Andy Gray has came out with two old chestnuts.
The presenter who was sacked by Sky Sports along with his mate Richard Keys, says that Newcastle United aren’t a big club.
Andy Gray says that this is a big problem for Rafa Benitez as he is used being at clubs with massive resources, such as Inter Milan and Napoli.
Interesting that, as the latest Deloitte rich list of highest football turnovers (for 2014/15) shows the following:
17th Newcastle United 169.3m euros
19th Inter Milan 164.8m euros
30th Napoli 125.5m euros
What is more, if Newcastle survive under Rafa Benitez, then next season they will benefit (like all other PL clubs) from extra tens of millions of pounds via the massively enhanced TV deals, moving them even further ahead of most other clubs, including these two Italian ones that Rafa once managed.
I think the only thing that surprises you about the sheer number of people who want to talk about Newcastle United, is the amazing ignorance about the subject that they show.
Andy Gray says that he has spoken about the problems of managing Newcastle with Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness (he should instead have talked to Newcastle fans about the problems of watching NUFC under those two clowns) and his conclusion is that part of the problem is ‘the fans have an unrealistic expectancy every year’.
So the supporters of a club with the 17th highest financial power (and rising) in world football, shouldn’t think that fighting a third relegation battle in four years is something ridiculous and entirely down to Mike Ashley’s shocking running of the club?
Andy Gray speaking to Sport360:
‘Is there enough time for Benitez to come in, give them a short, sharp shock and keep them in the Premier League? Is he the right man? I cannot say yes, for sure, to either of those questions.
I have only ever known Benitez in charge of a big club, whether it be Liverpool, Chelsea, Napoli, Inter Milan or Real Madrid, all teams with massive resources. He didn’t do much at Inter, did okay at Napoli and wasn’t great at Real, so I am not sure he is the right fit.
Newcastle will think his experience and knowledge of the Premier League makes him the right man and will inspire his squad but that is far from certain. I know owner Mike Ashley is not popular with many but one thing you cannot deny is that he has invested heavily in new players but maybe it’s the way the club is run that is the problem, particularly on transfers.
If you are not going to give the manager final say on who he wants in his team then it is never going to work. If Benitez is there for the long haul he will want his own backroom staff, and full control over the players who come in and go out of the club and Newcastle are going to have to give him what he wants.
Newcastle are not a big club…apart from the fact they get 52,000 crowds every week. They haven’t won anything for many years; they don’t contest major tournaments, and the last time they threatened to be a big club was when Kevin Keegan was in charge. So if they want to do something about that with a top pedigree manager in charge then things are going to have to change.
Their current players are just not good enough which is why I am not sure Benitez can get any more out of them. They are far too flimsy at the moment and concede too many goals but one thing Benitez will do is get them better organised, particularly at the back.
I have spoken to Graeme Souness and Ruud Gullit who both managed Newcastle and they say it is not an impossible job but a really, really difficult one. I think the fans have an unrealistic expectancy every year and that is part of the problem. Benitez will discover just how hard this job is and I think he will struggle to keep them up.
Right now there is no doubt that Sunderland are playing better football. There is a spirit about them that I don’t see at Newcastle and because of that, with nine games to go, I would say the bottom three right now will all go down.’