Lee Charnley has refused to comment on speculation surrounding Rafa Benitez’s future, but claims the club will spend their budget on a ‘small number of high-quality players’ this summer.
Interestingly, the club’s managing director also confirms that they are looking at a ‘£15-£20m’ training ground project, but feels the money may be better used spent on the first-team, suggesting a slight difference in opinion between him and Benitez.
The 2017/18 Newcastle United accounts have also been released, with them confirming that the club are back in profit, have repaid Ashley’s £33m loan and claim they have money to spend.
Here’s what Charnley’s had to say, ranging from comments about Rafa Benitez’s future,
Charnley on Rafa Benitez
“We don’t want to comment on speculation about the manager’s future.
“We would prefer for conversations between Rafa and the club to remain between us.
“We will communicate with supporters as soon as there is a formal update.”
Charnley on the transfer market & their plans this summer
“We would look to spend our budget on a small number of high-quality players, rather than dilute the money over so many.
““We want players that can make a difference, improve the team.
“The idea we turn up every year just hoping to survive isn’t correct.”
Charnley on training ground improvements
“We are looking at a training ground project between £15m and £20m.
“If you were to ask me now, do I think we are best served spending £15m to £20m on a training facility or on improving the team, I think that money is best spent on the team.”
Charnley on Mike Ashley and the takeover situation
“The reality is most things in life are for sale – at a price.
“But are we planning, assuming Mike will still be the owner of this football club? The answer is ‘yes’ – because you have to.
“To do anything else wouldn’t be the right thing.”
The above covers Charnley’s exclusive chat with the Chronicle, but here’s what he’s had to say when speaking on NUFC.co.uk in reaction to the club’s 2017/18 accounts:
“A tenth-placed finish in our first season back in the Premier League was a fantastic achievement and I would like to thank everyone connected to the club – staff, players and fans – for their collective efforts.
“The significant increase in revenue, together with prudent financial management, resulted in the club showing a profit and that is reassuring, given the substantial loss in the previous year.
“There is much more work to be done but these positive financial results give the club a strong platform on which to build. We all want to see the club improve and be competitive at every level, and in every competition. We are convinced that the best route to achieving this is to do so sustainably, spending on young development players and adding high quality to the first team squad each season – players that can really make a difference and improve the team – without risking the financial health and stability of the club.
“We strongly believe that consistently doing the above, and robustly following this policy, will give us the best possible chance of achieving our shared ambitions.”
“Our budget to strengthen the team and establish our place back in the Premier League has been circa £122 million over the last two seasons, which was an initial agreed budget of £70 million plus an additional £52 million generated as a result of sales and outgoing loans.
“We have spent just over 90% of that – £111 million – and the balance of £11 million will be carried forward to supplement what we have for forthcoming transfer windows as we look to strengthen again.”
Regarding the club’s account, here’s a summary (via NUFC.co.uk)
• Turnover increased by 108%, from £85.7m to £178.5m.
• Media income rose £79.0m to £126.4m (£47.4m in 2017), reflecting the club’s tenth-place finish and 18 live TV appearances.
• Commercial income (including increases generated from club sponsors and centrally distributed Premier League sponsors) rose £14.6m to £26.7m (£12.1m in 2017).
• Operating expenses fell £21.2m to £119.6m (£140.8m in 2017). By far the most significant operating expense is wages & salaries, which fell by £18.6m to £93.6m – a wages to turnover ratio of 52.4% (£112.2m / 130.9% in 2017). Excluding amounts released in respect of prior year onerous contract provisions, the 2018 year figures are £103.4m and 57.9%, which is closer to the club’s target ratio of 60%.: