Lee Charnley, Rafa Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles issue shock statement to Newcastle United supporters
Newcastle United have released a joint statement to supporters from managing director Lee Charnley, manager Rafa Benitez and captain Jamaal Lascelles.
The message defends the club's transfer policy, despite having the lowest net spend in the Premier League and making around £20million from this summer's transfer window.
A series of protests are planned ahead of tomorrow's Premier League opener at home to Tottenham, with supporters keen to vent their anger towards owner Mike Ashley.
The statement also goes against Benitez's comments following Newcastle's 4-0 defeat to Braga in pre-season, when the manager said fans "need to be concerned" ahead of the new season.
Here's what the full statement said:
As the transfer window closes and attentions turn to the start of the season, we wanted to make this joint statement, on behalf of everyone at the club.
Doing good business in a transfer window is about ending the window clearly stronger than when you started and we believe we have done this. The view we all share is that we have a better squad now than the one that finished tenth last season and all involved have worked tirelessly to make this happen.
Collectively, we must extend praise to Steve Nickson and his recruitment team. Their operations are year-round, but they have worked day and night in recent months to support efforts to enhance the squad.
We are all excited about the seven players who have joined us this summer. Their combined experience in the Premier League and at an international level – with three of them appearing at this summer’s World Cup for their respective countries – cannot fail to strengthen us.
Martin Dúbravka and Kenedy have already proven themselves to be fantastic players here and we are confident that Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schär, Yoshinori Mutō, Salomón Rondón and Federico Fernandez will be excellent additions to the dressing room.
Given our finishing position last season, we already had a team of players who were more than capable of performing well in the Premier League. They have shown heart, guts and determination and the inference that they are ‘Championship’ players and not good enough is unfair and untrue. The players all believe in themselves and in the quality of the squad, and we all believe in the players.
Now, it’s about all of us pulling in the same direction, for the good of the club. This came through strongly in a recent positive call between our owner and senior members of the squad, who agreed that better dialogue going forward will benefit all parties and is in the best interests of the club.
With the transfer window now closed, the focus should be on unity and getting behind the efforts on the pitch.
We know our supporters are incredibly passionate and we know that passion will be channelled into supporting the players we have in black and white on Saturday, and every matchday thereafter home or away.
Lee Charnley, Managing Director
Rafa Benítez, Manager
Jamaal Lascelles, Captain