Lee Charnley has been the Managing Director at Newcastle since April of 2014 – and since that time Newcastle have fared very badly, to say the least.
At the end of the 2013-2014 season we lost seven of our last eight games and at the beginning of the next season we got just 4 points from the first seven games.
Rafa Benitez with Lee Charnley and Joe Joyce at Benton
After Alan Pardew left us at the beginning of 2015 John Carver was appointed by Lee and proceeded to lose eight PL games in a row for the first time in our history and we only just avoided relegation on the last day of the 2014-2105 season.
Then Lee appointed Steve McClaren last summer as the new head coach and we got just 3 points from the first 8 games – even worse than the start the season before.
Newcastle finally ended up being relegated when Lee dithered too many times and Rafa Benitez was finally brought in too late to save us.
So that in a nutshell is Lee’s performance as the Managing Director at Newcastle – hopeless is not the word.
Yet since early March when Rafa Benitez was appointed after Lee had successfully negotiated the deal with Rafa’s reps and layers – Rafa Benitez has regularly mentioned how he likes working with Lee and likes the daily conversations they have.
Even today in Rafa’s latest interview in the Chronicle he again mentions working with Lee:
“Everybody wants to do well. My daily relationship with Lee Charnley is good and that is the main thing.”
So Lee has gone from one of the main architects of relegation – along with Chief Scout Graham Carr – to what could become a vital cog in Rafa’s wheel of success at Newcastle.
We would not be at all surprised if Rafa asked Mike Ashley that he wanted to keep working with Lee as his main interface into the club, if he took the job.
When somebody as good as Rafa and potentially one of the best managers Newcastle will ever have, keeps mentioning how he likes working with Lee – you take the hint – quickly.
Lee is going nowhere.
Lee Charnley was simply promoted to a position that was beyond him – he was out of his depth – and he suffered for that – and so did Newcastle.
Rafa is now in charge of everything related to football at Newcastle.
The word on Lee was that he was a hard worker and got things done at the club – a very good administrator as former Chairman Freddy Shepherd pointed out in a recent interview.
So we expect that Lee will be kept on as the right hand man of Benitez – from a club point of view – and he will be the man who gets things done at the club when Rafa asks for the changes – and gets them done quickly too – something that Lee is said to be good at.
He’s much better at that than making high level crucial decisions.
Lee also seems to enjoy the confidence of owner Mike Ashley so it’s an odd thing but Lee Charnley has gone from being in the cross hairs of Newcastle fans – to being very important to Rafa Benitez.
Lee’s an enigma alright – here’s just one definition:
“A puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation – a person of puzzling or contradictory character.”
As the person that Rafa Benitez interfaces with every day – Lee remains (very) important to Newcastle United – as very strange as that now seems.
If that’s what it takes to make Newcastle great again – so be it!