking clue how to run a successful business, then? That comes as no surprise to us, even if it did to you two.

But if Mort is implying, as I think he probably is, that he and Ashley saved the club from a Leeds-esque financial meltdown, then I think there's an element of overstatement and self-promotion in there. With neither of them Newcastle fans born and bred, and therefore both likely to be looked on with an element of suspicion as outsiders, it would of course be very convenient if they could quickly establish themselves as saviours of the club, knights in shining armour who galloped to our rescue - and, as bad as things were, I doubt they were quite THAT bad.


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