Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley exposed as we look back at what they said on 11 August 2019
Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley were desperate to get a message out last August.
They wanted to launch an attack on Rafa Benitez.
Mike Ashley had already done that in his embarrassing piece in collusion with Martin Samuel in The Mail, as well as additional malicious stuff via other willing journalists loyal to the NUFC owner.
However, they also wanted to get the Premier League season off to the perfect start, a perfect start for them that is.
Ahead of the opening game of the season at home to Arsenal, the club supplied in advance the contents of a Lee Charnley column in the match programme, the idea of course being that this is what everybody would be reading in newspapers and online in the hours ahead of the first game.
That Lee Charnley column was really only about nine words, saying regarding Rafa’s departure: ‘let’s be clear, he moved to China for money.’
Of course, even though Mike Ashley would have been up for doing that, even he understood that they had to surround their key Rafa Benitez message with a load of other words.
Obviously not written by Lee Charnley himself, we then got this below, constructed by Keith Bishop or one of Ashley’s other PR minions.
The embarrassing attack on Rafa, wrapped up in a load of other claims and statements.
The general theme they tried to use to make it look as though it wasn’t just about Rafa, was communication. They even had the nerve though to justify the lack of communication to fans about the Rafa situation, as being at last partly out of consideration for Benitez himself! This despite them making the announcement the manager was definitely not staying, without any advance notice given to Rafa Benitez himself.
Lee Charnley (Keith Bishop) admitted that communication from the club to fans had clearly not been good enough and promised that this was now a new era when they most definitely would be keeping Newcastle supporters abreast of what is happening…”I accept we need to do more from a communication perspective moving forward. There is certainly a need to communicate more as a club and to let fans know where we are heading collectively. That goes beyond the responsibility of just the head coach or manager in isolation; something we have relied on far too heavily in the past. We want to give you more of an insight into what happens across the club and you will therefore be hearing more from me, as you are today…”
You can’t get clearer than that can you? A promise to do things properly in the future and an apology for what has gone wrong previously.
The trouble is, we have heard this so many times before, whether it is with regard to Newcastle United or Sports Direct. Mike Ashley is genuinely sorry and it won’t happen again.
Which brings us to the present day.
You will all have seen Ashley’s disgraceful conduct with his retail empire in recent days but I want to keep it just to NUFC in this instance.
Last week fan groups pleaded with Mike Ashley and his minions to delay full season ticket payments for the 2020/21 season that were due by direct debit. Nobody knowing when next season will start and so many financial worries due to the virus, any decent person would have agreed a delay. Not Mike Ashley, the money taken out of fans’ bank accounts.
The same with those paying in advance monthly for 2020/21 season tickets. NUST revealing that they had been told by Ashley’s people that there would be no payment delay/holiday for them. Mike Ashley to take the money as normal each month, despite no guarantee when next season will start.
A series of other Premier League clubs all committing to doing the decent thing and helping casual matchday workers by paying them even though matches are not being played. No such commitment from Ashley.
Then on Monday, the final insult, as the Chronicle revealed that almost all NUFC staff (apart from players and coaches) had been sent an email (in the name of Lee Charnley) saying they were now furloughed workers and would be relying on the government to help finance their wages through this crisis.
So in this great new era of communication announced by Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley at the start of the season, naturally the club have been key to explain to everybody, media and fans alike, why they have taken each of these decisions.
Instead, absolute silence when it comes to all of these important issues.
Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley are absolutely shameless.
Lee Charnley in the match programme for the Arsenal match on Sunday 11 August 2019:
“We go into today’s match following changes on and off the pitch over the summer months.
“I appreciate it has been at times, and certainly during the early part of the break, a period of uncertainty for supporters.
“We want to communicate clearly and proactively, but it is important that we do so at the right time.
“Sometimes we must adopt a ‘no comment’ policy and I accept that can be – and has been – frustrating. There are reasons behind that approach.
“Often, there are legalities at play or we may take the decision in order to respect the integrity of a process or the individuals involved. What we won’t do is fuel speculation by offering a running commentary.
“Instead, when we have something definitive to say, we will say it, as we did as soon as Rafa’s position became clear.
“We understand and expected the disappointment that Rafa’s departure caused. We strongly believe we went beyond what could reasonably be asked in order to keep him. But let’s be clear, he moved to China for money.
“The offer he received was too tempting. We understand that and there is nothing wrong with that. It was not something we could compete against.
“We wish him well for the future and thank him for all he achieved.
“Whilst I have stated above that I felt our approach during the summer was necessary, I accept we need to do more from a communication perspective moving forward.
“There is certainly a need to communicate more as a club and to let fans know where we are heading collectively.
“That goes beyond the responsibility of just the head coach or manager in isolation; something we have relied on far too heavily in the past.
“We want to give you more of an insight into what happens across the club and you will therefore be hearing more from me, as you are today, and from our staff across the football club and Foundation over the season.”
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