Rafa Benitez has done a remarkable job in trying to fight off relegation AND make our club look a little normal for a change…

However, signs of the chaotic, manipulative and ramshackle ways we are used to at Newcastle United, are never very far away.

Friday saw an email sent out, containing the news (see below) that the Newcastle United club shop inside the Metrocentre is to close.

The email sent out by Sports Direct to their customers, NOT by Newcastle United to their ‘customers’/fans.

As you can see, the email from Sports Direct says ‘Closing in July 2016, Please visit OUR store at St James Park’…it leaves you wondering exactly where Sports Direct starts and Newcastle United ends – and vice versa.

When Mike Ashley took over Newcastle United, I seem to remember there were at least four, maybe more, club shops (SJP, Metrocentre, Monument Mall and Eldon Square) and I think I recall a number of smaller NUFC concessions in other shops.

Now there is going to be one shop, at St James Park, this at a club owned by a retail genius.

Apart from the ever rising TV riches (if we stay in the Premier League), Newcastle United is failing in every other respect financially off the pitch. As well as on it – until Rafa Benitez’ late attempt at emergency surgery.

At a boom time for English football, the commercial and matchday revenue at Newcastle United is embarrassingly low compared to how it was pre-Mike Ashley.

Those days of midnight kit launches and thousands queuing around St James Park feel like a lifetime ago, sales of Newcastle United shirts one of the biggest around and the club earning massive bonus payments from Adidas due to the sheer volume of shirts sold.

As for Newcastle fans browsing in the Metrocentre, Eldon Square and Monument Mall looking for NUFC gear come August, quite lucky really that you won’t have to wander very far before being able to find a Sports Direct store selling Newcastle gear…

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