Lee Charnley signals change in approach at Newcastle United

Lee Charnley says he’ll communicate more at Newcastle United – after belatedly explaining the club’s position on Rafa Benitez.
Justin Barnes, Lee Charnley and Mike Ashely.Justin Barnes, Lee Charnley and Mike Ashely.
Justin Barnes, Lee Charnley and Mike Ashely.

Charnley – who rarely speaks to journalists – has given an interview to the matchday programme for today’s season-opener against Arsenal at St James’s Park.

The club’s managing director says Benitez, now manager of Dalian Yifang, left St James’s Park this summer “for money”.

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“We understand and expected the disappointment that Rafa’s departure caused,” said Charnley. “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.”

United made no public comment up to Benitez’s departure.

“We want to communicate clearly and proactively, but it’s important that we do so at the right time,” said Charnley.

“Sometimes we must adopt a ‘no comment’ policy and I accept that can be – and has been – frustrating.”

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However, Charnley went on: “I accept we need to do more from a communication perspective moving forward. There’s 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.”