Lee Charnley interview: Full transcript of Newcastle MD’s view on Rafa Benitez deal

Managing director Lee Charnley

Managing director Lee Charnley

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Lee Charnley has given an extensive interview after it was confirmed Rafa Benitez will be staying on as Newcastle United manager.

The Magpies’ managing director rarely speaks in public, and almost never to the local media, and instead spoke to the club’s official TV channel about the Spaniard’s return.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez during a press conference at St James's Park

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez during a press conference at St James's Park

This is what he had to say:

ON HOW DELIGHTED HE IS THAT BENITEZ IS STAYING

I’m absolutely delighted that Rafa has committed to being the manager of Newcastle United. It’s taken us a period of time, obviously, to get there. We’ve had a lot of talks and discussions but we’ve reached a point where we are both very, very happy, very pleased to move forward and I’m delighted to secure one of what I believe is the best managers in world. I think it’s something clearly or fans will delighted to hear, the staff, the players, but also the city.

WHAT MESSAGE DOES THIS SEND OUT?

I’m not necessarily concerned about what message it sends out to the footballing world but the message it sends to our supporters is that we’ve done everything we can to bring the individual here who we think gives us the best possible chance of suvccess.

ON WHAT HE AND MIKE ASHLEY DID TO PERSUADE BENITEZ TO STAY

I don’t think it’s a case of the conversations that have taken place over the last one or two weeks, I think it goes back to the conversations that were first had prior to him joining the club, the regular dialogue I’ve had with him. I enjoy a very good relationship with him and I believe the relationship will go from strength to strength. I believe it’s the efforts of all the staff in all areas of the business, giving their all to him and his staff members who came in and I think it’s against that backdrop the conversations we had at the end of the season when unfortunately we were relegated. I think he understands where this club wants to be and he appreciates our desire is to get out of the Championship as quickly as we possible can. We accept it’s not going to be easy but our desire is to get out of the division as quickly as we possibly can and then build this club.

ON WORKING WITH BENITEZ

He’s been everything I expected and if truth be told, more. When he was first identified as an individual we would like to try and bring in it was very clear from the outset that this was a manager of the absolute highest calibre, one of the best managers in the world, And everything that I’ve seen from him – from his backroom staff who have also been abolstely fantastic, what the other staff members who have worked with him (have said), the views of the players – it’s absolutely clear that we have here one of the best managers in the world.

HOW MUCH FINANCIAL BACKING WILL BENITEZ GET?

Where we are is that our job is to work together to ensure that we have a team and a squad that when the season kicks off at the beginning of August we have given ourselves the best possible chance of getting back into the Premier League at the first opportunity.

I think his track record as manager, what he’s achieved prior to coming to Newcastle United, the conversations I had before he came here and the conversations and relationship we have developed since he came here, I’m in no doubt this is an individual who can take us back to where we want to be.

ON THE ROLE OF THE FANS

I think the way the supporters have taken to Rafa has been absolutely fantastic. It’s clear that they’ve taken him to their hearts and obviously that played a factor in us wanting to keep him here. Certainly we don’t underestimate the role the supporters have played in trying to persuade Rafa that this was the best place for him. Rafa will have had a number of other options but I think a combination of the love he feels from the supporters, the relationship he has with people in the club, the support he knows he will get within the club, from within the city, I think together with the supporters behind us it gives us the best possible chance of acheiving what we want to achieve.

ON NEW TICKET PRICES

What we will be coming out with in the coming days is some pricing for season tickets and corporate hospitality packages for next season. What we’ve tried to do with those prices is reward our most loyal supporters and what we want is a full, loud and vibrant St James’s Park.