It was only two days (Sunday 25 June) that I sent in something to The Mag that they published, I was writing (see below) about everybody’s favourite topic at the minute – Newcastle United and the transfer market – with particular reference to Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

My main point was that far too many fans are prepared to believe that it is his stooges who are to blame for any failings at the club, including transfers, rather than Mike Ashley himself.

As I related on Sunday, the likes of Graham Carr and especially Joe Kinnear have been relentlessly criticised as to blame for transfer failings, as has Lee Charnley, rather than the owner.

My belief is that those supposedly making decisions at the club on behalf of Mike Ashley, are in the main paid to simply take the blame.

As was pointed out when Newcastle were in the Premier League only 16 months ago, it is difficult to believe that Lee Charnley has all the authority/power that a normal Chief Executive/Managing Director has at a PL club, when he is paid relative peanuts compared to the those in the same roles at other clubs (see HERE).

Earlier this month an exclusive appeared to vindicate that point of view, that anonymous people close to Ashley make decisions above the head of Charnley, with the revelation that long-time member of Ashley’s close circle of trusted people, Justin Barnes, had been working at the club in recent months with Charnley reporting to him.

On Tuesday morning a local newspaper, only two days since my piece on Sunday, has came out and put the blame for no transfer being done, on Lee Charnley!

The Shields Gazette claim that ‘Mike Ashley is pushing Lee Charnley to get deals done…’, as though Charnley is sitting in his office counting paper clips rather than doing his proper job of getting players signed.

Either the newspaper are totally making this up, or they have been given this line to follow by somebody at Newcastle United.

Deals are not failing to get done because of poor old stooge Lee Charnley’s incompetence, at least that is my opinion…

Shields Gazette – 27 June 2017:

‘Mike Ashley is pushing Lee Charnley to get deals done at Newcastle United as manager Rafa Benitez prepares for the start of pre-season training.

And the billionaire, keen for the club to do some early business in the summer transfer window, is in regular contact with Charnley.’

From The Mag – 25 June 2017:

Interesting to see how Newcastle fans have reacted after suggestions that all might not be in total harmony between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez.

Reports from various newspapers have claimed that Rafa isn’t happy that the club haven’t as yet bought any of the transfer targets he’s asked them to go for.

This of course follows the January transfer window when Newcastle signed nobody, with Rafa Benitez making clear how unhappy he was when it ended with nobody signed. The United boss saying he had put forward a list of players he would like to be signed, including loan deals, and didn’t understand why none of them had been signed by NUFC.

Whilst many supporters are looking at Mike Ashley, it is amazing just how many people are still prepared to think that it is the stooges who he employs, that are the reason why players are/aren’t signed.

Recent years have seen Newcastle be one of the top clubs when it comes to paying money to agents, that is when both buying and selling players.

Super agents are increasingly used to get deals done, with it simply coming down to whether Newcastle United or whoever are prepared to pay what is being asked, along with the agent cut as well!

Despite this, I have seen numerous comments today and in the past week or so, blaming Lee Charnley and Graham Carr, amongst others, as the reason the club haven’t got anybody ‘over the line’ (apart from Atsu’s conversion from loan to permanent).

I find it astonishing that Newcastle fans still fall for the line that it is whoever is Mike Ashley’s current scapegoat(s), who is to blame.

I’m not saying that the club should be saying yes to every deal and asking price that comes along – BUT surely it is naive to think that there haven’t been players this summer that Rafa wanted and the only reason they haven’t been signed is Mike Ashley (or faceless people such as Justin Barnes on his behalf) not being prepared to meet the asking price.

The summer and winter transfer windows of the 2013/14 season saw Newcastle not buy a single first team squad player…yet plenty people were prepared to put all the blame on Joe Kinnear rather than Mike Ashley.

To myself and others, it was clear that Joe Kinnear was getting paid a relative fortune to stand there and take the stick for not making signings in place of Mike Ashley, with a significant number of people ready to believe it was purely Kinnear’s incompetence as to why NUFC didn’t buy anybody in a whole year’s worth of business!

Similarly, in summer 2012, Newcastle failed to build on the fifth place finish and only bought Vurnon Anita in that window. Once again failure to get deals done saw the finger pointed by many at Ashley’s minions, rather than the main man.

Yet with relegation threatening, five first team players were signed in rapid succession in only a month, with January 2013 seeing frenzied transfer activity.

Similarly, when relegation threatened in 2015/16, Newcastle spent over £30m on bringing in four players in January 2016.

If Newcastle United don’t do the necessary business this summer, it won’t be Lee Charnley or Graham Carr at fault and certainly not Rafa Benitez, or indeed Joe Kinnear.

Like most/all fans, I believe in Rafa Benitez’ ability to identify the right level of signings, without resorting to trying to pressure the club to bring in unrealistic new players.

If the club don’t make it happen, it will be the doing of Mike Ashley, not anybody else connected with Newcastle United.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • MadMag83

    I’ll take the stick for £100k a year.

    • Himanshu Dhingra

      Me too!

    • Geordiegiants

      Most people would, that’s why he hasn’t got a shortage of takers.

  • Himanshu Dhingra

    The funny thing is there has always been a fall guy in place. May be that is one of the requirements of the job.

  • TheFatController

    The most interesting thing would be the reaction of supporters if Rafa walked.

    Would they be loyal to him and stay away, or would 50k season ticket holders turn up for the next useless manager* we get?

    I suspect the majority would turn up, Ashely would be free of Rafa and his power and still have a full house. Bournemouth, Stoke, Burnley, et al would pull away from us and Leicester and Southampton would leave us behind.

    * we’d revert to ‘least resistance’ type managers as we’re not in danger of relegation currently (e.g. John carver appointment )

  • Alex

    If Ashley was genuinely frustrated with Charnley not getting deals done, he wouldn’t blame him, he’d fire him. Totally agree with the article – there’s only one person who has ever, and will ever, pull the strings at Newcastle.

    • Rich Lawson

      Penfold to go by end of week,later taking blame for any HRMC charges and Ashley touted as hero who frees up money for our subsequent signings ?

      • Alex

        Nope – like everyone employed by the club over the last decade (Keegan and Rafa excluded), they’re all doing exactly as they’re told.

  • Leazes Ender

    Four days to go before the signings start….. 1st July. New financial year.
    We have an owner who doesn’t give a monkeys and a Chairman who is a monkey….

    Did you really expect a Rafalution….. I think I was the only one who didn’t.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      does the Rafalution start on the 1st July ?

      • Leazes Ender

        I think its gonna be a counter-Rafalution

  • Shipcote Willy

    Spot on article. Penfold is one of the worst paid in the league and would never have been appointed at any other club. He is working to Ashley’s instructions and the latest report that Ashley is pushing Penfold to do deals is laughable but plenty fans will believe it. There might be a budget but individual deals are at the behest of Ashley via his man Barnes. What is Ashley’s end game is the real question. Is he trying to force Rafa out or is it a minimum spend because he is selling the club or is he just being his usual penny pinching self? Whatever is happening I totally agree it has nothing to do with Penfold, it’s always about Ashley

    • Leazes Ender

      Spot on, it seems the press think there has been a cataclysmic change at the club with the arrival of Rafa, it is business as usual for Ashley.

  • nevfur

    Would be interesting someday to read a book that tells the real truth of what has gone on up there and still does. Until then the fact is that no one really knows the complete truth and there will be many twists involved.
    These articles and subsequent replies are as much hot air as we get in the Ronnie Gill. Obviously there will be some truth in some of them but it will be a while till we find out what and then some will always be there trying to say “I told you so” because they are so much cleverer than the rest of us, despite the fact that they probably won’t be totally right either.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      It’s out already, “The Day the Promises Had to Stop” by Denis Cassidy

      • Leazes Ender

        That was about the previous crooks not the present one.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          It gives a decent insight into why we are where we are. You don’t give me the impression that’s a book that you’ve read LL?

          • Leazes Ender

            I know where we are as a club because I have lived through it analysing every decision made, the formation of the Premier League was indeed to benefit the top clubs and Cassidy believes United should be one but when you see the scale of the ‘theft’ appendix II and the mistakes made by that regime then the new regime found a whole new set of mistakes to make and steadfastly refused to learn anything.

            The Ashley tenure is one of ‘dumb silence’ it insults its fan base even more than Hall and Shepherd.

  • Kneebotherm8

    The most credible story doing the rounds is that no transfer business will be done till the new financial year( beginning July 1st). Nothing will happen till next week.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Which is also when the first tranche of TV money is released to clubs.

      Best point I’ve read in the Mag for year that, logical, unemotional, factua and true.

      Stick around fella, we need some sensible posters.

      • Leazes Ender

        Cheers…. oh wrong log in

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          That would have to be one hell of an alter-ego for you to adopt. Logical, Truthful and factual – you’d need a dictionary to find the meanings. Stick with MMM, that’s more ‘you’

    • Damon Horner

      agreed. All viewpoints are considered really but this one makes the most sense. It is very possible deals are done and just waiting for the new financial period to be official.

      • Kneebotherm8

        The picture will be a lot clearer by the end of next week. If there’s no signings by then,we’ll all be worried about what Ashleys up to,and rightly so.

  • Toon fan

    Not one quote in the Gazette’s article. People are like lapdogs to press talk. Me me me, I believe it! The press says so, it’s accurate. Get a life man.

  • Cuh736

    It is possible that Ashley I pressing Charnley for deals. If Ashley has realized Rafa could actually bring real success, meaning more money, why not?

  • Paul Patterson

    Can nobody wait four days without throwing a hissy fit?

  • Desree

    Hopefully Rafa quits so a small portion of fans can say I told you so.
    I am sure we will see signings soon. If not then Pardew is still unemployed.

  • S.G.M.

    Dean Wilkins complaining about others making things up! then gives us his opinion, in other words, making things up.
    Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.

    • Leazes Ender

      All accounts are subjective, what do you want…. a blank page?

      • Jimblag23

        Sometimes this website should just not post articles when they’re complete rubbish.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    there`s only one man to blame The Great Fat One, his Minion Penfold is just a cheap patsy looking after the shop

  • Paul Busby

    Its not one or the other to blame, its both. Whichever one of them is responsible and/or incompetent, it still directly connects to the other one being responsible and/or incompetent.

    Regardless, I think I’ll refrain from getting upset until the transfer window is actually open.