Tuesday 20 February 2018

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley demands explanation for disastrous season

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Luke Edwards

Newcastle United’s managing director Lee Charnley was summoned to an end of season review meeting with owner Mike Ashley on Wednesday to explain how the club have been relegated from the Premier League despite spending £80m on new players.

Charnley was called to Ashley’s Sports Direct headquarters, near Mansfield, to answer questions about a disastrous campaign, although they also discussed the progress made in persuading Rafa Benitez to remain as manager.

It will have been an awkward meeting for Charnley, who may have to ask for an overdraft facility with a bank to help fund player purchases in the next two transfer windows.

Newcastle have promised Benitez will have a significant amount of money to spend on new players this summer. He will also receive the money made from player sales, as he is given the freedom to rebuild the squad.

Moussa Sissoko, Daryl Janmaat, Andros Townsend and Georginio Wijnaldum are just some of those who are expected to leave before the start of next season, although Benitez hopes to persuade Townsend to stay.

Benitez has already begun to look at transfer targets and discussions have taken place with numerous agents in the last 48 hours, even though it has not been confirmed that he will remain as manager. That might not happen until after the weekend, although the progress in talks has been rapid.

Telegraph Sport understands there is a chance Newcastle will bring someone in to help Charnley with the day-to-day running of the club, but Ashley wants to remain loyal to the man he promoted from football secretary to MD following Derek Llambias’ resignation.

Chief scout Graham Carr will not be so fortunate. The 71-year-old offered his resignation last season and will be allowed to leave in the next few weeks, leaving Benitez to bring in his own scouting network.


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