The ongoing minute by minute coverage of whether Rafa Benitez is staying or not, is becoming ever more annoying by the…minute.
It isn’t the thought of him staying that’s the problem, rather the countless updates which tell us nothing and transparently show that the journalists don’t have a clue what is happening, apart from the PR guff the club feed them from time to time.
However, a smaller story that has been running is regarding the deal Rafa Benitez is on and how ridiculous it is that a manager could earn a reported £5m a year for managing in the Championship.
Of course the money is crazy that is paid in football is ridiculous but it is all relative. Alan Shearer was the top paid Newcastle player and cost a then world record £15m but nobody claims that he didn’t give value for money.
It is the same with Rafa Benitez and we don’t need to look very far to see why paying the Newcastle boss £15m over the course of the next three years would be an absolute bargain.
There are countless examples but let us just take the case of Henri Saivet.
Newcastle were desperate for strikers and defenders in January, so the NUFC transfer brains trust decided it would be a great idea to bring in a midfielder, yet another below par player from Ligue 1.
The 25 year old came in, ended up playing 147 minutes of Premier League football and nothing in the final three months of the season, with Rafa Benitez not giving him a single minute on the pitch and the player rarely even getting to sit on the bench.
Henri Saivet cost a reported £5m. On top of that he was given the usual ridiculous overly long five and a half year contract.
As a decent guesstimate we can assume Saivet will be on around £40,000 a week, which works out at £2m per season, so a five and a half year contract equates to a commitment of around £11m in wages.
In basic terms, if Rafa Benitez stays then Newcastle United are committed to paying him £15m, whereas based on these realistic estimates the club is already stuck for £16m on Henri Saivet.
As well as the daft transfer windows where Mike Ashley refused to even try and strengthen the squad, when money has been spent it is quite appalling just how much has been wasted on gambles on poor players, in the hope that they might magically prove good enough.
Only this month we have seen Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveuax allowed to walk out the door a couple of months before the end of their contracts. Two players so below the standard needed that even with the club fighting relegation, no possible use could be seen for either of them.
The useless pair each getting five year contracts, no doubt on a similar level to Henri Saivet, then in return Newcastle got 13 Premier League starts from Marveaux and 33 from Obertan – as attacking midfielders/wingers the pair scored three league goals between them in five years!
As well as Saivet, unfortunately we are also stuck with any number of other jokers that we will never shift until their contracts reach their end: Yoan Gouffran, Sammy Ameobi, Emmanuel Riviere, Siem de Jong and Massadio Haidara, amongst others.
I always remember Sir Bobby Robson talking about his days at Ipswich Town, where he transformed the club and brought them unbelievable success.
Sir Bobby told the tale of how the owners of the family run club insisted that no player should earn more than the Geordie knight – because he was the most important person at the football club.
The biggest mistake (of the many) that Mike Ashley has made, is to so devalue the position of first team manager at Newcastle United.
Instead of finding the best possible person for the job and paying them accordingly, Ashley has looked for a certain type of person who is willing to play his game and be willing to have his strings pulled.
The result of employing people such as Kinnear, McClaren, Pardew and Carver has been misery on and off the pitch and two relegations separated by only seven years.
Newcastle United have somehow stumbled across Rafa Benitez in an undoubtedly ‘right place at the right time’ scenario, whatever he costs the manager is the biggest bargain Mike Ashley could ever find from overseas.