Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Thursday July 5 2007
In a revealing set of interviews, new 'eyes and eyes of Ash` VP Chris Mort has set about revealing the intentions of the new ownership and giving a bit of background about themselves.
With Mort being refreshing honest and avoiding embarrassing clichés ("Street fighter from Benton etc") it gave a decent insight into what we can come to expect from the new regime:
Mort on Ashley
'I think 'reclusive' is the wrong word because that's not his character at all. But what Mike doesn't want to do is become a general celebrity. He's a very social kind of guy and, in the sports retailing world and business world in which he operates, he's always out and about and meeting people. He likes that he can go to a restaurant and not be recognised, though, and if he can continue like that, he will. If the supporters are asking whether he will be a supporter, the answer is 'yes'. Will he lead the team out on to the pitch though? Certainly not.'
Mort on Sam
'I think Sam is clearly one of the top Premiership managers. I like what he has to say on how he is planning to take the playing side forward. Sam is clearly going to lead the charge on the playing side and he's going to be assessing players over the next couple of weeks. I think that Sam and I have both concluded that perhaps we could be doing more behind the scenes on the footballing side. The club has made some fabulous investments in players. We need to do what we can to get those players on the pitch and performing to the best of their ability.'
Mort on Shepherd
"We`ve asked Freddie to stay around while we do the strategic review. He`s not well and the first priority for him, his family and for us is for him to get better. Moving forward, we will think it through as we do that (review). The plan in reality is that over time I will take on the senior role and Freddie will look to step away. But it will be useful to have his perspective because he has been in the driving seat for so long."
Mort on the investment
"If you look at Sports Direct - and that remains Mike's day job - he has bought brands like Slazenger and Dunlop and taken the company forward over a period of years. He has long-term goals. On the day he bought those companies, they clearly needed lots of work, and he appreciates that things turn don't around overnight.
Adidas was always a minority investment because he was a small percentage shareholder - this is very different. Because he has acquired the entire company, it's more akin to Sports Direct, it's something he can control.
Football fans throughout the world would love a quick fix. The reality is that we have to see how we can take the club forward in the medium and long term. We've made signings that Sam is pleased with, but there are other areas we must improve. There is no quick fix.'
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Date:Thursday July 5 2007
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