Lee Charnley has claimed that Rafa Benitez left Newcastle United because he could not resist the temptation of a lucrative offer from China.
The Spaniard exited Tyneside at the end of June having failed to come an agreement on a contract extension, and suggested in a statement made shortly after his departure that the reason for his leaving was a lack of ambition from the board, as reported by the Chronicle.
But Charnley has refuted Benitez’s claims.
As quoted in the Chronicle, he said: “We understand and expected the disappointment that Rafa’s departure caused.
“We strongly believe we went beyond what could reasonably be asked in order to keep him.
“But let’s be clear, he moved to China for money. The offer he received was too tempting.
“We understand that and there is nothing wrong with that. It was not something we could compete against.”
Everything that comes out of Charnley’s mouth feels like a PR stunt, to be honest. The managing director only seems to be wheeled out at opportune moments so that he can give some spiel or other about how the board have the best interests of the club at heart or, increasingly, about how they weren’t too blame for Benitez’s departure. The issue you have is that there are two sides to this story, and people will never really know the truth. Given a choice between Rafa and the board, however, it is obvious who the Toon Army will choose to believe, and all that means is that every time Charnley comes out and makes a claim like this, it’s like him kicking a hornet’s nest. The timing of his comments is certainly bold, and it will be fascinating to see just how many fans take the plunge and go to see their side in action against Arsenal on Sunday.