Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley has hit back at ex-manager Rafa Benitez. The Spanaird had claimed that he rejected a contract extension as the club didn’t match his ambition, however senior figures at the club believe he left for monetary reasons
Charnley told the Evening 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.”
Benitez had been keen to redevelop the training ground and the academy, but left having been told in no uncertain terms that what cash was available would be used to re-shape the playing squad.
Accusations of a spluttered and unorganised search for a replacement for Benitez were rife this summer with one suggestion the Geordie was 11th choice to come in as boss this summer.
When asked if that was the case, Charnley told the Chronicle: “Nonsense. Absolute garbage.
“That (11th choice) was a complete fabrication.”
However, an apparent unwillingness to address Rafa’s concerns over the club’s infrastructure as he looked for a long-term project on Tyneside was a key factor in his exit and, while improvements do not appear to be imminent, Charnley acknowledged the need for change.
He said: “Does it mean at some point in time we would like to update the training ground? Absolutely, yes.
“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.”
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