Lee Charnley – An Enigma At Newcastle

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.

benitez charnley joyce

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!

Comments welcome.

25 comments so far

  • Ibizatoon

    Jun 2, 2016 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #1

    As is usual when people are left to draw their own conclusions from a lack of information, it is possible that Charnley has had to face some criticism that was better placed elsewhere. Who knows though?

    Many have said that it’s probably a case of various people being promoted above their ability, which probably seems fair enough.

    I do hope that the lines of responsibility are a lot clearer going forward.

  • jayphoto

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #2

    Chances are that if Charnley had gone, Rafa wouldn’t have stayed! He seems to back the manager to the hilt which will be attractive to any manager. Going to hazard a guess that Charnley has no interest in the footballing side of things either which saw Carr have a lot of power and will probably see Rafa now get to do whatever he wants which will have been a factor in rafa staying on.
    By all accounts, Charnley is a top administrator, My bet his he has very little interest or knowledge on the footballing side and too far too much scope on the opinions of people like carr and moncur.
    We seem to have the right management in now, which means charnleys lack of football insight will be a positive as he’ll just leave rafa to get on with it. The problem previously was that he just let carr and mcclaren get on with it and they weren’t good enough.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #3

    What got me about the Mclaren appointment was thst we sat and patiently waited for him to fail at Derby without even considering if that he failed it was because he’s not that good. Had his conditions of employment relied on his getting Derby automatic promotion I’d have felt a lot better about him coming.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #4

    Jack Root,
    And that tirade aimed at me on the previous thread is why I’m so dead against people posting under multiple accounts.

  • jayphoto

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #5

    @jailforashley – I bet Derby would have been far happier with that too!
    Don’t think anyone has mentioned it but McClaren has had 2 compensation pay offs in 7 months. He got 2.5m from Derby and whatever he got from Newcastle…. nice work if you can get it!

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #6

    Well, Lee is still in my crosshairs for now, but I have engaged the safety and will hold fire until I see how things are next season.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #7

    I’ve read we are linked with caulker. I hope it’s not true. he seems to be getting worse with every passing year. another Steven Taylor but without the injuries. I’d much rather play lascelles or go for someone who has been improving year on year like Dunk or Keogh or an experienced foreign international.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #8

    The guy is a multi millionaire from being sacked. Funny old game.

  • jayphoto

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:12 PM

    Comment #9

    @thenextmikewilliamson – To be fair I think Lascelles is nailed on for next season but we have no idea what the story is with Mbemba. With Coloccini and Taylor leaving, and not replacing Willo and an extra 8 games in the championship its no surprise we’re looking at CB’s.
    I’d take Dunk from Brighton and Keogh from Derby myself but we’ll need at least 2 centre backs, 3 if mbemba goes and personally I think it’d be nice if they were good enough to compete with lascelles or Mbemba if he stays.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #10

    Charnley was promoted way out of his depth and shouldn’t have been. It’s actually quite unbelievable that we have a manager like Rafa to try and sort it all out.

  • Ibizatoon

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #11

    Jail…Yeah, there was that too, plus the fact I never really rated him much to start with 🙂

  • jayphoto

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #12

    @jail – the only job where you get rewarded for being terrible as such.
    I’d love to know how much he’s accumulated by being sacked because England, Twente, Wolfsburg, Forrest, Derby and Newcastle must have all added up to a pretty penny!

  • Jack Root

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #13

    The tirade as you term it was addressed to you because of your stupid and daft assumptions. Stop being so fixated and please don’t contact me again. Looking through the blog I see you’ve got form.

    I see you’ve got fixated views and opinions and we probably wouldn’t gel on a number of fronts. Try to engage with those who might appreciate your strange ways and in your face argumentative nature.

    Just get lost and stop trying to cause division where it doesn’t exist. Just wise up. This is an interesting exciting time for most of us.

  • manxpie

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #14

    I’d go for maguire from hull seen a few times last season and he bossed the games
    quick strong reads the game well and knows the lower leagues well but wasn’t getting much game time during the end of the season so might fancy a move

  • BandB

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #15

    Jail For Ashley

    Its not a little troop.
    EVERYBODY knows its not a little troop.
    It’s one person who has brought well-thumbed puppet show of pet hates back to town.
    He talks to himself most of the time.
    It’s not that posters don’t know.
    It’s that they don’t care.
    Because they know he’s totally harmless, even to those he thinks he’s sticking it too.
    He doesn’t warrant the kind of attention he gets, and he is entitled to his ONE opinion.

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #16

    You know, that kind of adds up to “Don’t talk to anyone who doesn’t share your opinion”. Thats not quite how discussion works. It works both ways. You always have the power to ‘not respond’ to anything you see as a dig

  • cyprus

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #17

    You’re evidently in a bit of a twist with this article, given how you and most fans have crucified the guy (I personally don’t know enough about him to be sure – he seems a likable enough fella), yet he is liked by the statue to be 🙂

    Anyway, one way or another, hope this new team-up bring us the glory we want and deserve.

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #18

    That last p9st was meant for Jack by the way.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #19

    I agree Jay. We need 4 centre backs. I’d like on with tonnes of experience to bring the others on. But not someone from the big 5 just looking for a final pay cheque.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #20
  • isleofmanman

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #21

    I’m not at all puzzled by Charnley

    He is a bag carrier (OK – administrator) and never a leader

    Charnley didn’t negotiate with Rafa. He was just told by Ashley to throw loadsa cash at him to make him stay.

    I hope that Rafa has been wise enough to have the ‘guaranteed’ liquidity nailed down in his contract

    NUFC owners have form when it comes to being twats

  • The American

    Jun 2, 2016 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #22

    Outside of center back coverage for the Mbemba/Lascelles pairing and maybe another striker behind Mitrovic in the case that Armstrong misfires what else do you think we may need?

  • JP...from The Rock

    Jun 2, 2016 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #23

    The American- a playmaker and a winger is also needed.

  • lesh

    Jun 2, 2016 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #24

    Rafa’s not daft wanting to work under Charnley – he knows he’ll do as he’s asked, within reason. That’s what MDs are for… innit?

  • DubaiMicky

    Jun 3, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #25

    Charnley is now Rafa’s lap-dog. So funny.


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