Newcastle United could be relegated in just over 48 hours time and Alan Shearer says that it is yet another self-inflicted wound for the club, brought on by the mismanagement of Mike Ashley and his minions.
Shearer believes it was completely the right choice to bring in Rafa Benitez but left far too late.
The 10 games Rafa was given to try and turn it around always looked a tough call.
The draw at Villa was of course disappointing but it did make it five games unbeaten and nine points from the last 15, a definite pointer to Benitez having been able to keep Newcastle up if he’d had more time.
Alan Shearer was only given eight games to save Newcastle back in 2009 and he believes that just like Rafa Benitez, he could also have saved the club from relegation with more games to play with.
It is the story of the nine years under Mike Ashley, Shearer saying ‘lessons not learned’.
Alan Shearer looks into the black hole that is the Championship and wonders about Newcastle’s fate if the next six days ensure relegation.
Though he’d love to see Rafa stay, he just can’t see it, a sentiment shared by the vast majority of Newcastle fans.
There is a deep feeling building up of ‘what might have been’ and Shearer says it is impossible to predict what will happen to Newcastle if they are demoted.
The Newcastle legend says he will only be able to answer that question once you knew the identity of the manager and players who would face the challenge.
We still hope for a miracle but nobody really believes now that it will happen, yet again the saddest aspect is that it could all so easily have been avoided if only the right people were in place at St James Park at the start of the season, or failing that when our worst fears about Steve McClaren became reality.
Alan Shearer speaking to The Sun:
It looks highly unlikely that Newcastle will survive now and the club will only have themselves to blame. For they have made exactly the same mistake as seven years ago by not giving the new man enough time.
In 2009, I was made manager with just eight games to go. I knew straight away it was not long enough. If I had another four or five matches, I believe we would have escaped.
This time around, Rafa Benitez was only given ten matches to save Newcastle and if he had also been appointed sooner, I am certain the club would not be in the position they are in now.
It is too little, too late. Again.
Lessons not learned:
Lessons have not been learned and it now looks like Newcastle are going to pay the ultimate price.
Relegation will be devastating for the club, the city and the fantastic fans, especially with all the big money coming in next year – but there is simply no excuse for the club’s complacency.
Newcastle were crying out for a change. Everyone was shouting and screaming for it. It was obvious – but they waited far too long.
Rafa has made a difference, there is no doubt about it, but he is not a miracle man, because when you make a change, it is not just about coaching.
A new manager needs time to try and build up confidence, try to suss his players out, who he can trust and who he can’t, try out different systems. It took Rafa four of his ten games to work his team out.
So, if they are relegated, you can’t attach any blame to Rafa but the saddest thing now is that the club will probably lose him.
I will be absolutely amazed if the former manager of Real Madrid, the former manager of Liverpool who won the Champions League, were to be at Newcastle in the Championship and managing at places like Rotherham. I hope I am wrong. I would love him to stay.
At this stage, it is too difficult to say how Newcastle would fare next season if they are in the Championship. Ask me again when I know who the manager is and what players they have.
Unfortunately, the current squad needs ripping up because recruitment has not been good enough for some time. And also, where are our kids coming through?