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Opinion

Newcastle United up for Parole

4 years ago
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I have been struggling to get my head around Newcastle United in recent weeks.

Not in terms of on the pitch but what I feel about the off the pitch action and the club overall.

On the pitch is quite easy, Rafa Benitez is trying to make the best of a bad job.

Badly undermined and let down by Mike Ashley despite making a £40m transfer profit last summer (2016).

Blocked from signing any players in January and then only an £11.5m net spend this summer (2017), compared to both Brighton and Huddersfield with £40m+ net spends.

It didn’t take a genius to work out that Rafa Benitez would have to very creative, and lucky, to get the team/club unscathed through this season.

There have already been plenty of ups and downs with results/performances but overall, Rafa has had the team playing beyond their individual talents.

In the background though, we are all straining to hear of any movement on a takeover of Newcastle United.

It is claimed that Amanda Staveley/PCP, and others, have signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to examine the books ahead of possible bids.

The claims of NDAs are a double edged sword, as the claims that they have been signed, is then used to explain/shout down why no progress has been reported.

Obviously the NDAs prevent anybody who has signed them from discussing confidential information with a third party.

However, that wouldn’t stop Newcastle United confirming progress has been made to reassure supporters that something is actually happening/progressing, plus of course it wouldn’t necessarily prevent a potential buyer confirming they have signed an NDA with NUFC.

Leaving those arguments/conflicting views to one side though, the simple fact is that at the moment I feel we are in limbo.

Yes of course it is important that Newcastle survive on the pitch this season BUT it does very much feel that whether or not the club is sold in the next few months is an all or nothing moment.

If ambitious new owners do buy the club, then it does really open up the possibility of anything and everything happening in the future.

However, if this is another false dawn and Mike Ashley remains, I think even if Rafa Benitez did stay, it would simply be more of the same whatever minor miracles the manager could conjure up.

It would be as before, simply living from one transfer window to the next, one season to another, with no long-term ambitions or plan allowed.

I finally managed to put my thoughts into words this Thursday morning, how to express the feeling of nothingness, in terms of simply waiting to see what will, or won’t, happen.

I can only describe it as a bit like being up for Parole.

I have never been in prison myself (honest…) but I can only imagine that if you are serving a really long sentence (over 10 years and counting so far in the case of Newcastle fans), then it must be pretty unbearable when you reach the point where you are heading up for parole. The moment when your behaviour will be judged and people who you have no control over, will decide if you get released early or not.

The thought of this Mike Ashley sentence adding any more years is simply too sickening to imagine.

If we have been brought to the brink of believing the club will be sold, only to then have those hopes dashed…I just don’t know what it would do to the club in the short, medium, and longer-term.

It probably isn’t over dramatic to suggest that the future success, or not, of Newcastle United for the rest of many of our supporters’ remaining lifetimes rests on what becomes the reality of this takeover period.

It’s the hope I can’t stand.
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