As relegation is now nearly a certainty, it is down to the club to make the only decision which would bring around a potential redemption of sorts and that is giving Rafa Benitez the keys to the castle.
Granted we don’t yet know if Rafa Benitez wants to stay in the Championship, but we should be offering him full control, and giving him the opportunity to orchestrate the root and branch reform the club requires.
If Rafa Benitez doesn’t stay – whether by his own accord or because the club don’t want to keep him for whatever ridiculous reason – then I can’t see any realistic hope under Mike Ashley and believe we should attempt to push him towards the exit door.
Some may say we have to do that regardless of who the manager is and I can understand that. However, I just think having a manager of Benitez’ stature, wielding the required power, is something that wouldn’t normally happen at a football club finding itself in such a poor state that has just saw itself relegated into the Championship. It would be the turn around the club needs regardless of who the owner is, even though there is potentially a short-term aspect to that.
Without that though, my immediate thoughts turn towards Ashley leaving. I simply don’t trust any other manager to be strong enough towards him and bring the club back to being competitive again – on and off the field.
As much as Steve McClaren had failed at previous clubs (while also enjoying some success here and there), my main hope was that he wasn’t going to be another yes-man after Alan Pardew. That he would insist upon certain transfers and wouldn’t back down. Unfortunately, he signed up to the unholy trinity consisting of himself, Carr and Charnley which would ‘jointly’ decide Newcastle transfer strategy and the rest is history.
Like relegation, I believe Ashley’s opportunity to placate the fans should be out of his hands and if Benitez says ‘thanks, but no thanks’, then we should not buy another season ticket at the very least. I believe there are buyers out there and Ashley for once should be forced to seek them out first.
Whatever demos that would be arranged post-Benitez should be encouraged and to anyone who says they don’t make a difference – targeting sports d*rect and reminding the world on a constant basis of their shambolic running practices is not something any SD shareholder is going to appreciate. If Mike Ashley continues to contribute towards SD’s share price falling he will in turn continue to make enemies in the boardroom, never mind in the world of football.
I would say to Benitez, you can make us great again – if allowed. I think we’d have a very good chance of promotion if he was to stay, his forte is organisation first and foremost, which is important in that league, and he would identify the right players and the right characters to combine with whoever stays.
He would also bring around the necessary changes to the academy and overall running of the football club, setting in place long-term foundations. We’d be in a very healthy position coming back up with Rafa Benitez and we could look at this season as a blessing in disguise.
What I can say for definite is that Mike Ashley is a fool. I have no idea how he has built up a business empire after showing such incompetence over the last nine years.
Some of that ‘incompetence’ has of course been by design – hiring grateful puppets and implementing/allowing a rubbish transfer policy – but this was all for the sole purpose of simply staying in the PL to showcase sports d*rect to a worldwide audience.
Yet to keep Steve McClaren for as long as he did was asking for relegation. Rafa Benitez was sacked at Real Madrid on the 4th January. It wasn’t until the 11th March that Newcastle United approached him but this all comes back to Mike Ashley clinging onto his low-ambition, puppet structure. Yes the incompetent Lee Charnley is the MD but who hired him?
Ultimately, Mike Ashley’s cluelessness and ignorance has come back to bite him, it’s up to him whether he truly wants to look in the mirror or not.