Newcastle Looking At New, Better Ways To Communicate


I have some experience at IBM of leading a large geographically distributed group, and having to communicate regularly,  as we were quickly growing our revenue, and you soon learn that if you don’t communicate well – it’s not long before people make up stuff in the vacuum created, and all kinds of rumors start coming out.

Good regular communications stops all that.

lee charnley close-up

Lee Charnley – has to start communicating more himself

And we have never been impressed with the communication coming out of Newcastle – but there may be some glimmer of hope from what Managing Director Lee Charnley said last week,  in his interview with the Chronicle.

This is what Lee said last week about how Newcastle 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 center 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.

It’s correct that Alan Pardew had to communicate about things he wasn’t responsible for at Newcastle and in his very first press conference back in December, 2010 – when he was on his own, he was asked about why Chris Hughton had been fired – repeatedly.

And  a few weeks later he had to explain why Newcastle sold Andy Carroll – and it was obvious he didn’t want to lose the local striker, and the Londoner had his first experience of have to give the party line – every player has their price at Newcastle.

And with the new coach having specific responsibilities only for coaching, Lee Charnley hints there might have to be another voice talking about the other things – like transfers, finances, facilities and the like.

That person should be Lee Charnley and that has to be part of his job description and it doesn’t matter one iota that he doesn’t like talking in public – that’s part of an executive’s job.

So hopefully when we do get our new coach in – we should hear more from Lee Charnley about what’s going on at the club – and we hope Lee makes it interesting and doesn’t just talk about what Newcastle’s manifesto is.

It would also be good to hear from Graham Carr more often, and Graham is acting more like a Director of Football these days, and his interviews tend to be interesting too.

The Northern Echo talked about Newcastle being like a communist regime earlier this week, the way the club  ignore what their fans think, and they continue with the same principles and do the same things – that hardly ever work.

That seems to be true of almost everything except the finances – which are in excellent shape – but we also need to spend money that’s available.

Under Mike Ashley there’s little argument that Newcastle are very much an autocratic organization.

Here’s a definition of autocratic:

  • Of or relating to a ruler who has absolute power.
  • Taking no account of other people’s wishes or opinions; domineering.

So you see what we mean.

What do you think?

Comments welcome

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9 comments so far

  • sing in the corner

    Jan 24, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    Comment #1

    You’re a talking head Lee. Bishop slime dripping off this ‘statement’. Do Ashley and henchmen really expect everyone to believe they have only just worked this out? (that they need to communicate better). They need to give the impression that they want to communicate better more like. Years of stony silence now its an issue. Season ticket renewers nust be reassured now then

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  • stuart no9

    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #2

    so this bloke charners , in this high profile job managing director dosnt know how to communicate with people ?? shocking really that should be his bread and butter . he just cant do the basics that people as high up as him cant do a basic job,.wow.

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  • scout

    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #3

    I dont want any communication, all I ask is that you sign quality players and pay them a decent wage.

    Alan Pardew tied himself in knots trying to cover for the regime, couldnt even remember what he had said in the past. You need a good memory to be a good liar imo.

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  • ToonMatt

    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #4

    This Charnley is a yes man and nothing else, He’s there to put money in to his masters pocket and will tell lies to do it, All this garbage is to make sure season tickets are renewed which they will be.

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  • Sav

    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #5

    Actions speak louder than words and they don’t tell lies. Charnley talks about the new coach ‘trusting’ the regime to replace a player they get an acceptable offer for. How often have we seen that? The replacement comes 6 months too late and another season reads ‘Game Over’ at Christmas. Trust has to be earned and we are still watching and waiting for it.

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  • lesh

    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #6

    If Charnley does take on the overall responsibility for communication, then he’s got his work cut out.

    First and foremost, he has to to gain credibility, to overcome the stigma, the distrust of anything associated with Mike Ashley. Fans mistrust any actions or utterances that come out of the Club.

    Charnley needs to establish himself as one who hears let alone listens – something that Ashley has clearly failed to do over the years he’s been around the Club.

    Similarly, fans must give the man some benefit of doubt and understand that he has constraints upon him – he cannot deliver everything that fans require of him.

    Dialogue between the Club and its customers, whether fans or the media is essential and needs to be seen as a genuine attempt to rebuild the bridges that have been torn down over recent years.

    I’m sure we all hope he and any PR advisors the Club may appoint make a genuine attempt at building and maintaining those bridges, repairing the major damage its suffered.

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  • lesh

    Jan 24, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #7

    stuart no9

    I’ve worked in a company where different MDs styles were different. One, made great efforts to address the whole of the 5000 or so workforce by delivering briefings in groups of 100 or so at a time and another who preferred to use others to do it. Guess which one brought the company through a period of major change!

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  • Ian Toon

    Jan 24, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #8

    Jail – For those of us who do read what Peter Fanning of the NUST has to say on Ashley . “One of his main strategies seems to be buying well-known brands to stick on the shelf as though it’s the quality brand. He seems to have seen Newcastle United thinking ‘I could buy that club, use the brand.’ etc. Many of your paraphrased posts add nothing and in fact probably achieve the opposite of what your intending.
    The Fanning alternative of:
    “He’s not bothered what happens with the club not competing in the cups as long as we stay in the Premier League and he’s got the worldwide coverage he needs. His heart is in what it brings to Sports Direct rather than what it brings the club.” You get the message!

    You could revert to your ” too good for ” line which did have some traction in MYHO. Introducing humour as opposed to a rant which calls for a fast forward – IMHO. You need to up your game and stop the loss of your market share of readers. Otherwise your in danger of being regarded as a dinosaur – like Catchy and RH .

    Returning to the subject of Ashley – The fact is that in excess of £100m interest-free loans are on the balance sheet which ensures he gets his money back but also is likely to deter unwelcome purchasers until the timing is right for him. Newcastle’s accounts since the acquisition show a club run in pretty much the same manner as Ashley’s empire of sports shops. Lilywhites (in Leicester Square) was bought as a distressed asset along with Dunlop, Slazenger, Karrimor etc. Having bought a pair of Nike running shoes for £ 70 around three years ago in in Lilywhitesin I noticed this past week that they are now selling (post acquisition ) for £ 45. Economies of scale cutting out the middleman.

    Ashley has run the toon in pretty much the same way. He has cut HO costs, reduced the wage bill, taken a business that was badly run, and made it profitable. Buying or investing in players and growing his own replacements through the academy/ development , or at least planning for the process. Abeid for Tiote!! I hear the wee small voice of Jail – and not always replacing them!

    But let’s not forget that things were not always better before Ashley. There were massively profligate times with Douggie Hall and Shepherd. However, first and foremost were football fans and proud ones – whether the wages to revenue ratio has remained at a sensible level is for the accountants.

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  • chuck

    Jan 24, 2015 at 4:07 PM

    Comment #9

    boring !

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