Lee Charnley is once again piggy in the middle.
His job to ferry messages between Rafa Benitez’ representatives and Mike Ashley’s people, as Newcastle fans wait to see whether we can relax this summer, knowing the club is in safe hands with a Rafa Benitez who is going to properly backed in the transfer market.
Aside from that, Lee Charnley appears to have all the power of what say a Sports Direct branch manager might have.
The widespread belief/understanding being that when it comes to decision making at the club, underneath Mike Ashley, it is the behind the scenes moves of shadowy figures such as Ashley confidantes Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop who pull the strings on the owners behalf.
Newcastle have no recognisable management team compared to other comparable sized clubs, with only Lee Charnley holding the keys/paper clips.
Whilst when it comes to having a proper board of directors to help steer the club, Mike Ashley doesn’t even bother to pretend, with…Lee Charnley the only named director at the minute.
Two years ago a list was published of the highest paid director at each Premier League club, with most clubs having a highly paid main man/woman, whose job it is to manage a top business team on behalf of the owner(s).
The Mail put together the following table based on the annual financial accounts (for 2013/14) published by all clubs, which included the remuneration level of their top-paid director, even though they don’t always name them.
(The exception was Crystal Palace, where the owner-directors didn’t draw pay.)
Highest paid Director at every Premier League club for 2013/14 season:
Moving forward two years and The excellent Swiss Ramble (a Swiss based English bloke who collates information and writes great pieces on the business of football) has published a table showing what the highest paid Director at each Premier League club was paid in 2016/17.
As you can see, no surprise to see the likes of Tottenham, Man Utd and Arsenal all paying millions to their main man, but to see Sunderland’s Martin Bain picking up £1,244,000 as they were relegated from the Premier League…
As for what Lee Charnley was paid in that season, we still don’t know, as Newcastle United have still not revealed their accounts for the 2016/17 season, even though it is now almost six weeks past the deadline for them to be filed at Companies House. Something which attracts a fine but which is…peanuts to Mike Ashley.
However, we can look back at past NUFC accounts and make assumptions.
Each set of accounts shows what all of the directors got paid in total, then it also gives a figure for what the highest paid one got.
2013/14 – Total £190,000 and Highest paid £107,000
2014/15 – Total £296,000 and Highest paid £150,000
2015/16 – Total £1,956,000 and Highest paid £1,674,000
So Lee Charnley was paid the £107,000 in 2013/14 and then £150,000 in 2014/15.
The change in 2015/16 was that we had the shambles of Steve McClaren supposedly being a director with power, even though when he was appointed, the club made clear he was only a ‘Head Coach’ with not even any say in transfers.
So anyway, along with Graham Carr, Lee Charnley, and Bobby Moncur, McClaren was listed as a director.
So when it came to the accounts, that is how the club chose to show what he was paid.
So out of that £1,956,000 paid to the four directors, £1,674,000 was paid to Steve McClaren, with £1m of that compensation after he was sacked.
So in actual fact, that left £282,000 to be shared by Lee Charnley, Graham Carr and Bobby Moncur, which was actually less than the £296,000 shared between directors the previous season. So safe to believe that Lee Charnley got no more in 2015/16 than he got in 2014/15.
The bottom line is that both things are ridiculous.
Sunderland’s top man getting over £1.2m per year when the club was failing on all fronts, whilst equally ridiculous that Newcastle fans are led to believe that Lee Charnley on over £1m less, is going to somehow supposedly drive NUFC forward single-handedly.
The figures just don’t add up.