Complete Questions And Answers From Lee Charnley Interview


Lee Charnley has given an extensive interview today mainly on the search for a new head coach but a lot of different questions – fourteen in all – were put to him.

In an attempt to get the word out to Newcastle fans – here are the fourteen questions and Lee’s  responses.

lee charnley and mike ashley

Lee Charnley with Mike Ashley

1) Why is it taking so long to make a decision?

Some people won’t believe this but the approach for Alan from Crystal Palace came as a surprise to us. We didn’t expect it. People have asked us whether – because of the way the second part of last season went and the way we started this season – we had a contingency plan in the background. We didn’t. I didn’t have a number of candidates/options in the background, which some clubs do have when a Manager has a difficult period. There was no deal already in place for someone we could bring in. His leaving at this time was unexpected.

During the difficult periods our focus was on supporting Alan. I hope people are starting to realise now that when we feel we have the right person in that position, indeed any position, our focus is on supporting them in order that together we can ride through the rough periods that, inevitably, come.

Everything is not always going to be great or perfect but we think that as an organisation, one of our strengths is how we react and the support we give people when things aren’t going particularly well. The majority of which is private and behind the scenes which in my opinion is the way it should be.

People may well say that the position we now find ourselves in isn’t ideal and I accept that to a point, but as I have stated Alan’s departure came as a surprise. I must stress and repeat that we parted with Alan on very good terms.

I would re-iterate the quote I issued at the time of his departure in that we moved on significantly as a club during his four years, on and off the field, and Alan played a big part in that and I thank him.

2) Has there been interest in the job?

We’ve had about 80 applications of people interested in the role. That’s people within football.

Clearly a number of those can be easily discounted but what has been left is a good number of individuals who have different qualities, experience and strengths – some of those are willing and available to come now, others not until the summer.

The important thing to stress here is that there is a process I have been working through the same as I would if I were looking for any other senior member of staff. It’s not a case of someone getting the job because he’s a friend of a friend or he knows someone.

It is a proper structured process which I believe will in the end give us the best individual for the job.  When we put the statement out when Alan left we chose our words very carefully in terms of what we would be looking for as a replacement.

We are looking for a head coach – that will be his role – we’re moving away from the traditional manager, in terms of title and perception.

3) Can you explain the role of head coach at Newcastle?

Our overall strategy and structure won’t change – we’re looking for someone who will work within our parameters and will buy into and work with us in terms of what we do and how we operate.

The traditional English manager who would want full control is not what I’m looking for – they don’t fit within our structure or strategy.

This isn’t something new but it’s a refinement of the role Alan Pardew had. It’s a greater clarity for whoever gets the job, in terms of what they do, what their role is and what they can speak to the media about.

That way everyone – players, supporters, media – are clearer. He’s the head coach, not a traditional manager. He doesn’t have the final say on transfers and doesn’t get involved in every aspect of the business.

His job is to coach the players and implement and oversee a philosophy that goes through the first team, the reserves and down through the Academy to improve the players and to ensure we get the best out of them.

4) Will the head coach have some say on transfers?

The new head coach will have to set out to us what his playing style is, what his philosophy is and what he looks for in his team because that then impacts on what we look for in terms of recruitment. It all works together.

The head coach picks the team. We don’t interfere in that. If the relationship works in the right way and everyone is going in the same direction and believes in our strategy and policy then there is no point in us buying a player that the head coach doesn’t want because he doesn’t play him and we don’t get the best out of our investment.

When someone says: ‘Does he have any say on transfers?’ Yes. Does he have the final say? No he doesn’t. There’s a difference there.  We hope it’s a happy marriage.

We want someone who sees the bigger picture because my thinking will always be medium to long-term. When people talk about what we’re going to do in this transfer window, I am looking at the next transfer window and the window after and what impact it will have on that.

Are there better opportunities if we wait three or four months rather than committing now?  It’s trying to find that balance but also an individual in a head coach that trusts us. If we say ‘You aren’t going to get that now but you will in the summer’, it’s someone who is prepared to say ‘OK’ and trusts us to do that.

It’s also someone that for example, if we were to get an offer for a player that is at a value that we want to take, isn’t nervous about getting a replacement. There has to be a trust.  We want to make things better and improve things but sometimes our timelines might not meet.

His requirements might be short-term but our view on some occasions may well be we’d rather wait because we can get better options and better value. Between me and the head coach and Graham, it’s a relationship that will have to develop. He will have to trust and believe in what we do.

5) Is this another long term appointment?

We see this as a long-term decision.

We’ve got a number of options: clearly my preference is to try and find someone to bring in now. However, because it will be a long-term commitment, if I have to wait until the summer for what I believe is the right individual then I would rather wait than actually take someone now who I think isn’t the best fit.

I’m not going to take someone who is free and available now if we have a better option and options by waiting until the end of the season. I know that won’t be an entirely popular point of view but for me that is the most sensible thing to do. It is about the medium to long term and ensuring we get the ‘right one’.

6) How close are you to making a decision?

I hope that by the end of this week I will have a better indication of where we sit.  I’ll know the really, really credible individuals who would be of real interest to us and from there, whether a decision can be made now or whether that decision can wait until the summer.

There’s a wide range of options. There are some people who genuinely can’t move now, whether that be for personal reasons, contractual or a whole host of things – they can’t come now.  There are some that can, whether they are tied to other clubs but have a compensation element involved or are out-of-work.

What I have done so far is go through them, with Graham’s input, and really refine the candidates. I needed to make sure those individuals understand what the role is, understand what is expected of them here, understand the pressures that come with this role and understand what their philosophy is and the culture they would create and develop here.

7) Are you going to appoint a “yes” man to this position?

I’m confident at the end of this process the individual will be best suited for what we’re looking for and can work within the structure we have. I don’t think anything works and you’re never going to move forward if you have ‘yes’ people in key positions.

I know people label me as someone who says yes all the time, but believe me, if I said yes to everything suggested I wouldn’t last very long. It doesn’t work that way. They have to challenge me, I have to challenge Mike over things – that is how management works. That’s what I expect from all of my heads of department.

But do I want someone in who will continually try to change our strategy or put obstacles in our way? Clearly not. They will have to aligned with what we are doing.

8) What types of candidates are Newcastle looking at?

I know that the individual who comes in will be credible and best suited for this role. First and foremost, they have to be a good coach and with a track record of developing players and giving young players a chance is important.

For me, style of play is important. How they conduct themselves is also important as the head coach will play a key part in how the club is perceived through his conduct on and off the field.

9) What will happen in the January transfer window?

I saw the stuff Gary Lineker tweeted saying we’re hanging back from appointing a head coach so we don’t have to sign anyone which isn’t correct. Are we delaying to get through the January window? Absolutely not.

In all honesty, the January window is not one we ever envisaged being particularly active in. That’s partly because of the amount of business we did in the summer but also because January is a difficult market to operate in.

There are very few options whereby a club can achieve the quality required and also get value. There is often a reason as to why a player might be available in January.

We were forced to bring players in a couple of years ago in January because of where we were in the league and some of those transactions we brought forward from the following summer at significant cost.

As a general principle, January’s not an attractive window.  Another important thing to note and something often not mentioned is Premier League teams are only allowed to name 25 players – we’re currently at 25.

10) Will Newcastle sell any players?

I would never, ever rule out selling anyone because the worst thing I could do is over-promise and under-deliver. You will never, ever get me saying never but I would say we’re very difficult sellers.

We make it very difficult for people to get our players. We put them on long-term contracts. We are not easy sellers, despite that perception.  As we sit here today I can’t envisage any player we want to retain leaving.

11) Are you looking at new ways that Newcastle can communicate?

I think we do communicate but we need to find a better way to communicate.

Our view was that Alan was the one who was front and centre and will take all of the questions on all areas of the club. Alan was then left, sometimes, in a difficult position answering questions that he probably wasn’t best suited to answer.

This is an opportunity for us with a new head coach coming in – there’s more clarity about his role and what he does. His role is coaching and that’s what he can talk about.  If that’s the case it’s only right that I then support him in terms of the messaging going out.

If I’m saying ‘Only talk about team selection and the games’ there needs to be another voice. I think the information has been out there, through the fan’s forum and through the statements, but it’s how we get it out there that needs to improve.

12) Will you be taking a more prominent role personally?

I’m not someone who courts the media or has relationships with journalists giving them on or off-the-record information about players or any other elements of club business. I want to go about our or my business quietly and professionally. That’s where I want to be.

I do however accept we need to look at how we communicate and I think if we do that it will certainly help on lots of different levels.

Contrary to popular belief we don’t disregard people’s views – however our intention and focus and what we always aim to do is make decisions that we feel are in the best interests for the football club. They won’t always be popular and won’t always be liked but we make them for what we believe are the right reasons.

13) Has the role of Chief Scout Graham Carr changed?

On the football side we look at it as a triangle. That’s me, the head coach and Graham.

Graham’s role won’t change. In terms of this process he will be heavily involved and will support me with his knowledge, his feedback and his contacts to get some background information on the people we’re speaking to.

This will support other research and feedback we have sought and will seek on our preferred candidates. It’s a joined-up process we’re in. Clearly he will continue to be an important part of what we do in order to move forward on the field and his relationship with the head coach is something that needs to be strong.

14) Is Mike Ashley going to sell Newcastle and buy Rangers FC?

There is nothing to say on this other than to repeat what we said in the statement in September – I’d refer everyone to that.

It’s good that Lee has given that interview and he has done his best to communicate fully.

Comments welcome.

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78 comments so far

  • Average_Contents

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:43 PM

    Comment #1

    Jamestoon

    But he also reiterated that the king had done a good job on and off the field which pushed us on. Clearly bollox, so this means he thought the king had us playing a good style. Doesn’t say much for his judgement does it.

    Scout

    In the keepnet lol. Class.

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  • 70TWO

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:43 PM

    Comment #2

    “or whether that decision can wait until the summer”

    So they can serve notice?

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    Comment #3

    Northern Irish
    Nobody knows pal.
    What a surprise, P thought that carefully staged interview was good, not a hint of asking about having Guti, Ferrero or Callum Roberts taken out of the 25 to make room for a quality CB, even if he isn’t lying it has that air of arrogance that a politician has when deliberately skirting the truth.
    Edited,
    How come Roberts played against Leicester.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:47 PM

    Comment #4

    Where’s Armstrong in that 25 man squad

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  • p

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    Comment #5

    AC – is he saying Pardew did all of that?

    He said that was important criteria for the next coach and I think you read into that, that LC felt AP had those qualities.

    He also said they believed in sticking with someone through thick and thin, you could just as easily read into that, that they stuck by him despite him not always demonstrating those principles.

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  • Average_Contents

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    Comment #6

    Jfa

    They’ll be another along shortly stating how utterly wonderful the statement is and they knew this to be the truth all along. I’ll give you two guesses.

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  • Jeff from Benwell

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    Comment #7

    The night before the NUST meeting – ha ha ha

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  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    Comment #8

    How naive is Penfold?

    …for a club that pride themselves on doing due diligence they sure don’t do a good job in doing it on their current staff (Pardew included)

    …how can you not have a contingency plan after how last season ended?

    As much people probably have figured out Carver is staying on – the big question is will it be until summer or for the long run.

    My take is if Penfold doesn’t announce who the coach is within a forth night then Carver is staying on.

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  • 70TWO

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:52 PM

    Comment #9

    J4A – sorry, should be there but he is another U21 who does not have a FA squad number/place.

    AC – the significance was in the age, wage costs, contract length, sell-ability and technical ability of the overall squad.

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  • JamesToon

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:52 PM

    Comment #10

    I’m personally gonna judge him by the actions not the words atm. We’ll see what happens and whether what he says is true or boll0cks.

    TS

    Sounds to me like they buy the players for the managers style, not the other way round. This is where pardew failed as he didn’t have a style or philosophy.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    Comment #11

    Jesper

    Totally agree, you should always have a back up. What if, God forbid, the manager took I’ll longer term or as was the case moved to another club, surely you should at the very least have a list of managers you could begin to interview who fitted your criteria.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    Comment #12

    A_C,
    Hope it’s not Dulcerina !

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  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    Comment #13

    James

    Agree. Rather we had a rough style, say quick, passing football and we hired coaches who worked like this so when a new man comes in he can work with most of the players and won’t need to overhaul be whole squad.

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  • 70TWO

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    Comment #14

    P – if only they could say:
    “they stuck by him despite him not always demonstrating those principles.” and an arrogant so and so!

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:56 PM

    Comment #15

    Jeff you t1t, can you explain what’s so funny about that, or it isn’t and that’s why you’re laughing ?

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  • sparky55

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:56 PM

    Comment #16

    All we need now is a press conference where Cilla Black pops out from behind some curtains and says “Surprise surprise” that we’re not going to appoint anyone til summer and JC is in charge til then.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:58 PM

    Comment #17

    Who on earth do they think is going to trust them to do the right thing after seven years of doing the complete opposite ?

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #18

    Sparky55,
    It’s more likely to be Adrian Chiles !

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  • 70TWO

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #19

    jesper @8 – I wondered about a watching brief on potential managerial candidates but concluded that a statement about loyalty probably sounds better to any potential candidates.

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  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #20

    TS…you get the impression that they just sits on their arse…

    …I believe the word we ave used before is amateurish!

    Hopefully we will know very soon if they thought they could treat us as idiots!

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  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #21

    *ave = have

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  • jimmysmith

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Comment #22

    It is a good statement, and he’s right when he states the message is consistent and has been communicated. Trouble is even the most ardent lovers of the club and truest of believers will remain skeptical until they deliver a better side, and some others downright murderous. It’s been seven years and we are 11th and looking down right now, rather than up. That much we know is true.

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  • 70TWO

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Comment #23

    Just makes me wonder what LC has been doing since the summer?

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  • Average_Contents

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Comment #24

    FB

    No I don’t think he’s saying the king implemented a playing style throughout the club but he’s gone as far as to praise him in an over the top way saying he brought the club forward on and off the pitch. Twice. Thus implying he’d done a good job and were happy with his playing style or at least they thought he had. He clearly didn’t.

    Either his judgement is impaired or he genuinely believes it. Either way it’s not good lol.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Comment #25

    The same philosophy means a continuation of no ambition.

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  • sparky55

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Comment #26

    any joker will do…cos that’s what it fcukin’ is…a complete and utter joke

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  • p

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    Comment #27

    JFA, I think it is less predictable than you being negative about what LC had to say.

    Obviously, it is clear from your user name that you have made your mind up about MA and by implication LC and any manager he appoints.

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  • sparky55

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    Comment #28

    sorry jail…that was for you…too mad to think straight at the minute!

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  • lochinvar

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    Comment #29

    Translated as:
    Mclaren – wants to wait and see if Derby get promoted then take a decision.
    Garde – wants all his team with him so negotiations is on going
    De Boer – wants to honour his commitments to Ajax, make sure NUFC are still in a Premiership and then take over with a clean start half way through this season

    Others ?

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  • toonbrother

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    Comment #30

    14 points toonbrother would like to make

    1. i like this guy

    2. The club is in goods hands under him &Graham Carr

    3. Thank Goodness Pardew has been removed from that triangle. He was clueless

    4. I think its wise to put off hiring a new coach until the right man (McClaren or Laudrup) becomes available

    5. Also hiring someone now midseason could be dangerously disruptive at this stage of the season

    6. The point he made about clarity of the job description is key. Whoever comes in knows exactly what they are buying into

    7. Thank Goodness for folks like Lineker being prepared to call out club execs and demand accountability on behalf of fans

    8. Carver may not be a genius but provided Colocinni is removed from the picture, I am confident we will survive under his leadership

    9. Whats happening with Yanga Mbiwa? Is he coming or going

    10. I wish more questions were put to him regarding the future of Colocinni who is the single biggest millstone around the club;s neck

    11. If we can get rid of Colo and find ourselves a top striker in the transfer window we have a good chance of climbing up the table

    12. Carver’s brief is simple: Get rid of Colocinni and we’r e sorted

    13. We need supersub Cisse Back asap

    14. All round very encouraging stuff

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  • sparky55

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    Comment #31

    Lochinvar

    No others can’t there aren’t any and the one’s you’ve mentioned are just smoke screens…it was always going to be carver because of the rangers thing in the back ground. Nowt will be decided until the rangers thing is decided on the 27th

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:07 PM

    Comment #32

    They’re trying there best to find an agreement where the next bloke can’t just ferk off to a smaller club for more wages. Basically, the new bloke coming in has to be the lowest paid in the PL, work with Carver or Stone whether they want to or not, have a release clause of 5M despite low wages, accept you will never win a trophy and face the wrath of 50K fans despite it not realky being your team. 80 people applied for this job and that’s just in the footballing world. Did Freddie Starr apply from outside that world ?

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  • Bri

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Comment #33

    So whoever is appointed you can almost guarantee it will not be someone who plays good entertaining football. After all we wouldn’t like to win anything would we, shudder the thought.

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  • itsmehere

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #34

    The problem with the 25 man statement is we have named a number of players who are not of sufficient quality to be in a premiership squad. All we have done is meet the given criteria , did Pards not lay down his thoughts for this season and what we required, did he not tell them what direction he wanted the team to go ?. Surely he must have done this , so why are we in the position that we are in now . Or is it the fact that the management were actually happy with his vision as has been said it was a “surprise ” that he left.
    To me he wasn’t happy with the support he was being given or he wouldn’t have left !!!.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #35

    P,
    The guy has just told us that a full squad is preventing us from making signings despite us claiming that we tried to replace MYM but couldn’t because of time.

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  • Average_Contents

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:16 PM

    Comment #36

    Why refer to yourself in third person. It’s slightly strange tbh and not a little disconcerting.

    May I make some points?

    Point 1. You love colo really.

    Point 2. Because of point 1, not being invited to his legendary bbq’s hurt that little bit more.

    Point 3. Colo doesn’t know who you are, well he has an idea but doesn’t want to really interact with a bunny boiler type.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:17 PM

    Comment #37

    There’s another thing, despite the shite football, records and flirtation with disaster they never once thought about replacing Pardew, that’s the scariest bit of all.

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  • firebug666

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    Comment #38

    So my take on the transfer situation is this.

    The head coach tells Penfold, “I need a Centre half, Right winger and a striker” Penfold tells Carr to go out and scout said positions, Carr returns with a short list of candidates, Penfold spends five years doing due diligence on list of players then brings one in.

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  • Average_Contents

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    Comment #39

    JFA

    Spot on.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:20 PM

    Comment #40

    I can’t agree with anyone who doesn’t think this whole set up is a sham.

    0

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