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Must Read – Lee Charnley tells Newcastle United fans you can’t have it all

4 months ago
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As part of the relentless PR offensive from Mike Ashley, new quotes on behalf of the owner have been released in the name of his fall guy Lee Charnley, addressing the much talked about state of the art training complex, that was announced by Mike Ashley to much fanfare, six years ago.

The quotes have appeared in The Chronicle and are described as being an ‘interview’, although no context is given to what took place and Newcastle fans are overwhelmingly assuming that rather than a face to face article with any journalist, it is simply quotes supplied by Mike Ashley’s PR people with Lee Charnley’s name stuck on it.

At best, if somebody has actually spoken to Lee Charnley, then Mike Ashley’s people look to have definitely dictated how it goes out, with no questioning of what has been said/claimed.

In reality it is a rehash of what Lee Charnley said (see below) back in April 2019 when the latest accounts were released.

Justifying a desperate lack of investment in the infrastructure (St James Park, Academy and especially the training complex) over 12 years of Mike Ashley ownership, Lee Charnley stated:

‘In my experience, has a player turned round and said I’m not signing for Newcastle United because of your training facilities? No. Did it stop us getting promoted out of the Championship, did it stop us finishing tenth, did it stop us having a good season this season? No.’

This time it is…

Lee Charnley quotes in The Chronicle – 14 August 2019:

“It is about priorities.

“There is a pot of money. Where is the greater need? At this time it’s on field.

“It’s not unreasonable, the pot of money can only go so far.

“You go and spend it on the training ground it means there is less to spend on the team.

“Spend it on the Academy, there is less to spend on the team.

“Spend too much on wages, there’s less to spend on the team.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t spend in all those areas, because we do, but our view has been at this point in time the priority is what goes on to the field.”

“It doesn’t mean we don’t want to update the training ground.

“Does it mean at some point in time we would like to update the training ground? Absolutely, yes.

“It is about priorities. It doesn’t stop us doing what we need to do on a daily basis.

“Our pitches are very good, our gym is perfectly adequate and functional.

“Do we have a swimming pool or water facilities? No.

“Would we like to have it at some stage? Absolutely.”

Back in 2013 when the new training complex development was announced, we were told by Newcastle United (Mike Ashley) :

This is a hugely exciting development for Newcastle United. We have one of football’s great stadiums and we are delighted to now be announcing plans for a training complex which will rival any in Europe.

“Top players and top teams need top training and medical facilities. Our current training ground has served the Club very well but the new complex will give us all of the ingredients that we need to continue maintaining and enhancing the performance of elite footballers.

“It will also be an added attraction when we are looking to recruit players.”

In follow up coverage, the club said that this new state of the art training complex was essential, if Newcastle United were going to be able to compete.

In April when the accounts were announced we got this from the organ grinder’s monkey….

Lee Charnley 18 April 2019 – as reported by Martin Hardy (one of a number of selected journalists invited to speak to Lee Charnley):

“We are looking at a training ground building project that is potentially going to be between £15 m and £20million.

“If you were to ask me now, do I think we are best served spending that on a new training facility or spending it on improving the team, now, today in the short-term, I think that money is best spent on the team.

“We have revisited the plans that came out and we now have a different design. We have also got a different build structure.

“In my experience, has a player turned round and said I’m not signing for Newcastle United because of your training facilities? No. Did it stop us getting promoted out of the Championship, did it stop us finishing tenth, did it stop us having a good season this season? No.

“Is it something at some point in the future, if we could and it was the right time to spend the money, we would look at improving? Yes.”

It is absolutely shameless, the complete opposite of what Mike Ashley and his minions were claiming back in 2013.

Honestly, why do other clubs bother spending fortunes on constantly updating what they have to offer in looking after players and get the best out of them? Look at the 2013 announcement below and what the new development was going to include. Were the club lying then or are they lying now, as to whether these new fangled ideas were/are needed: ‘introduce the latest aquatic technology to the site, with a 20-metre swimming pool, a hydrotherapy and fitness pool and specialist equipment to aid injury prevention and recovery.’

Who would want this instead of climbing into wheelie bins and children’s paddling pools?

paddling pool newcastle players

Previously the club have claimed that the building of the new training ground was being delayed because they didn’t want building work disrupting relegation fight(s).

Now Lee Charnley questions whether we want new signings or this new training complex…

No reason why you can’t have both.

Money spent on things such as training grounds doesn’t impact on financial fair play, so it wouldn’t impact on potential allowed training spend.

Most sensible/ambitious club owners would happily finance such a development themselves, a bit like building an extension on your house, when you come to sell the club/house, the investment/improvement you have made would then at that point lead to you getting a higher price. Very likely more than the extra money you have spent on a training ground or extension.

More importantly, by doing things such as this gives your club/manager/team a big leg up in terms of being able to compete, which then increases the value of a club further.

It is quite ludicrous Lee Charnley using Rafa and his team’s (relative) achievements against the odds to justify NOT investing in the training complex.

Charnley saying: ‘In my experience, has a player turned round and said I’m not signing for Newcastle United because of your training facilities? No. Did it stop us getting promoted out of the Championship, did it stop us finishing tenth, did it stop us having a good season this season? No.’

Quite incredible really.

It is gross stupidity to try to claim the training facilities do/don’t decide whether a player has or hasn’t signed, how does he know what has affected any signing or non-signing’s decision (plus it also contradicts of course what the club were claiming back in 2013)? Those images of players getting into wheelie bins and paddling pools have been widely circulated, very naive if you think no potential signing has ever seen them and thought ‘what the fu.. is that’ over these past six years and more.

bins training ground newcastle players

Lee Charnley also says the current training facilities haven’t stopped promotion or staying up last season or having a ‘good(???) season’ this time. By the same token, these facilities didn’t prevent relegation in 2009 and 2016 plus numerous other season-long relegation battles under Mike Ashley.

You need to give every bit of help to the manager and team to help them succeed, as well as doing everything possible to make the club attractive to new signings.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley want us to believe otherwise.

Shameless.

Newcastle United official announcement – 30 November 2013:

‘United Announce New Training Ground Plans

Newcastle United have announced plans for a stunning new state-of-the-art training complex

Newcastle United Football Club have announced plans for a stunning new state-of-the-art training complex as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the Club’s existing 35-acre training ground site.

The current intention is that work will get underway in May 2015 and when complete in early 2016, the Magpies will occupy one of the finest training facilities of its kind in Europe.

While existing training pitches and a modern indoor training hall will be retained, the Club’s current Training Centre building will be demolished and replaced by a much larger, high-tech structure.

It will accommodate newly-designed changing, training, rehabilitation, medical, leisure and catering facilities and will also introduce the latest aquatic technology to the site, with a 20-metre swimming pool, a hydrotherapy and fitness pool and specialist equipment to aid injury prevention and recovery.

The new construction will also create a fitness centre double the size of the Club’s existing gymnasium, as well as administrative space, a presentation suite for match analysis and a new media suite.

Newcastle United director of football, Joe Kinnear, said: “This is a hugely exciting development for Newcastle United. We have one of football’s great stadiums and we are delighted to now be announcing plans for a training complex which will rival any in Europe.

“Top players and top teams need top training and medical facilities. Our current training ground has served the Club very well but the new complex will give us all of the ingredients that we need to continue maintaining and enhancing the performance of elite footballers.

“It will also be an added attraction when we are looking to recruit players.”

The new training complex has been designed to fit within the Club’s impressive environmental policy, building on the Magpies’ achievement of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral football club in 2012.

A formal planning application is to be submitted shortly before a tender process begins.’

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