The topic of updating the training ground has been a high profile one at Newcastle since Rafa Benitez made some comments to George Caulkin in the Times after his departure from Newcastle. Despite assurances from Mike Ashley when Rafa decided to stay on as manager in 2016, Benitez asserted that only a few walls had been painted.
It seems that Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley are very sensitive to what Rafa had to say in that parting interview. They have come out over the past few days to try and combat almost every point Rafa made in the Times. However, they have chosen the beginning of a new season with a new manager in place as the time to do it.
Lee Charnley is at it again and has made some further comments in the Chronicle. Earlier today, he made some comments defending the appointment of Steve Bruce. We took no umbrage with Lee defending Steve, as that is what he should be doing. We just found the timing to be a bit late.
Now Lee Charnley is defending the club’s reasoning on not updating the training facilities. This is what Lee has said to the Chronicle:
“What we have said is, it is about priorities.
“There is a pot of money. Where is the greater need? At this time it’s on field.
“It’s not unreasonable, the pot of money can only go so far.”
“You go and spend it on the training ground it means there is less to spend on the team.
“Spend it on the Academy, there is less to spend on the team.
“Spend too much on wages, there’s less to spend on the team.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t spend in all those areas, because we do, but our view has been at this point in time the priority is what goes on to the field.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t want to update the training ground.
“Does it mean at some point in time we would like to update the training ground? Absolutely, yes.
“It is about priorities. It doesn’t stop us doing what we need to do on a daily basis.
“Our pitches are very good, our gym is perfectly adequate and functional.
“Do we have a swimming pool or water facilities? No.
“Would we like to have it at some stage? Absolutely.”
The issue with the training ground is that it desperately needs to be updated. It is no longer fit for purpose and if not upgraded soon, could become a hindrance to getting quality players to the club. It has, quite frankly, become an embarrassment for the 19th richest club in the world.
If it is currently not a priority, it needs to become one. It is Lee’s job to manage the finances of the club. Using the excuse that it would come at the expense of the playing squad, is just a transparent attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
As managing director, it is up to Lee to not only get players to the club but to also ensure they have adequate facilities to train at. Other clubs can manage this without issue, so we expect the same from this one.