A one-club man is a term loosely associated with players these days, but it is very rarely heard to describe a managing director, none more so than Lee Charnley.
Charnley has undertaken various roles during his time at Newcastle United including club secretary prior to his current role. He has been at the club for such a length of time he has seen 15 managers come and go, and despite Newcastle’s poor, yet unfortunate run of form, he will be hoping that doesn’t become 16 in the near future and Newcastle can keep a hold of Rafa Benitez.
Charnley took over from Derek Llambias as managing director in April 2014 and hasn’t looked back since as he is over four years into his tenure in this role. The 40-year-old has been at the heart of overseeing the ongoings at Newcastle United such as first-team, academy, scouting, medical, sports science and developing a strategy to succeed on these fronts. It is then Charnley’s job to report this information to Mike Ashley, a clear antagonist in the eyes of the Toon faithful.
One of the elements the job is to manage the incomings and outgoings at Newcastle, a job Charnley does very well, but due to a lack of backing from Ashley, the incomings constituent falls short to the detriment of the team.
Charnley was able to secure a £27m fee for Aleksandr Mitrovic this summer, alongside a further influx of big cash as a result of the sales of Mikel Merino, Matz Sels, Chancel Mbemba, Adam Armstrong and Ivan Toney.
Prior to that, Charnley has also done some fantastic business in receiving £30m for Moussa Sissoko and £25m for Gini Wijnaldum in the summer of 2016. Both deals were to be paid over several years, yet, eventually, both will amount to considerable fees.
Charnley’s apparent quiet, introverted persona means he gets his job done with little being said, and with few people aware of the importance of his role at Newcastle. If Ashley does back the transfer department in January, Charnley would be able to display his talent in recruiting some youthful talents and proven players, not just in negotiating a large fee on the outgoings front.