Newcastle United, whose former manager Ruud Gullit left in a blaze
of publicity last month, is seeking its first communications director in
a bid to make its PR more professional.
Press relations were, until last week, handled by the club’s sole press
officer, Graham Courtney, who has been made redundant after three
The club has asked John Dougray, a freelance sports writer and former
head of the Independent Television Commission in Newcastle, to step into
the breach until a communications director is found.
The club has not had a communications director since Alastair Wilson
left after three months earlier this year. The new recruit will report
to chief executive Freddie Fletcher and may hire further staff.
The post’s brief is expected to include media relations as well as
liaison with the club’s financial PR agency, Brunswick, and its events
agency, Robson-Brown Company.
Courtney was one of the most high-profile press officers in the
North-East following his appointment by former Newcastle manager Kevin
Dougray said: ’Newcastle United has grown into a very big enterprise and
the PR side wasn’t keeping up with the growth of the company. It was
felt it needed a more appropriate PR structure.’
Meanwhile, Courtney, who is considering his career options, said: ’I’ve
no idea why I was made redundant.’ When Keegan left two years ago,
Courtney continued working for his successor Kenny Dalglish and, more
recently, Ruud Gullit. Courtney added: ’Ruud was not the easiest of
people to work with.’