from: The Independent -  Tuesday, 30 September 2008.

Chris Mort, the former chairman of Newcastle United and one of the key deal clinchers in the business empire of their owner, Mike Ashley, was expected on Tyneside late last night in a development that suggests major movement on the sale of the club is under way.

Mort’s anticipated arrival came on the day when the spokesman for the Nigerian consortium interested in buying Newcastle said that a formal offer had been lodged last Friday, but a group of South African businessmen based in England are now considered leading contenders. They want to speak to the recently departed manager Kevin Keegan about returning to the role.

Within Ashley’s circle it is being said that there are five potential bidders and that two or three have the money deemed necessary. Ashley bought the club for £134m and says he has spent a further £110m to address the inherited debt. As well as the African suitors, it is understood that the bank Ashley has commissioned to sell Newcastle, Seymour Pierce, has received interest from credible sources in America and China.

Mort’s presence in the region will be viewed as significant by fans. It is believed he has not to have been back at St James’ Park since leaving at the end of last season. Mort is the only member of the Ashley regime to have impressed supporters. Crucially to Ashley, Mort knows the financial detail at St James’ as well as anyone.

Chris Nathaniel, the spokesman for the anonymous Nigerians, said: “A bid was put in on Friday evening. There’s been no timeline given by Newcastle, but we hope it will be some time soon.”

                               CHRIS  MORT  -  PONOVO  U  GLAVNOJ  ULOZI