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Where is Lee Charnley?

10 months ago

Has anybody seen Lee Charnley?

No? I didn’t think so.

Leadership is a dirty word when it comes to Newcastle United and Lee Charnley is the very best illustration of that, when it comes to Mike Ashley’s ownership of the football club.

I find it remarkable how little stick the media, especially the local newpapers, give to Lee Charnley. Although, there again, you could say the same about how they cover Mike Ashley in general as well.

It is sixteen months ago when Lee Charnley said this, quotes from the Arsenal match programme (see below) on 11 August 2019:

“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.”

Needless to say, these promises have not been kept to, Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley refusing to communicate with the fans except on the very rarest of occasions.

In this current virus situation where it is people’s health we are talking about, as well as the serious repercussions on the Premier League and Newcastle United itself, we have heard nothing at all direct from Lee Charnley or Mike Ashley.

Can you think of any other company, including football clubs, where in a similar serious situation such as this virus outbreak, you wouldn’t have the owner and / or CEO / senior management putting themselves forward to explain what is happening, showing leadership by going on TV to answer questions and making themselves available to other media as well, taking responsibility for the situation?

It has been shameful the way that the club have handled themselves during this entire virus crisis going right back to March, the last Premier League club to finally agree to repay money to fans for 2019/20 tickets the virus had prevented them using, exactly the same this current season, Newcastle United the very last to commit to offering any kind of refund on matches season ticket holders couldn’t go to, even then making them wait longer than other clubs before getting any money back at all.

After Norwich were relegated, that left Newcastle United as the only Premier League club that had taken taxpayers money to  pay club staff and who continued to do so into this current 2020/21 season. Never once has Lee Charnley or Mike Ashley, or anybody else at the club, told fans or media what is the position with the furlough of club staff. It is claimed in some reports that Mike Ashley is still continuing to take taxpayers money via the furlough scheme to pay many of Newcastle United’s staff, quite incredible and shameful if this is indeed the case, as is the club’s refusal to clarify this or anything else.

As for the current ongoing serious virus outbreak at Newcastle United, Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley are nowhere to be seen, even in the club’s confirmation (see below) of the Aston Villa match postponement and Public Health England insisting the training ground stays closed until passed fit to be used again, the club didn’t even attribute any quotes to Lee Charnley or his boss.

Sixteen months Lee Charnley promised that things would change, he made a personal commitment that he would start and show leadership, that he would ensure there would be communication from those running the club, especially on important matters, it wouldn’t be simply all left to the ‘head coach or manager in isolation’ to answer for everything at Newcastle United.

Yet what have we had in recent days / weeks on this serious virus situation, Steve Bruce sent out alone during his normal pre and post-match press conferences to solely take responsibility / ownership of the clubs’ response and communication on the virus situation.

Only at Newcastle United.

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.

“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…”

‘Newcastle United Official Statement – 1 December 2020:’

‘Newcastle United’s Premier League fixture at Aston Villa on Friday, 4th December has been postponed following a significant increase in Covid-19 cases at the Magpies’ Training Centre.

Several Newcastle United players and staff members are now self-isolating at home after returning positive test results in recent days and the club’s Training Centre site has been temporarily closed in order to contain the spread of the virus.

With the Magpies’ first team currently unable to prepare for the match as a group, Newcastle United lodged a request with the Premier League to postpone the fixture at Villa Park, which has been approved by the Premier League Board.

The match, which was set to kick off at 8pm (GMT) on Friday evening, will now be rescheduled and a new date and time will be confirmed in due course. Newcastle United would like to thank Aston Villa Football Club for its understanding.

Newcastle United was one of the first clubs in the country to close its training ground prior to the first national lockdown in March and the club introduced comprehensive Covid-19 protocols in line with Premier League and government guidance to protect its players and staff ahead of Project Restart.

While the club has continued to ensure strict adherence to these protocols, and despite previously experiencing only a very small number of isolated Covid-19 cases, positive test results have risen sharply in recent days.

Accordingly, the club is now is working with Public Health England North East (PHE), local health authorities and the Premier League in line with Covid-19 protocols to identify the source of the outbreak and to ensure the risk of further transmission continues to be minimised.

All players and training ground staff will be re-tested this week and a meeting between the club, Premier League and PHE will take place to assess the test results.

The club will not be naming individuals who have contracted Covid-19 and asks that their privacy is respected.

For the latest coronavirus guidance, please visit’


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