Lee Charnley finally speaks. Congratulations to those at the Chronicle for finally getting a story, having produced articles for weeks that left us none the wiser. We may still be none the wiser but at least a communication channel has been re-opened.

The story breaks down into what we have now been told, and perhaps more importantly, what we have not been told.

lee charnleyAs ever, anything that comes out of the club should be treated with a certain level of reservation. Charnley’s predecessor, Derek Llambias, at one point succumbed to issuing the sort of statements about the future of the club that some of us had lobbied for behind the scenes. Unfortunately, in an unguarded moment, as reported by the Daily Mirror, the good was undone by the famous “horrible” comments.

(To feature like Rex, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

Let’s have a look first at what Charnley has actually said (and left unsaid):

  1. Pardew’s alternative employment was a surprise to the club, even though it might not have been to supporters
  2. No contingency plan was in place in the event of Pardew leaving
  3. We don’t want a yes man, having had one up front for the last 4 years
  4. We moved the club on over the last 4 years
  5. We have had 80 applicants
  6. We want a Head Coach who does not have final say over transfers but may have some input if he is lucky
  7. The Head Coach picks the playing style
  8. The club is run by a holy trinity, Carr, the Head Coach and Ashley. (I stand in as Ashley’s puppet. I hope he is pulling my strings because if I am to be a glove puppet, have you seen the size of his hands?)
  9. We might make a quick decision but then again we might not. (I’m not entirely sure about how decisive I am. In a week I might know but then again, I might not)
  10. We won’t rule out selling, we have just about ruled out buying
  11. I hate talking to journalists
  12. The squad list is full….

OK, so it’s more than the 5 things we need to know, as identified by local journalists. There are some points that stand out in particular.

One of the first things is a sense of pragmatism about the Head Coach. He does not pick players but picks playing style. One of the things that Ashley will have learned is that you might buy a Xisco or loan a Gonzalez but there is no value if the Head Coach is not prepared to pick him. That could be £7.5m + wages saved already.

One of the things that comes across strongly is the style. This is the second statement that has come allegedly from Charnley.

The first was a close replica of a statement from Llambias, including the idea of a manager, sorry Head Coach, who would stand up to him, despite appointing a puppet. If it was crafted by the PR guru, the lovely Sheffield Wednesday supporter Wendy Taylor, then it contained the same typos.

We seem to have some sort of assurances, notably that there are no plans to sell in this transfer window, even if there are no plans to buy. These are the same sort of assurances that we were drip fed by Pardew; not for sale, not at any price, not in this transfer window – just before those players were sold.

One of the critical quotes could prove to be; “I can’t envisage any player we want to retain leaving.” It will be remembered that Cisse was reported as being touted in the last 2 windows, his value will be diminished in the summer.

The journalist could have pushed things; would they stand in the way of the club’s top scorer if he could get a fivefold increase in his wage by moving to China? Does the club have the same sort of contingency planning as it did for Pardew?

It will not be forgotten that the 2nd top scorer for the club and the only one other than Cisse to be in double figures during his career here, and available for the rest of the campaign, is Gouffran – having scored his first for over a year against Southampton. It would also be good to understand the criteria by which we are judged to have improved over the last 4 years.

As supporters will be acutely aware, almost all possibilities are still open for our league position this season. Glenn Roeder emerged from the ranks to qualify for Europe. Other teams with a better record than us at this stage have gone down.

lee charnleyWhat wasn’t apparently asked was about contingency planning, What if we don’t have a new manager until the end of the season? What if Carver decides he doesn’t want to stand in any longer, after all, he may have hinted at that possibility after the Southampton game? Who of the candidates is available short-term? What if we get relegated whilst Nero fiddles? What are the contingency plans if Carr retires?

We are left with no names, no vision, no contingency plans, no certainty over our future, no concrete plan of action, no direction and no further insight.

Congratulations to Mark Douglas for getting the interview, he might make a David Frost one day. Those of us who campaigned for the Chronicle’s club ban to be lifted can feel vindicated that the club has finally spoken. Now that they are on the case, let’s hear more.

Rex also runs his own website (toontoon.co.uk) which you can visit HERE

(You may also be interested in this spoof Lee Charnley club ‘conversation’ which sounds a bit too realistic after the Managing Director’s interview!)

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  • Hez

    Yeah, look we as fans can whinge all we want about how the club is run and lets face it the thing is run by clowns but this will continue because we let it, 50,000 every week, away end full and sold out in minutes every week. I’m not having a go at fans for going, its our team and our city but eventually people will realise the only way to make it obvious to the world that we are sick of it is stop going. Chanting, banners, stupid .com web sites make us as a fan base look silly to the rest of the football world.

  • pissed off mag

    Hez  you are so right mugpies sums us up

  • Dubaiexpat

    Opening statement from LC – “Some people won’t believe us…..” That’s something you may want to work on Lee. This isn’t a good start.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Congratulations to Mark Douglas for printing the most one sided ‘interview’ ever released. This was a club statement and not even one which anyone with more than one brain cell could actually believe. Communication only works if it is a two way street so hopefully the club/Charnley may be happy to answer some actual questions based on what he has said. Hahaha! what a stupid thought.

  • StephenBowers

    ‘PR Guru’ I didn’t know till I read this article that the club had one. How could I have missed that?

  • A lex

    Hez It’s the ‘doing nothing’ that makes us a laughing stock, not banners and dotcoms. Rangers fans are, rightly, being highlighted and praised for making their voices heard and taking action, and not bending over like most of ours are doing.

  • Brownale69

    Oh and Pard chases a 6m striker………..we cant compete with Palace now. This must be a nightmare it cant be real?

  • Hughie

    Thanks Mr Charnley for at least trying to re-establish a dialogue with the local rag, but your defensive and passionless statement outlines an over-cautious strategy that is perpetuating mediocrity and failure.   The first contradiction in his comments in terms of risk management involve Graham Carr who in my view has had mixed results as a scout but is apparently fundamental to our Head Coach appointment process it seems? Mr Carr managed lower league and non league clubs in the main usually lasting less than 2 years. He is local , clearly a Toon devotee, but is he really the most appropriate adviser for the MD in the recruitment of a PL coach? Says it all really about the curious way the club is run. 

    The second contradiction is that the cautious approach ignores the fact that in the PL world time is of the essence. The approach does of course make long term financial sense, but in reality is an astonishingly high risk strategy for a multi -million pound business which stands to lose a fortune if it is relinquishes the prized PL place. On  current abysmal form, with the historic susceptibility of Toon players to injury, poor coaching, apathy and general incompetence, there is every possibility of that. Have they learnt nothing from last season’s slide or the relegation season? His comments suggest that the club considers the 25 players in the squad are of acceptable standard– Ferreyra, Vuckic??– and that he thinks the current coaching team will keep us up. As usual they are fiddling while Rome burns. 

    So come on Mr Charnley, this is a football club not an accountancy firm, so give us something exciting to get our teeth into, do something positive on the player front , by shifting the players who haven’t made it and won’t, and take a risk by signing a centre half and a striker (signing players is always a risk) rather than serving up platitudes. 

    So that’s it for 2014-15. Do Season Ticket holders receive a rebate?

  • Hez

    Mate I live in Manchester and people down here laugh at the pardew.com etc because of ineffectiveness of it all. Fair play them doing it but what difference has any of it made? None

  • NotFatFreddy

    I have it on not very good authority that Dale Winton applied and is 7th on the list, so wonder who the other 73 are? I bet there’s some characters amongst them, like Sid from Ashington Central Social Club, who hearing that Ashington is now a City that sells most of the toon shirts, would like the coaching role to get the experience for eventually managing ‘Citeh!’.  As ‘Ashington City’ have more chance of winning the premiership (or any trophy) than Ashley’s Newcastle and they don’t even freakin exist!

  • toonterrier

    Probably all asylum seekers happy to work for Ashley on a zero hour contract. Perfect for the job.
    No experience necessary as Chunky Charnley and smiler Carr will keep you on the right track.

  • Opiner1

    Anybody who renews their season ticket after this is an idiot and deserves everything they get. The club  can try and dress it up however they want but it is clear that they have absolutely no long term plan and even in the short term they are willing to risk our place in the league for the sake of saving a few quid (eventhough they received 3 million for Pardew). The statement suggests that we will wait until summer to get a manager, meaning Carver will take control until then and there is a very real possibility he could take us down. On top of that, we aren’t going to sign anybody which means that our centre back options for the rest of the season are Colo, Williamson and Dummett. Colo is the only one of those that has proven his quality in this league, and he is way past his best. Would any other club in the league have Williamson or Dummett in their starting 11? On top of that, despite what they say about not selling any player they want to retain, we know from past experience that they only want to retain a player until they receive a suitable offer. It is a meaningless statement. 20 million bid for Sissoko and they’ll no longer want to retain him, 10 million for Perez and they’ll no longer want to retain him etc. etc.

  • A lex

    So true. I bet Wendy detests those of us with brains and “reading between the lines” skills. Sadly, Ashley relies on those without such attributes to continually pay for his helicopters and Barbados trips.