Newcastle Utd seeks comms chief

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.

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

years.



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

Keegan.



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.’



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