They say trust Rafa Benitez – It isn’t him who we are worried about
Local media have this Friday morning been telling Newcastle fans to trust in Rafa Benitez.
With pre-season training starting in only two weeks time (3 July) and signings failing to materialise yet, supporters are understandably hoping that this changes very soon.
Christian Atsu was signed on a permanent deal in May but that transfer had to be made within a specified timeframe after the Championship season ended, if Newcastle were to get the winger for the previously agreed £6.2m price.
As expected, Newcastle have been linked with a ridiculous number of transfer targets since winning promotion and we all are very aware that most of it is made-up rubbish.
However, included amongst the ever growing list of players, there have been some that Newcastle and Rafa Benitez do appear to have credible interest in.
Despite that, no signings through the door and the clock continues to tick, four weeks today and Newcastle play their first (so far) confirmed friendly at Hearts.
A year ago, the first friendly was away at Bohemians on Saturday 16 July and Newcastle had already made five signings – Isaac Hayden, Matt Ritchie, Matz Sels, Jesus Gamez and Dwight Gayle.
All five of the new boys played that day, early signings getting a full pre-season being a massive bonus for the coming campaign.
Thursday night brought news that Mike Ashley had sent in one of his trusted retail empire key people, Justin Barnes, to be the most important figure inside St James Park.
The Telegraph reporting that Lee Charnley had to pass any major financial decisions on to him for the go ahead, with Barnes also said to have been sent in to prepare the club for a potential sale, or more likely selling a share in the club to an outside investor(s).
We can only speculate on exactly what is going on inside Newcastle United but as usual it appears to bear little resemblance to how other similar sized clubs are run.
Newcastle still ran by a skeleton staff, with the same people (Lee Charnley, Graham Carr etc) remaining in position who were at the club when a second relegation in seven years was ‘achieved’.
It is stating the obvious but of course Newcastle fans believe/trust in Rafa Benitez, I doubt there is another Manager in the Premier League, including Conte at Champions Chelsea, who would get as high an approval rating from their fans as Rafa would get from Toon supporters.
Instead, it is the rest of them the Newcastle fans don’t trust, the Mike Ashley minions that we can see, as well as those that remain anonymous, such as this previously unmentioned Justin Barnes.
Rafa Benitez clearly had signings lined up that he wanted to bring in during January but found them blocked by Ashley, including loan signings. The Newcastle Manager going public with his frustrations at the failure to sign anybody, before then saying that this had to be now put to one side and everybody who was already at the club to now concentrate 100% on making sure promotion happened.
Given a reasonable budget and freedom to sell and buy as he sees fit, no sane Newcastle fan wouldn’t trust Rafa Benitez to do a better job than anybody else at the football club and indeed most other top line managers.
However, after what happened (or rather didn’t) in January and the so far visible lack of transfer activity since the season ended, Newcastle fans are going to have a certain level of anxiety until bodies come through the door.
The trust will always be in Rafa Benitez but we just hope he is also convinced that he can trust Mike Ashley and his minions.
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