Only 24 hours after Mike Ashley met with the Newcastle United Manager, an official club statement was released on Wednesday night announcing Rafa Benitez was staying.
Or did it…?
As a number of Newcastle fans have pointed out nowhere in last night’s statement does it actually say ‘Rafa Benitez is staying’.
Instead, it simply contained positive quotes from both owner and manager that were taken as meaning the Spaniard was staying.
Rafa wishing fans an ‘enjoyable summer’ and they will ‘continue positively with the development of the squad’.
Looking at the statement again, my take on it is that the club are at pains to not say ‘Rafa Benitez is staying’ because that suggests there was a possibility he was going to leave.
That instead this was just a normal end of season meeting between a club owner and manager to discuss plans for next season.
Of course the very fact they actually released a statement just to say everything is great between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez kind of undermines the line that is just a normal end of season meeting at a normal club.
Will Brighton or any of the other 18 Premier League clubs be doing the same, feeling compelled/obliged to make an official announcement/statement with comments from owner and manager confirming/saying everything is fine?
Only Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley know exactly what was said, plus possibly/probably Lee Charnley, but there will be nothing made public from any of them that will let us know of any possible discord in the meeting.
The bottom line is that as well as it suiting Ashley, Rafa needs minimal distractions when getting on with the job and from the fans point of view, all we were looking for was that he came out of their meeting with positive words and a declaration he was staying.
We had the positive words and whilst not actually stating it, the Rafa Benitez quotes make clear he will be continuing in the job, which for the time being is all we could have hoped for.
Newcastle United may still be far from being a normal club but at least we are keeping hold of a normal (top) manager and for that we are all eternally grateful – to Rafa that is, not the people who have managed to relegate the cub twice in seven years and have taught us not to believe anything they say.
Newcastle United Official Statement Wednesday 10 May 2017:
‘Newcastle United can confirm that a meeting has taken place between the club’s owner, Mike Ashley, managing director Lee Charnley, and manager Rafa Benítez.
It was agreed by all parties that the meeting was very positive and constructive.
Mike again congratulated Rafa and his team on gaining promotion to the Premier League as champions.
Plans for next season were discussed, including the purchase and loan of players to add to the squad in readiness for the Premier League season.
Speaking after the meeting, Mike Ashley said: “I’ve confirmed to Rafa and Lee that they can have every last penny that the club generates through promotion, player sales and other means in order to build for next season.”
Manager Rafa Benítez added: “I’m pleased with how the meeting went and the positive approach we are all taking together to build on what we have started this season.
“There will be challenges ahead of course, the summer will not be easy, but the hard work has been going on for some time and we can now continue positively with the development of the squad ahead of the start of the new season.
“I wish fans an enjoyable summer!”