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Opinion

Club spin sees blame pushed onto Lee Charnley instead of Mike Ashley for no Newcastle transfers

2 years ago
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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])

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