In an exclusive chat with the Chronicle, Lee Charnley has commented on the club’s approach to takeover bids following the Bin Zayed Group’s ‘attempt’ to buy the club this summer.
Charnley insists that Ashley’s new approach is to issue ‘no comments’ until there is something ‘definitive’ to say on the takeover front, stating that they will NOT be drawn into a ‘running commentary’.
The club’s managing director has also rubbished claims that Steve Bruce was their ’11th choice’, saying those claims from Sky Sports were ‘absolute garbage’ and nothing but an attempt to ‘create negativity’ around his appointment.
In response to questions about a potential takeover and the summer saga involving the Bin Zayed Group, here’s what Charnley told The Chronicle:
“We carry on business as usual and if there is a development we will announce it.
“We aren’t going to get drawn into a running commentary (on the takeover or BZG).
“Mike talked about this in his interview with Martin Samuel.
“Our policy has been no comment and we will only say something on it if there is something definitive to say.”
It’s all good and well to say there’ll be ‘no comments’ if there’s no major update to share, however I think it’s fair to say that our approach over the summer was not good enough from a communcation perspective.
Maybe there had been no bid from the BZG, but, if there interest was not genuine or a deal was not nearly as close as they were suggesting, why did the club not come out and deny the huge claims coming from Dubai?
With this in mind, here’s what Charnley then said when asked about the club’s communication with fans:
“We accept we need to communicate more.
“Will I do it in every programme? No.
“But as a minimum I will do it at the end of each window and at the end of the season.
“This is just one element though of our commitment to communicate more regularly.”
“Improved communication is something we have been discussing with our Fans Forum for some time and something we are committed to.
“That will involve the Fans Forum, me doing some interviews with the local press and other media outlets/channels.
“But it will also involve other members of the team.”
Sometimes the club can’t do wrong from right – if they communicate their comments are criticised and if they don’t they’re slated – but they don’t help themselves. After all, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard Charnley state that the club must communicate more, yet here we are.
This summer was the key time to communicate – on Rafa, a takeover, the lack of transfers and more – yet we were left in the dark for months.
Finally, Charnley then responded to claims Steve Bruce was the club’s ’11th choice’ to replace Rafa Benitez:
“Nonsense. Absolute garbage.
“That (11th choice) was a complete fabrication.
“It is disrespectful to Steve and it was done to try to create negativity around him.
“It is completely false.”
“The reality is we went through a comprehensive and extensive process.
“Steve was always somebody who was in our thinking.
“But you have to explore every option.”
I actually believe that Bruce was on Mike Ashley initial shortlist and not as low down as 11th, but, to me, this just highlight the lack of ambition shown following Rafa’s exit.
The fact Steve Bruce – a man who’s struggled to get a Premier League job for years – was one of our top targets isn’t really something to gloat about.