Lee Charnley on backing Rafa Benitez & transfer money


Charnley told the Chronicle: “We did spend money to get promoted. If we had spent a significant amount less on wages, would we have a greater figure to spend on transfers? Yes, we probably would. But we might not be back in the Premier League now had we done that, and it would be a moot point. The reality is that 2017/18 was our first season back in the top flight, having missed out on the first year of the current TV deal, and we are trying to compete with teams who have more money than us. It will take time to catch them. But we have backed the manager, and we will keep backing the manager, as the owner made clear in his statement.

“Often transfer figures which are cited are not accurate. In some cases, they actually bear no resemblance to reality. There are agents fees and other fees involved which are not taken into account. Our accounts show we have made a £100m net spend since July 2015. We have backed the manager, and we will continue to do so.

“We feel our approach gave us the best possible chance of coming back at the first time of asking. If we had not been promoted, it would have been disastrous from both a financial and a football point of view. What we did simply wasn’t sustainable, neither from a playing staff point of view, or for Financial Fair Play. It was a one-season gamble, and one which required us to be promoted. There was no two ways about it. It would have been very messy if we had not got back up at the first time of asking, because we were running what was essentially a mid-table Premier League budget in the Championship. We really backed our manager, and both he and the players delivered. I want to make special mention to the players, because I sometimes think they get overlooked, but they were tremendous last season and again this year, just as the manager has been. So were the fans too, they were crucial to our success.”

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