Rafa Benitez declared ‘I wish fans an enjoyable summer’.
The date was 10 May 2017 and in a statement released by the club, Mike Ashley pledged that Rafa would have ‘every penny’ to spend in the transfer market, whilst the manager said ‘I’m pleased with how the meeting went and the positive approach we are all taking to build on what we have started this season’.
Strangely/worryingly, there was nothing from Rafa for weeks and then months, only in early July when in Ireland for the pre-season training camp, did the United boss comment on how things were going transfer-wise.
That was the start of the negativity/reality for most Newcastle fans.
Yesterday, on the eve of the second home Premier League match of the season, 107 days after Rafa Benitez wished us ‘an enjoyable summer’, we had perhaps the grimmest update so far.
The Newcastle manager (see below) seeming to indicate that NUFC that was no longer a long-term project for him, with it being a case of when, not if, he leaves.
Circumstances can always change and we can hope for events/matches/players to change the course of future history BUT comparing/contrasting these two sets of quotes below, can only lead you to that sinking feeling we have all experienced over the course of this anything but ‘enjoyable’ summer.
Maybe the most frustrating thing is that it would only need one person to change their mind, unfortunately that person is Mike Ashley.
Rafa Benitez – 10 May 2017:
“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!”
Rafa Benitez – 25 August 2017:
“My aim is trying to improve things…so that when I leave, whenever it is, I would like to be sure that the team and the football club will be better.
“Normally, managers talk about projects saying they need four or five years…
“I’m not talking about that, because you never know in football, but when we came here we knew there were some issues and we had to improve things.
“I am sure we have improved some things but we need to improve more.
“The reality is that Mike Ashley was very clear in his Sky Sports interview. We are where we are.
“If you cannot pay £25 million and the commission and the wages for a top quality player, then you have to go to another kind of player.
“I could do two things.
“One, stay here and say ‘listen, we were not spending, doing this or that’, or take the risk. I will sign this player that I know is not in the 11 starters, but maybe will give us a back-up which we didn’t have last year.
“I am signing the players that I can, not the players that I want.
“The market is the market and the money available is the money available.”