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Lee Charnley – 11 questions to answer when/if interviewed on Total Sport

3 weeks ago
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I listened to the phone-ins on BBC Radio Newcastle’s Total Sport with Joe Willock and Steve Bruce. I thought the programme with Joe Willock was interesting but the one with Steve Bruce was unenlightening.

The person I’d really like to take part in a phone in is Mike Ashley but I accept there’s no chance of him coming on the programme…

So the next best thing would be Lee Charnley.

Taking part in a phone-in would fit in perfectly with what he said about communicating with the fans back in 2019 and the promises that he (and the club’s owner) would now correct their behaviour towards supporters.

“There’s certainly a need to communicate more as a club and to let the 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 too heavily in the past.”

If Lee Charnley did appear on a phone in these are some of the questions I’d like to ask him.

1) What was it about Steve Bruce’s CV and his qualities as a coach that made you think he was the right person to lead this football club?

2) Why do you think no other Premiership clubs wanted to employ him after he left Hull City in 2016?

3) Can you name any of our players who’ve become better footballers under Steve Bruce’s guidance?

4) You claimed that Rafa Benitez’ departure was all about money (Rafa choosing to go to China for higher wages) but is it not true that who had control over transfers, the state of the training ground and the ambition of the club, were also issues?

5) One of the issues with Rafa Benitez was that he didn’t want to sanction paying £40 million for Joelinton as he didn’t think he was worth that much money. Was he right?

6) When you see how Everton are doing under Rafa Benitez’ management do you feel a twinge of envy or regret?

7) Steve Bruce often says we can’t compete with the top six clubs but which club do you think our club can compete with, given the increasing divide between those clubs in the top half of the table such as Leicester and Everton and those clubs in the bottom half of the division such as ourselves?

8) One of the ways in which we’ve fallen behind other clubs in the Premiership is in bringing young players through from the academy to the first team. Why do you think there’s been such a poor record whilst you’ve been our managing director and why do players like Lewis Gibson and Bobby Clark see a brighter future elsewhere?

9) Another way in which we have fallen behind other Premiership teams is the state of our ground. The majority of Premiership teams have either increased their capacity or have produced proposals for increasing the capacity at their grounds, as well as updating the facilities. Other clubs are also looking at expanding their fanbase. Why are Newcastle United the one club who appear to be moving in the opposite direction?

10) As someone who has been at Newcastle United for many years and is presumably aware of the fans passion for this club, how could you say that there wouldn’t be any reason for increasing the capacity of the ground in the future? We have seen that clubs who have had far smaller attendances than Newcastle in the past, such as West Ham and Man City, are now able to fill bigger stadiums than SJP as they’ve become more successful. Do you honestly think we wouldn’t be able to match or surpass their attendance figures if we showed a modicum of ambition? Particularly when there was an average home attendance of over 51,000 across 23 St James Park games in the 2016/17 Championship season.

11) Given that only 3% of Newcastle fans approved of Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club in a recent survey of over 14,000 supporters, do you really think it is feasible or even sustainable for him to hang on to the club given the disconnect between the club and the majority of it’s fans and if the Saudi takeover fails ,do you think he should lower the asking price in order to make a sale before the roof falls in?

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