Charnley Reveals How Ashley Wanted Rafa And Agreed To “Go For It” In The Championship

Newcastle Managing Director Lee Charnley has today given a rare interview in the Mail.
And he talks about what a colossal risk Newcastle took to keep Rafa down below after we were relegated and retain as many of our top players as possible.

That was even though the club knew they would be losing money starting in August 2016 because of reduced revenues.

Mike Ashley was keen to keep Rafa Benitez on board after we had hammered Tottenham 5-1 in that final game of the season.

And rather than it being misery that we had been relegated it was potential ecstasy as Newcastle fans implored the club to keep Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley was keen to talk to Rafa after that game and had even tried to get to him earlier once we knew we were relegated after Sunderland had beaten Everton earlier that week.

And as has been revealed by Rafa in talkSPORT recently he actually has good working relations with the owner Mike Ashley.

This is what Lee Charley has said in the Mail about what would have happened if we hadn’t been promoted back in May of last year:

‘It would have been a catastrophe, a bloodbath.”

“The manager would likely have gone. This was a one-season gamble from his view as well.”

“Some of the players would have wanted to go. Matt Ritchie, for example, bought into this on the basis of, “One year in the Championship then I am going to the Premier League”.”

“And then we would have had Financial Fair Play. You cannot operate a business continually that has a wage bill higher than its turnover, it’s not sustainable.”

“We’d have had no choice but to recruit Championship players.”

“Three teams then come down with more money than you and you end up on this cycle of trying to catch them.”

“You have to reset financially. It would have taken years to get out of the Championship.”

‘There should have been a negativity around the club given what had gone before.”

“It was surreal watching us beat a team who were going for second place and beat them like we did.”

‘We had planned a conversation with the manager after the game. The thinking could have been,”

“We have to scale back because the revenues have gone down”, whereas Mike was, “We are going for it”.”

“We talked through the game, “If we could get the manager to stay, get off to a decent start, fans behind you, you build momentum and it can develop a life of its own”.”

“So Mike’s priority was to keep Rafa.”

“I am going to leave you two to get on with it, I’m going to support you and, come next year, I do not want to be in this league”.”

That was indeed a huge risk and reflects well on both Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and Rafa Benitez.

Losing the first two games at Fulham and home to Huddersfield probably caused a few worries in the Newcastle hierarchy.

But in the end, Rafa and the players came through, and it was a massive achievement for Newcastle to get promoted straight back to the Premier League as Champions.

It not only showed that Rafa is one of the best managers in world football but that he is committed to the club.

Surely he will now sign on to a new long-term contract after two challenging seasons when he has resurrected the club and got us up to 10th place in the Premier League.

A fabulous accomplishment by Mr. Rafa Benitez.

Comments welcome.


Jack Farish is currently studying for a Master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University.

His thesis project looks at Premier League fans’ team identification – how well they support and identify with their team.

Jack has put together a relatively short questionnaire of team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes.

You can help Jack by filling out the survey here.

7 comments so far

  • Ron Knee

    May 25, 2018 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #2

    “I am going to leave you two to get on with it, I’m going to support you and, come next year, I do not want to be in this league”.”

    And why were we relegated in the first place?

  • hibbit

    May 25, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #3

    i wonder which of these categories you fit in Jib ???

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    May 25, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #4

    Mbemba just isn’t a Benitez defender he takes too many risks which ultimately can lead to goals ! I know Lascalles and Lejuene have made errors this season but you can see them learning from mistakes.

    Against Chelsea last season away from home he was all over the place and let Morata dominate him for a goal which I think might have been his last game at centre half for us ?

    I would have thought he may have got a game at defensive midfield but not to be !

    To be fair Hayden can play CB , DM and RB and is more physical , just as good on the ball and can carry out instructions with game intelligence so its possible he will be the 4th choice CB next season ? Then the Mbemba money can be used for another position

  • Lindisfarne

    May 25, 2018 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #5

    Can someone tell Lee Charney to stop digging?!

  • giimps

    May 25, 2018 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #6

    Two things from pints raised this morning.
    I don’t think Rafa will sign a new deal till after January, in January we get more Tv money allocated and he will know one way or the other if he is being given the tools to achieve his ambitions for the club.
    Mbemba will be sold, possibly for a lot less than he is worth, just to get him off the wage bill, he won’t be the only one as we will have a big clear out ,just leaving around the 25 players ( maybe less) as once he gets his preferred team, he seems to stick with that…Mitro, Gayle, Joselu ,possibly Darlow and Elliott will go and Merino maybe sent on loan (unless we get rid of Diame while his stock is so high) next season we may start badly as it will take some doing gelling pretty much a new midfield and strike force, defensively we should be ok and once we gel, we (depending on the players brought in) should be a steady team, not a top 4 but maybe pushing on the fringes of European places.
    If however, we don’t get the players and funding we need ( in Rafa eyes) he may well not sign , he won’t have any problems finding a club willing to give him the tools he needs but will be reluctant to leave here where he is so happy.
    As much as I hate to say it, I don’t think we will be bought any time soon, Cashley knows a golden goose when he sees one, I just wish he realized if he fed it correctly and looked after it properly it would produce more gold and maybe even produce some silverware for the ones who covet such things.

  • giimps

    May 25, 2018 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #7

    Should be points raised (although, there’s many a slip Twix’s lip and cup)


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