Things are now getting very messy with Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley.
The Newcastle manager chose to keep his counsel throughout the summer, despite his transfer targets not being signed after he had personally ensured deals just needed to be signed off by Mike Ashley and his minions.
It was only last month, when the squad were in Ireland for their pre-season training camp, that Rafa Benitez felt he had to make clear what the situation was with Newcastle United and this summer transfer market.
Rafa Benitez – 17 July 2017:
“We are working very hard and trying to get as close as possible to some signings.
“When I had the meeting with Mike Ashley (in May) I was confident that after that meeting we have the money available and the wages.
“Everything is in place to move forward.
“Hopefully, Mike Ashley can keep his word and we can do what we want to do.”
These past four weeks have then seen Rafa increasingly return to this subject, to make clear, often in a subtle way…sometimes not, that Ashley’s promises had not been kept as yet. The United boss making clear that transfers he had set up, such as free agent Caballero and loan deal Tammy Abraham, had failed due to the club hierarchy.
Rafa has stated he is desperate for another quality striker and a first choice new number one experienced keeper, amongst other essential signings needed, but we reach the season kick off today and still those Ashley promises haven’t been kept.
On Friday at his pre-Spurs press conference, Rafa Benitez made clear he isn’t going to let it drop whilst this transfer window is still open, repeating yet again that he is being tasked to do a job at the club with both hands tied behind his back, as Ashley and his minions undermine him.
Following Rafa’s Friday update, Mike Ashley and his PR people timed the release of quotes which once again were clearly aimed at undermining the manager’s position.
The quotes clearly trying to make it appear that Rafa Benitez and indeed the fans, are expecting the impossible, that it is totally unreasonable what is being asked of Mike Ashley when it comes to expectations of supporting Rafa and his squad financially.
Mike Ashley interviewed and saying he can’t just hand Rafa £150m, that he can’t finance £200m Neymar level deals.
The reality of course is that Newcastle have a net spend of just £17m this summer, way below the likes of even Huddersfield’s that currently have a net spend more than twice (£38m) that of Newcastle.
Rafa was expecting to sign free agent Willy Caballero and loan player Tammy Abraham, not outbid PSG for Neymar.
The whole thing stinks.
Good for Rafa Benitez that he hasn’t taken Mike Ashley’s conniving ways lying down, instead the United boss has come out fighting, laying out what is the reality.
Whilst Ashley wants to make out that Rafa and the fans are being so unrealistic, Benitez has calmly answered back, saying ‘We were not demanding crazy things’.
Exposing Mike Ashley for what he is and the dismal way he runs Newcastle United, Rafa added ‘We were demanding to do things in the right way…’ just as he and his coaching team have operated at ‘all the other clubs’ where he has managed in the past, ‘with a professional staff all working together’.
The only real positive in all of this is that Rafa Benitez is prepared to stick it out because of the fans, his family and players who have come to Newcastle because he persuaded them to.
Rafa Benitez says ‘This summer I was expecting other things’ and sums up what we are all feeling.
It is just a ridiculous situation that Newcastle United were lucky enough to have a manager like Rafa Benitez approach them after their latest not good enough yes man, Steve McClaren, had been sacked after helping to put the team/club in a disastrous state.
This summer is sadly the final proof and the latest Mike Ashley interview rubber stamps that, the NUFC owner is determined not to run the club in a fit and proper way and isn’t even interested in trying to support and keep a world class manager who has fallen into his lap.
Rafa Benitez 12 August 2017:
“We were not demanding crazy things.
“We were demanding to do things in the right way…like we did with Liverpool, with Chelsea and all the other clubs (I have managed).
“With a professional staff all working together.
“This summer I was expecting other things, but okay we don’t have those things, so now we have to move forward and I will do my best.
“Am I happy with what was going on in the summer? No, I think that we can improve and we can compete and do the right things.’
“What we have at Newcastle, which is different to other Premier League clubs, is the city.
“We have a city behind us – 52,000 every game, a good stadium and everybody is there.
“But what we could do, to save some money, we didn’t do it and now we are in a worse position.
“But still, I have confidence that we can compete. One thing we have and which I said last year and in the end I was right: we will compete until the end.’
“I had two or three players, who came here because of me, they wanted to come here because of me and I couldn’t let them down.
“As you know, my family is in England and I decided to come to a massive club, with potential.”