Football: Cautious Mort Not Keen on Big Spend

The Journal (Newcastle, England), January 3, 2008 | Go to article overview

Football: Cautious Mort Not Keen on Big Spend


Byline: Paul Gilder

CHRIS Mort has warned Newcastle's supporters not to expect wholesale changes at St James's Park after hinting that the club will not spend heavily during January's transfer window.

Sam Allardyce is keen to strengthen his first-team squad this month, but funds appear certain to be limited following his chairman's comments on the subject.

Writing in his official programme column prior to last night's Premier League fixture against Manchester City, a cautious Mort revealed that he expects 'a couple' of players to join the club before the transfer deadline.

And, although he admitted that United's league position and certain performances had disappointed during the campaign's first half, he remains confident Allardyce has the resources required to ensure an upturn in fortune.

"One of the first tasks (following Mike Ashley's takeover at St James's Park last summer) was to strengthen the first-team squad," said Mort, who this week rejected suggestions that a replacement for Allardyce is being lined up following a troubled recent spell.

"With the signings of Joey Barton, Habib Beye, Claudio Cacapa, Jose Enrique, Abdoulaye Faye, Geremi, David Rozehnal, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka, I'm convinced we started the season with a much stronger squad of players than that with which we ended last season.

"The returns of Damien Duff, Shay Given and Michael Owen from longterm injuries, as a result of the hard work of the backroom staff and the players themselves, have also been very important to us.

"With these players added to some high-quality players already at the club, I think we all expected the team to be doing better on the pitch than it has been.

"While we have had some great results, such as the victories over Everton, Spurs and Bolton, and the match against Arsenal, we have had too many disappointing results, such as the Derby games and the Boxing Day Wigan match. …

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